The following is a self-checklist to prepare your business for a Fire Inspection. These are the items and concerns that will be addressed by the Fire Department prior to approval for you to receive your Certificate of Occupancy.
A no response to any of these questions indicates the presence of a fire code violation.
Access and Premises:
- Are address numbers for the building clearly visible from the street? (front and rear doors).
- Is combustible vegetation removed so as not to create a fire hazard?
- Is the exterior fire department access unobstructed?
- Is there a minimum 3 feet clearance around fire hydrants?
- Are doors with self-closing hinges maintained in the closed position (not blocked open)?
- Are exit ways and doors easily recognizable, unobstructed and maintained functional?
- Are the exits and exit enclosures free from the storage of combustible materials?
- If the main exit door is provided with key-locking hardware as allowed by code, is there a sign above the door that states "This door must remain unlocked when building is occupied" and are other exit doors openable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort?
- Are circuit breakers/fuses labeled to identify the protected area?
- Are extension cords only used on a temporary basis?
- Electrical outlets, switches and junction boxes properly covered with cover plates and is system safe from any apparent shock and/or electrical hazards?
- If multiple items need to be plugged in, is a power tap utilized with a built-in circuit breaker and is the power tap plugged directly into a permanent receptacle?
- Is the area maintained clear at least 30 inches in front of electrical panel(s)?
Emergency Lighting/Egress Illumination:
- Is the means of egress illuminated when the building or structure is occupied?
- If exit signs are required, are they maintained illuminated or self-luminous?
- Does the back-up battery work? (push the test button, the exit sign should illuminate under battery power).
Fire Alarm System:
- If the building is equipped with a fire alarm system, has the required annual been performed by a qualified fire alarm company?
Fire Safety and Evacuation Plans:
- Are records maintained on the premises?
- If fire drills are required, are they conducted successfully at varying times and under varying conditions?
- If required, are Evacuation Plans posted?
- If required, do you have Fire Safety Plans?
- Are all fire extinguishers visible and accessible (not blocked)?
- Are the fire extinguisher(s) properly mounted? (Proper locations - near exit doors where possible, not exceeding maximum travel distance, properly mounted (maximum 5 feet high if less than 40 pounds, maximum 3 1/2 feet high if greater than 40 pounds. In all cases, minimum 4 inches above the ground).
- Have the fire extinguisher(s) been serviced/tagged by a qualified company within the last 12 months?
- Is there access to fire extinguisher(s) rated at a minimum 2A-10BC?
- Is the travel distance from all portions of the building less than 75 feet to a fire extinguisher?
- Sign posted above fire extinguisher?
- Are the fire/smoke separations (smoke doors, fire doors, walls, etc.) in maintained/working condition?
Fire Suppression Systems:
- If the building is equipped with a fire sprinkler system, has the required annual service of the fire sprinkler system been performed in the last year by a qualified sprinkler company?
- In commercial cooking applications, has hood suppression system been serviced in the last six months and is the hood cleaned to prevent the accumulation of grease?
- Is the top of the storage maintained a minimum 18 inches below head deflectors in fire sprinkled areas?
Heat Producing Appliances:
- If portable electric heaters are used, are they used safely?
- Are they plugged directly into wall outlets and kept a minimum of 3’ away from combustibles? (Open flame unvented heaters are prohibited in a commercial occupancy).
- Is the clearance between ignition sources, such as light fixtures, heaters and flame producing devices, and combustible storage maintained in an approved manner?
Housekeeping and Decorations:
- Are combustible decorations flame retardant?
- Are oily rags or similar materials stored in metal, metal-lined or other approved containers equipped with tight-fitting covers?
- Is combustible rubbish that is stored in containers outside of vaults or rooms removed from the building a minimum of once each working day?
- Are safe clearances maintained between gas fired appliances (such as water heaters, furnaces, etc.) and combustible materials?
- Is the venting fixed for exhaust products of combustion intact for gas appliances (i.e.: water heaters, furnaces)?
- If smoke detection is required in common areas such as corridors or part of the fire alarm system, have they been tested in the last year by a qualified service company?
Storage of Combustibles:
- Are the boiler rooms, mechanical rooms and electrical panel rooms maintained without the storage of any combustible materials within?
- Are combustible materials not stored beneath the building or structure?
- Are dumpsters that are 1.5 cubic yards or more not stored inside the building and placed more than 5’ from combustible walls, openings or combustible roof eaves?
- Are rubbish containers over 5 1/3 cubic feet (40 gallons) provided with lids and made of noncombustible construction?
- Is the storage of combustible materials orderly?
- Storage must be below 24 inches of the ceiling level.
Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders:
- If you have compressed gas containers (such as co2, helium, etc.), are they chained to prevent falling?
Storage of Combustible and Flammable Liquids:
- Are quantities in excess of 10 gallons of flammable and combustible liquids used for maintenance purposes and the operation of equipment stored in liquid storage cabinets?