As a business owner, you have a lot to take care of on a daily basis. Information like fire codes are things you likely have a passing understanding of, but considering these codes change every few years, it’s understandable if you’re not keeping up with them. That’s why we’re here! We created this article to inform you on some of the core fire alarm system safety standards enforced by the National Fire Association (NFPA) and the Florida Fire Prevention Code (FFPC).
With this quick guide, you’ll understand what inspectors are looking for and what information you can expect them to come to you with.
What Are My Legal Obligations for Inspections?
The answer to that question is more than you may think. By law, both the NFPA and FFPC require all commercial and industrial businesses have licensed contractors inspect their systems several times a year. Business owners who fail to adhere to these standards may be subject to a fine. Each piece of equipment, like alarms and sprinklers, has different inspection requirements.
Inspecting Fire Alarms
As the tool that draws everyone’s attention to danger, the fire alarm is one of the most vital pieces of fire safety equipment. This crucial role is why it should be inspected frequently to ensure it’s working.
Fire alarms are required to be inspected at least once a year by a trained professional, but it’s highly suggested that you have them inspected every 6 months. A year is a long opportunity for a fire alarm to malfunction.
Fire alarm inspection requirements are:
- Monthly – Inspect alarms’ batteries.
- Annually – Inspect all alarm components and test to ensure alarms are working correctly.
Sprinkler systems are the most laborious of all safety inspections for a couple of reasons. They’re your immediate defense against a fire, and there are a lot of mechanical parts that can fail. They need to be inspected by a licensed professional four times a year for basic component readiness and once every one, three, five, and twenty years for reasons we’ll list below.
The inspections requirements for fire sprinklers are as follows:
- Quarterly – Valves, gauges, water flow alarm, signage, hydraulic nameplates, and more.
- Annually – Testing antifreeze, checking sprinkler heads, inspecting hangers, and more.
- 3 Years – Test timing of water release.
- 5 Years – Inspect all piping and valves.
- 20 Years – Replace sprinkler heads.
Have a Plan in Place for Evacuation
Florida does not have specific laws or regulations that require employers to conduct fire drills. However, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires companies with more than ten employees to write fire prevention and emergency exit plans.
Though not enforced, small businesses should still have a written plan to deal with emergencies, including drills. To make the plan effective, it’s important to rehearse regularly. Some tips to keep in mind are:
- Have a plan in place to assist employees with disabilities, like those with vision impairments or those who utilize a wheelchair.
- Develop emergency escape procedures and escape route assignments.
- Assign employees who must remain behind to maintain or terminate critical operations before evacuation.
- Provide a map of the building.
- Designate a refuge space (an area outside where employees will meet).
- Conduct a headcount after evacuation is complete.
How Millennium Fire & Security Can Help You
With over 15 years of experience in fire safety, we know the national and local legal requirements and exceptions from front to back. We provide fire safety services like monitoring heat detectors, as well as installing, inspecting, and maintaining a variety of fire alarm systems, including:
- smoke detectors
- manual pull stations
- fire sprinklers
- duct smoke detectors
- smoke evacuation systems
- door controls
- and more.
We’ll ensure you understand all your legal obligations to keep your company in compliance, and we’ll schedule visits as needed to complete your inspections and alarm maintenance for you. Don’t wait for disaster to strike if you feel like you may fall short of your legal requirements! Millennium Fire & Security will look after all your fire alarm servicing needs; we’re here to help!
To contact us, call us at (407) 974-7895 or visit our website.