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5 Items a Fire Marshal Checks for in Commercial Buildings

Every commercial building is subject to regular inspections by a local fire marshal. This inspection is an important and typically unannounced visit to ensure a commercial building is following fire code.

A fire marshal check is a sure way to guarantee both employees and visitors to a commercial building are safe at all times. If a fire marshal inspection shows that a business is not in compliance, the company will likely be shut down temporarily.

This shutdown can be an extremely costly error that can put a business behind financially in the long run. It can also influence the company’s reputation as a safe place to conduct business.

Avoiding this situation is made simple when business owners understand the inspection requirements ahead of time. Sticking to the fire code is vital when both safety and profit are meant to be priorities.

The following are five items that a fire marshal will make sure to check for the next time they drop by. Knowing what will be looked at can help business owners and management teams prepare for a successful inspection.

1. Clear Exit Paths

One of the most important elements of a fire marshal’s inspection in a commercial building is always ensuring clear exit paths are accessible. Knowing staff and visitors can quickly and safely escape in the event of a fire is a lifesaving feature the building must have in place.

A fire marshal will look to make sure there are multiple exit points throughout the building. He or she will also evaluate paths leading to those exits to make sure there are no blockages or barriers in place.

To be considered suitable, a clear path of egress must be a minimum of 36 inches wide. There must be an exit path leading to every single door in the building as well.

A fire marshal will also be making sure that exit paths end with doors that are easy to open. These doors should remain unlocked as well.

2. Effective Fire Doors

Many commercial buildings are outfitted with fire doors. Whether they’re commercial wood fire doors or steel fire doors, a fire marshal will want to ensure that they can be closed easily and aren’t obstructed by other objects.

It’s especially important to make sure fire doors are not propped open to keep them from closing. This setup defeats the door’s purpose and puts employees inside at risk.

3. Emergency Exits Signs and Lights

A commercial building fire inspection will also involve a fire marshal looking for clear emergency exit signs and lights. In the event of a fire with heavy smoke, clearly lit exits and pathways are vital.

A fire marshal will test these signs and lights for suitable battery life and function. They will also test bulbs on emergency markings during the inspection.

4. Fully Functioning Fire Extinguishers

One of the most important elements a fire marshal will look for during an inspection is the presence of fully functioning fire extinguishers on site. The number of fire extinguishers needed will vary depending on the size and layout of the building, but all must have been serviced within the last 12-months to be considered viable.

A fire marshal will look to make sure a current service tag is attached to each fire extinguisher. They will also be looking to make sure that fire extinguishers are placed in areas that are easily accessible and meet height requirements from the floor, depending on their placement.

5. Well-Maintained Electrical Panels

Many commercial fires begin with faulty electrical panels. That’s why a fire marshal will make sure to check that the electrical panel in a building is not only well maintained but unobstructed and functioning properly.

The fire marshal will be looking for any potentially flammable items being stored near the electrical panel. In most cases, 3 feet of clearance is required in front of any panel to reduce the risk of fire.

Partner with CDF Distributors Today

When you’re looking for quality fire-rated doors to keep your business up to code, the search ends at CDF Distributors. We carry a variety of wood and steel fire doors in many styles to fit your business needs and keep fire safety a top priority. Reach out today to learn more and speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives.

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