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Posted on July 18, 2011

Easy Ways to Prevent Fire Code Violations, Part I

If the fire inspector were to drop by your building today, what would happen? Would he or she be impressed by what they saw, or would you incur their wrath (and their fines?) The fire marshal can come through at any time, so it is important that you take special care to make sure your Houston fire sprinklers and other parts of your building is up to code at all times. While many fire code requirements are obvious, some are not quite as clear. Fortunately, if you make sure to keep on top of all the items on this checklist, your building should stay safe from fires – as well as fire marshal fines!

Prevent Fire Code Violations: Fire Department Considerations

One of the first things the fire marshal is going to check when he or she inspects your building is how accessible it would be to the fire department if they had to come. The fire marshal will check to make sure that:

  • Your street address must be clearly marked on the front of your building and easily visible from the road.
  • If you use a fire alarm monitoring system or a fire sprinkler system, you have a key vault that will allow the fire department to access your building if a fire starts during non business hours.
  • Any fire hydrants on your property are easily visible and not obstructed by landscaping or any other structures. Remember: there should be at least three feet of clearance space on all sides of the hydrant.
  • The fire lanes in front of your building are cleared of obstructions.

Prevent Fire Code Violations: Inside Your Building

After they make sure the outside of your building is up to code, they’ll come inside and examine your building’s interior. To keep the inside of your building up to code, you’ll need to:

  • Make sure your exit doors can be easily opened by only one person, and, if the doors are locked, they require no complex knowledge, keys or tools to operate.
  • Keep all aisles, walkways, stairways and paths leading to exits clear and unobstructed.
  • Make sure your emergency lights and exit signs work properly in both normal and emergency power modes.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers are properly charged and easily accessible in case of an emergency.

Prevent Fire Code Violations: Electrical Equipment

One of the key things the fire marshal will check for is the state of your electrical equipment:

  • Keep all electrical outlets, junction boxes and circuit breaker panels covered with appropriate cover plates. If you have any openings in circuit breaker boxes, make sure they are covered by an appropriate plug to contain any sparks of arcs within the box and prevent them from starting a fire in nearby combustibles. This will also help prevent people from coming into contact with live electrical wires.
  • Electrical extension cords should never be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. If you do not have an outlet where you need one, call an electrician to install a new one or move the appliance closer to the existing outlet.
  • Never, under any circumstances, staple an extension cord (or any power cord) to furniture or a wall.

If you keep track of all the things listed above, you should be covered when the fire inspector comes through your building. But that’s not all you have to worry about – stay tuned to see the special considerations you need to make for your fire sprinklers and fire extinguishers!
If you’ve gone through this list and you think you have some problem areas in your building, don’t wait – call Kauffman Co. today! We can come through your building and point out any areas that aren’t up to code so you can stay safe and avoid fines!

We provide estimates for new and replacement fire protection systems throughout Texas (TX) in:

  • Alvin
  • Angleton
  • Austin
  • Baytown
  • Beaumont
  • Bellaire
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  • Deer Park
  • Dickinson
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  • Richmond
  • Rosenberg
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  • Schulenburg
  • South Houston
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For more information, contact us online or call us now at (713) 893-1090.
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