With stay-at-home orders set to be lifted to varying degrees soon, building and facilities maintenance is of utmost importance as businesses across the country prepare to welcome back employees, vendors, and customers following lengthy closures from the COVID-19 pandemic.
CertaSite’s goal is to support you in your reopening efforts. With insight from top agencies and trade authorities, we have compiled a list of items that need to be maintained in your building/s and operations during your absence, as well as before you reopen, to ensure you are prepared for when your facility is ready to welcome employees and visitors back in again.
Building Maintenance Checklist for Reopening After COVID-19 Closures:
- Fire and Life Safety Systems – During your absence, all fire and life safety systems should be checked, maintained and free of deficiencies to ensure your facility is secure when no one is there. Fire protection systems are required by national and building codes to be designed, operate and be inspected and tested on a regular basis. Deficiencies are discovered during regular maintenance and inspections when parts and systems need repair or are not operating per the codes as defined. Inoperable equipment or systems can lead to failure to perform during an emergency and may limit the ability to contain a fire, alert first responders or help direct people to emergency exits.
According to industry experts, some top deficiencies that are frequently seen in the field include batteries needing to be replaced and bad smoke detector heads in fire alarm systems, 5-year internal inspections being past due and bad gauges in sprinkler systems, non-operational devices such as pull stations and horns and strobes, nozzles corroded and plugged on hood systems, and incorrect location for application and improperly working e-lights in fire extinguishers, among other things, all of which could lead to citations during a fire marshal inspection.
This important point is further explained and driven home by Jim Pauley, President and CEO of the National Fire Protection Association in this recent release be the NFPA. At the top of the list of reasons to keep your facilities maintained and in tiptop shape is to alleviate overburdening first responders who are focused on COVID-19 related emergencies and issues at this time.
Please note, CertaSite is deemed an essential business and all locations will remain open for regular service, repair and emergency service work to all businesses. As a provider of essential fire protection and life safety products and equipment necessary to maintaining a safe environment, we recognize the importance to be available to you during this time. If you are closed, now may be a good time to complete your required repairs and maintenance to keep your life safety systems up and running. Read more about our services and protocols by reviewing this recent letter from our CEO, Jeff Wyatt.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting – While your operations are shut down is an ideal time to thoroughly clean your facilities to assure optimum safety when you open your doors again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines protocols for keeping your facility clean and safe through everyday steps, steps to take when someone is sick and considerations specific to employers. Beyond cleaning with soap and water, which is very important, they explain EPA registered disinfectants that should be used, PPE that should be worn and the significance of proper employee training on cleaning policies and hazards, among other considerations.
To support your safety protocols, which are now more important than ever, it’s vital to invite as few vendors as possible into your operations. CertaSite offers a comprehensive approach to all your fire and life safety needs and since safety is always our top priority, below is what you can expect to see from the CertaSite team when we show up at your facilities.
- Practice social distancing - keep 6’ from all other humans
- Service technicians conduct and complete a health survey for each job
- Protective gloves and masks worn while onsite and while completing all work
- Each truck and technician are armed with hand sanitizer and will be disinfecting on a regular and frequent basis
- Flooring – The surface of the flooring of your building should be cleaned using soap and warm water or the appropriate floor cleaner that is best for the type of floors in your facility. Again, according to the CDC, it's ideal to disinfect floors with an EPA-registered household disinfectant that meets the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.
- Painting – When the facility is empty, this is the best time to take care of routine maintenance that might include touch-up painting as well as larger painting jobs that are difficult to do when buildings are fully occupied. Spruce things up a bit now before everyone comes back to work for a fresh and cheerful workspace for your employees and customers.
- Deep Cleaning of Common Areas – Arrange to have all common areas such as restrooms, break rooms and conference rooms cleaned thoroughly and then have them completely disinfected before reopening. It’s a good idea to make this part of your daily routine so that your facility will stay as safe as possible for your staff and visitors. The CDC outlines the best protocols for conducting your deep cleaning, including frequently touched areas to pay special attention to.
- Window Cleaning – Cleaning the windows of your buildings and facilities is a good idea to put on your maintenance to-do list before reopening. Leaving buildings unattended leads to dirty windows on the outside as well as inside due to excess dust particles. Clean windows are not only dirt and bacteria free, but they also let the sunshine in, offering a brighter, happier environment for those inside. It’s these small details that make a big impact!
- Landscaping – Keeping up with the landscaping of your building is important year-round as it's often the first impression as visitors pull up to your doors. Plan to have regularly scheduled lawn and landscaping maintenance done while your facility is closed to ensure everything is ready to go when it is time to reopen. Prior to opening your doors again, check the landscaping around your facility to make sure everything is safe, clear and free from any unkempt plants or vegetation that may lead to accidents or that may invite unwanted pests to the area.
- Update Pertinent Paperwork – Since it may have been some time since it's been business as usual in your facility, there may be some paperwork and record keeping that’s piled up and hasn’t been dealt with in a while. Take the time before you reopen to organize and get all pending paperwork in order for a smooth reopening for your business, and to ensure you know where everything is when you need it in the future. It’ll be a breath of fresh air as you reopen your doors!
- General Decluttering – Cleaning up unnecessary clutter and mess from the building as well as the surrounding grounds is a smart thing to do before it is time to reopen your facility. Not only does decluttering the inside and outside of your building make it look better and clear up more usable space, but it also makes it a safer place to be and less of a fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) drives this point home by urging facility managers to be mindful that fire doors remain operable and free from blockages at all times, even when your facility is closed.
Some well-respected business journals/sites in some of our key markets have shared this pertinent and very timely information, and we've provided links for you below. Click through to learn more!
CertaSite is here to ensure your crucial fire and life safety systems are running properly and are ready to protect your most important assets as you reopen your business and get things back to normal. We encourage you to request a free quote so we may partner with you on assuring your fire and life safety systems are in optimal repair and condition. Until then, please stay safe and healthy and let us know how we can better serve you.
CertaSite is a commercial fire protection and life safety company founded in 2018. We take a new approach to fire and life safety, going beyond compliance to give our clients an unmatched level of customer service and tech-based control over their fire and life safety systems. Our team of experts serves more than 15,500 customers in more than 13 markets. Visit www.CertaSitePro.com for more information.