Each year the Effingham Fire Department does over 1,000 business fire safety inspections in accordance with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. By performing these inspections it allows us to stop fires before they start. It also gives our firefighters doing the inspections a chance to familiarize themselves with your building, this can save time if you should ever have an incident.
To help you when we are in between inspections, we have put the following guidelines together for you on our inspection program. Below you will find the most common things that our inspectors are looking for.
1. Fire Extinguishers
- Extinguishers are required based on the type of hazard at your business. For more information on selecting a fire extinguisher you can contact our Fire Prevention Bureau.
- A portable extinguisher must be available within 75 feet of travel to all portions of the building, unobstructed and clearly visible.
- The date of the last extinguisher service must be within the last 12 months. Once a year your extinguishers must be serviced by a certified fire extinguisher company.
- If you have a cooking surface (restaurants) you must have a K Class extinguisher present in the area.
- The exit door(s), corridor and stair(s) are clear and unobstructed.
- The exit door(s) open with-out locks or bolts – panic hardware meets this requirement.
- Exit doors may not be locked from the inside during business hours.
3. Exit & Emergency Lighting
- Exit lights must be working under battery and normal conditions. The most commonly found problem is bulbs that have been burned out or battery packs that are dead. Most bulbs can be bought at local mercantile stores.
- Checking your lights for backup power is usually done by pushing a button on the side, top, or bottom of the light. This will cut normal power and check the battery. If the unit should make a noise when you are doing this, please have the unit checked. The battery could be low or the charging circuit may be out.
- Exit lights must be visible showing the path of egress.
4. Combustible Materials
- Combustible materials are at least 3 feet away from heating appliances.
- Flammable liquids are stored in approved container, cabinets or safety cans.
- Combustible materials are not to be stored under a staircase.
5. Address Numbers
- Numbers that indicate the building address must be clearly visible from the street side of the building.
- Wall outlets and switches have cover plates and are not overloaded.
- Cords and cables are in good condition – no visible cracks or signs of wear.
- Extension cords are U.L. listed outlet bar type (surge protector style).
- All electrical panels are closed and are unobstructed for at least 30 inches with each circuit clearly marked.
7. Fire Alarm (as applicable)
- The fire alarm system is in working condition and tested by a state licensed technician annually.
- If you have a fire alarm system, you should have a KNOX box with current key inside the box.
- Contact our Fire Prevention Bureau for further information.
8. Fire Sprinkler/Standpipe Systems
- A test of the system has been conducted by a state licensed fire suppression contractor annually.
- The sprinkler system must have a current tag showing the system was tested.
- There is at least 18 inches clearance below the fire sprinkler heads.
- The system is maintained in working condition.
9. Hood Systems For Kitchens
- Make sure the hood system and grease filters are clean. Fire can occur from heavily collected grease.
- The fire protection system for the hood has been checked EVERY SIX MONTHS, this inspection must be conducted by a state licensed fire suppression contractor. The contractor must tag the system as being tested. All systems shall be a "Wet System" no system should be tagged as compliant if you have the old dry chemical agent.
- All cooking surfaces must be under the hood system at all times, and you must have a fire protection head from the system over the cooking surface.
- Pressurized cylinders are properly secured.
- No flammable liquids are stored near any open flame, such as near furnaces or hot water heaters.
- Ceiling panels all in place – no damaged or missing tiles.
If you have any questions related to a fire inspection or specifics outlined in the Life Safety Code, please feel free to contact: