Statistics Canada (SC) reports that there are on average 19,000 structural fires in Canada per year. In Ontario, structure fires caused $860 million in property damage in 2019 and the deaths of 67 people.
Workplace fires, while rare, still occur. And that’s why it’s key to conduct a monthly fire safety inspection on your premises. But how exactly do you carry them out?
In this post, we’re going to explore how to supervise a routine fire safety inspection, what you should take note of, as well as give you a host of fire safety tips. First, what is a fire safety inspection anyway?
Fire Safety Inspection
A fire safety inspection is an assessment of the potential fire safety hazards within a building. The investigation is generally conducted by an appointed fire warden selected from among employees. This is done to try and foster ‘ownership’ and willing participation in fire safety tasks.
There is no standardized manner in which fire safety inspections are carried out as it only involves a ‘walk around’ inspection. This is a visual check of equipment and means of egress. The inspector must not carry out any invasive physical examinations on fire equipment or fire suppressant systems.
The goal of monthly fire safety checks is to identify any problems, damage, or faulty equipment.
What is Reviewed During a Fire Safety Inspection?
The fire warden must visually check to see that the building is conforming to the provincial fire code. Therefore they will assess:
· Fire safety mechanisms
· Fire detection systems
· Alarms and fire sprinklers
· Fire extinguishers, hydrants and pumps
· Emergency and exit lighting
· Means of egress
Now here’s a monthly fire safety procedure you can follow.
Monthly Fire Safety Inspection Procedures
There are six main areas that will be assessed.
1. Fire Alarm Systems
The fire warden is responsible for verifying the integrity of all emergency ‘break glass’ call points. The boxes should not be covered and clearly visible to all.
The fire alarm should be tested to confirm that it is audible and can be heard across the entire building.
On activation of the fire alarm, all fire doors connected to the fire alarm system should automatically be released. If they don’t this indicates a problem with the hold-open devices.
2. Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers should be fully charged and mounted correctly in an upright position.
Every fire extinguisher should be tagged and clearly labelled what type of fire it puts out and what medium it contains.
Fire extinguishers should be clearly accessible, not obstructed, and visible (not stored in a back room somewhere).
Fire extinguishers should not be damaged, with their indicator needles pointing to the ‘green zone’ (If a needle is present).
Tamperproof tags must be intact and secure.
3. Escape Routes
Escape routes should be clutter-free and egress doors easy to open without needing a key.
Floors must be inspected and anything making hallway and pathway surfaces slippery eliminated.
Handrails/guide rails should also be firmly fixed to the wall.
Combustible materials (such as trash) should not be obstructing the escape routes.
4. Fire Doors
Fire doors must be in proper working order and not propped open (except for cleaning or deliveries etc).
No signs of damage should be visible on fire doors.
Iron systems and self-closing mechanisms must operate correctly and be secure.
Except in labs and workshops, vision panels should be clear and not covered up.
5. Hazard Warning Signs
All safety signs should not be obscured or covered.
Appropriate hazard warning signs must be mounted correctly. Example signs are those indicating the fire escape routes, fire alarm call points, and fire extinguishers.
All safety signs should be damage-free and clean.
6. Evacuation Chairs
If there are any evacuation chairs in the building, these should be in their designated locations and covered with a dust cover.
Sample Fire Safety Inspection Checklist
The person in charge of the monthly fire safety inspection is generally given an inspection form or checklist to carry with them and fill in as they walk around the premises conducting the assessment.
The checklist contains a series of questions. They will only need to tick a ‘Yes’/’No’/’Not Applicable’ box. If there is something that needs attention there is additional space to write a note.
Example questions on such checklists include:
- Are exit signs and emergency lights operational?
- Is the generator back-up in working order and in an acceptable condition?
- Are exit doors free of obstructions and unlocked during working hours?
- Are stairwells free from combustible materials?
- Are fire doors self-closing and self-latching?
- Are fire doors propped or blocked by an external obstruction?
- Are fire sprinkler control valves easily accessible?
- Are fire sprinkler control valves open and locked?
- Are fire extinguishers clearly visible and mounted correctly?
- Are fire extinguishers correctly tagged and bear clear instructions for use?
- Are working spaces free of permanent use of extension cords?
- Are there any overloaded electrical outlets?
- Is trash being collected on a regular basis?
- Is combustible material being stored correctly?
Schedule an Annual Fire Safety Inspection
Monthly fire safety inspections are important as they help to discover faults so qualified professionals can come in and rectify them.
While building owners can carry out remedial action such as removing waste obstructions blocking fire sprinklers and escape routes, major faults should only be addressed by licensed fire safety inspectors.
For all your annual fire safety inspections and fire prevention solutions in Ontario think Nutech Fire Prevention.
Our service offering goes beyond assessments, however. We also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services for businesses in Waterloo, Ontario.
Request a free quote today.