What Are Common Fire Code Violations?
Do you own a business or manage a building in the Houston area? To avoid being fined or having your occupational status revoked, you must meet applicable fire codes for the type of business you operate. Some rules are common sense, but others are more convoluted, making it easy to fall out of compliance. Here are the top 10 most common fire code violations you might be guilty of unbeknownst to you.
- Obstructed passageways and exits: This is one of the easiest rules to forget about, but it’s vital to keep all exit doors and means of egress unblocked at all times. Leaving deliveries unattended in passageways could have potentially life-threatening consequences if a fire emergency calls for a swift evacuation.
- Non-illuminated exit signs: Because emergencies can sometimes cause power outages, backup batteries for illuminated exit signs are essential. This ensures that even if the lights go out, people can easily tell where the exits are located.
- No emergency lighting: Along with illuminated exit signs, most buildings are also required to have dedicated emergency lights that remain lit during power outages. This emergency backup lighting helps keep building occupants calm so evacuations are more likely to go smoothly.
- Missing or damaged fire extinguishers: NFPA 10 details which types of fire extinguishers are required in your building and where. There are also codes regarding testing and inspecting portable fire extinguishers. Then, if you discharge an extinguisher even a small amount, you must recharge it.
- Missing or damaged smoke detectors: When a smoke detector battery runs low, it starts chirping. To avoid this annoyance, you may be tempted to remove the battery or smoke detector altogether. However, this is a dangerous Houston fire code violation.
- Skipping fire alarm inspections: All fire alarm systems must be inspected and serviced annually in accordance with NFPA 72. Ignoring this maintenance could put you at risk of fire code violations.
- Skipping fire sprinkler inspections: Fire sprinklers and standpipe systems also require service and testing at least annually by a licensed fire protection company.
- Not keeping proper records: The contractor that maintains your fire protection systems should provide you with written records of their services. As the building owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to retain copies of this paperwork as proof of your compliance with Houston fire codes. You’ll be glad you did when the county fire inspector comes knocking.
- Propping open fire doors: NFPA 80 covers the topic of fire doors and other opening protectives. These must feature self-closing devices to avoid being accidentally left open. Also, codes require you to keep fire doors closed all at times, except when being temporarily held open by an approved device.
- Using extension cords permanently: This is one of the most serious code violations you can commit. Extension cords are designed for temporary use only and could pose a fire hazard if used permanently. You should never attach extension cords to permanent fixtures or pass them through holes in the wall. If you don’t have enough outlets in your building, hire an electrician to add some before you receive a fine.
Make Corrections to Fire Code Violations in Houston
Think you might be violating any of the above codes? Team up with an experienced fire protection company to make sure you’re in compliance with Houston fire codes. Kauffman Co. offers over 35 years of experience providing fire protection services to business owners in Houston and helping to correct fire code violations.