Common Local Fire Code Violations and How to Avoid Them

While it’s true that installing a fire protection system in your place of work shows a deep commitment on your part to the safety of your employees; regular, ongoing inspections are necessary in order to make sure that everything is working as it’s intended to.

When we say ‘working as intended to’ – we also mean that your system should be up to code. People get fined for a number of infractions and usually because they haven’t kept up on their system as much as they should. And truth be told, what they pay in maintenance or repairs oftentimes dwarfs the fine they receive.

There are a few things that we notice people get dinged for more often than others and that’s what we’re going to share with you today. Let’s begin.

Dirty Smoke Detectors in Your Ductwork

A lot of times business owners are 100% aware of the smoke detectors inside their buildings that are in plain sight – but they often take for granted the ones that are actually inside their HVAC systems. I guess you could say it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ It’s an honest mistake – but one that can be costly.

These smoke detectors are important because they police all the air circulating throughout your building and can often serve as the first line of defense against fires. Problems tend to arise though – when dust and dirt rapidly build up and hinders the detector from properly doing its job.

The best solution for this is when you have your ductwork cleaned and also schedule your fire safety system maintenance checks, as well. This way, you’ll be able to make sure that basic things like air filters being changed and smoke detectors being cleaned are being performed all at once.

 Blocked Fire Exits

Every commercial building should have clear, accessible fire exits to ensure public safety. Make sure your exits are clutter-free and there’s a direct path to get out of the building.

This is particularly important for restaurants – as you need to make sure that secondary exit doors in customer-accessible areas and employee workspaces are safe. Having clear access can save lives.

 Blocked Pull Stations

Today, when you walk into almost any modern building, you’ll see pull stations. The problem is sometimes people block these stations with everything from furniture, plants and other objects – and most of the time they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

Make sure that not only are those areas obstruction-free but that they also are clearly labeled so people can locate them quickly in the event of a fire. If the area is blocked, simply move the obstruction and remind people that those places need to remain open – even if they don’t serve as the most aesthetically pleasing spaces.

 Air Diffusers

Air diffusers are regularly installed near smoke detectors, but having them too close can cause a lot of problems – specifically dust and dirt build-up on a smoke detector’s sensor. Clearly, this makes it more challenging for the smoke detector to read fires. On the other hand, increased contamination can also cause a detector to trip unnecessarily, which results in lost productivity.

So while it’s OK that air diffusers are near an alarm – make sure they’re not too close.

All of these issues, thankfully – are issues that can be resolved with little effort on your part. Make sure you take these tips to heart and ensure you’re not currently experiencing any of them in your workspace.

If you want more information about this or any other topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

Fire Safety for Healthcare Facilities

There’s a lot going on at your local hospital and administrators and workers have many responsibilities. Making sure patients and visitors are safe from fire is one of the most important ones.

Luckily, with a little extra attention to detail and some routine safety inspections – hospitals and healthcare facilities can keep the risk of fires low and in most cases, prevent them entirely.

Here are three things hospitals can do to ensure their patients are protected and that fire safety is maintained in their facilities.

Keeping an Eye on Kitchens

Just like in the home – the top cause of healthcare facility fires comes from the kitchen. In fact, over half of hospital fires originate in an on-campus kitchen – whether that’s an employee kitchen or at a cafeteria/food service area of the hospital.

Make sure that safety measures are enforced – from emptying grease traps on a consistent basis to making sure that flammable liquids, oils, and other items are kept away from cooking appliances.

Just like with any regular kitchen, employees need to make sure they’re not doing things like plugging too many appliances into one outlet, not leaving food unattended while it’s cooking, and making sure the appropriate fire safety equipment is on hand.

Check Your Electrical Outlets

The good thing (if you can call it that) about kitchen fires is that they usually stay in the kitchen. Electrical fires, however – can spread quickly. Most of the time they’re caused by overloaded circuits or faulty devices.

That’s why it’s important to make sure certain rooms aren’t overloading electrical sockets and that your entire system is inspected at least 2-3 times a year. That way, you’ll be able to identify problem spots more quickly.

In addition, hospitals have electric equipment that receives a ton of use. It’s easy for cords to get split or cracked, for plugs to erode and for wires to get trampled to the point of not being usable. Always – after every use – check cords and equipment. In fact, the smart thing is to build them into an operational protocol for that particular machine.

Keeping Your Staff Trained

Fire safety makes a lot of employees roll their eyes – but like many of these things, when and if something DOES happen, they’ll be glad they were given the knowledge of what to do. Fire safety training should happen at least once a year in every department – from knowing where to go, what to do with patients in the event of an emergency, how to exit the building, exit rooms, and the like. Every healthcare facility should have an action plan in place. This will ensure the safety of as many people as possible.

On a more day-to-day basis, staff should know the basics. Things like oxygen and smoking don’t mix. While smoking is prohibited at most facilities nation-wide, there are some that still allow it. This can be particularly dangerous because oxygen is actually fuel for fires and things like deep, non-tip ashtrays should be used at all times. Also, if you do have staff that smoke – they should smoke as far away from the building as possible to avoid the overly-oxygen rich air of a healthcare facility.

And lastly – everyone on staff should have at least a moderate-level understanding of how fire extinguishers work, where they are, how to use them, and occasionally – how to check on them. If everyone is just a LITTLE BIT more conscious of fire safety – it can go a long way towards things like noticing damaged or emptied extinguishers. And in the event of the worst-case scenario, they know how to operate and find the nearest fire extinguisher.

Hopefully, these tips can help your healthcare facility avoid fires and keep people safe. For questions about this or any other fire safety topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.