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Fire inspectors have an important checklist to complete when performing fire safety inspections. Since these requirements vary by state, business owners and managers will need to become familiar with individual state fire codes, ordinances, and standards, as well as how to comply. These fire codes exist to tell businesses what requirements they must meet, what types of equipment they must install based on a structure’s size and usage, and how they are to install required equipment.

Some types of businesses require more frequent fire safety inspections than others. Most companies receive a visit from the fire marshal once a year. Places of public assembly, such as restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, and even hospitals, however, need more frequently inspections. Buildings such as high-rises are required to adhere to extremely stringent fire code requirements, due to high occupancy and complicated egress for those on higher floors. For a building’s owner or manager, fire inspections may seem like a periodic nuisance. But, fire safety requirements offer valuable benefits to employees, managers and owners alike:

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Fire Extinguishers

Fire-Alarm Systems

Fire-Sprinkler Systems

  • Generally, fire extinguishers should be installed within 75 feet of all areas of the building.
  • All extinguishers should be visible and readily accessible.
  • All extinguishers should meet the minimum required rating, or should be installed for special hazards.
  • All extinguishers should be installed at the proper height above the floor (generally, the top of the extinguishers should be no more than 5-feet above the floor).
  • All extinguishers should’ve been inspected and tagged by an approved agency within the past 12 months.
  • An annual fire-alarm system functional performance test should be completed, along with a record of completion (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).
  • Annual fire-sprinkler-system inspection, testing, and maintenance should be completed, along with a record of completion (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).
  • All storage should be located at least 18-inches below all fire sprinklers (in large warehouses, storage heights may be different).

Special Suppression Systems

Heat-Producing Appliances and Devices

Egress / Exit Lighting

  • Annual or semi-annual special fire-suppression system inspection, testing, and maintenance should be completed, along with a record of completion provided (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).
  • Only UL-Listed portable electric heaters should be used, and only on a temporary basis.
  • All electrical portable heaters should have a clear space on all sides of at least 36 inches.
  • All gas-fired heat-producing appliances (furnaces, water heaters, etc.) should have a clear space from combustibles of at least 36 inches on all sides.
  • All gas-fired heat-producing appliances should have vents properly installed and maintained.
    Proper clearance of combustibles should be maintained from all light fixtures.
  • All means of egress should be properly illuminated when the building is occupied.
  • All emergency lighting units should be operable and properly located to illuminate all portions of the means of egress (push test button to check).
  • All exit signs should be properly illuminated, and battery back-up should operate (if required – push test button to check).