Each state has its own regulations and requirements that property owners and managers must adhere to or face fines for violations. When the inspector stops by the building, they will conduct an inspection that is based on a checklist. That list is in alignment with set laws and regulations. Usually inspections happen once a year; however, laws vary from state to state. There are some things that you can do proactively to minimize the possibility of incurring a violation. The best way is to know the top violations that businesses struggle with so you can avoid them in the future.
The Top Fire Code Violations
It may surprise you that the most common violations are usually the most obvious. They are easy to overlook because they are the most common or widely seen issues. Here are a few violations that an inspector will be looking for when he/she comes to your business.
An Exit or Hallway that is Blocked
It is easy to place storage items near an exit or in a hallway that is no longer used, but this will draw a violation from the inspector because all exits and passageways are to be free of clutter. In the event of a fire, occupants will need to leave in a hurry. The risk of injury increases if there is clutter that they must maneuver around. This violation could end up costing you more than a fine or violation ticket. It could mean life or death.
An Exit Sign with a Burned-Out Bulb
Every inspector will find the one sign with the burned-out bulb and may issue a citation for it. Bulbs are just as easy to change as they are to miss when they’re burned out. Exit signs help people know which way to travel in case of an emergency. The inspector will also check to see that the backup batteries are functioning, so if the power goes out, the light will stay on for hours.
An Expired or Faulty Fire Extinguisher
When the inspector steps foot in the building he/she will ask where all the fire extinguishers are located. They will then check to see if they are charged and up to date on monthly and annual inspection and maintenance. Extinguishers that are expired may not work correctly in the event of a fire. This can mean the difference between putting the fire out early or having the fire cause extensive damage to the entire building or complex. In the event the extinguisher is expired, there are companies that will come and install new ones for you.
A Sprinkler Head That’s Been Painted
Sometimes a fire prevention sprinkler head will get painted. The paint will prevent the device from operating in the event of a fire, simply because the paint acts like a shielding agent. Fire Marshals will check every head in order to see that it is free from paint and other debris and that the sprinkler has the proper escutcheon in place. To avoid this citation, you can visually inspect them on a routine basis and have them repaired if there is a problem.
A Bad Battery
Most smoke alarms have an alarm that will sound once the battery starts going bad, but once that battery is dead, the alarm will go into trouble mode until the battery is replaced. By code, batteries are required to be replaced every 3-5 years depending on manufacturer. The fire inspector will press all the battery test buttons. If he/she finds one that is dead, a citation will be issued. To avoid this citation, simply check the alarms yourself by pressing these same buttons. This is a simple way to avoid this common citation from the inspector.
Fire code violations are a serious matter. If there are enough of them that are not addressed, it could shut your building and operations down until they are all remedied. By taking some simple steps, you can avoid this situation and all of its ramifications entirely.
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