Who Should Perform Your Annual Inspections?
Fire can cause serious damage. That’s not surprising to anyone, but there are so many more hidden damages other than those caused by fires. Fire ruins your building’s infrastructure, it can cause smoke damage, and at worst, may cause serious injury or death.
However, psychological damage occurs as well. Property owners lose trust in the inspectors who came to their building. Occupants in the building lose trust in their own safety where they live or work.
Fire inspection is the first step towards fire prevention and in public buildings like schools or hospitals with so many occupants, the importance of these inspections cannot be overstated. While most fire department safety officers have the right equipment and training to inspect your home or public building, sometimes you need a professionally trained technician to come to your building.
So let’s take a look at the right time to hire a highly skilled technician like the ones who use Inspect Point software to take a look at your building.
What is a Health and Safety Officer Looking For?
A crucial part of understanding who you need to perform your fire and life safety inspection is to understand what to inspect. Primarily, and in a most basic sense, a fire department or professional inspector is looking for fire hazards.
This includes potential hazards to the occupants of the building. However, it also includes potential hazards to firefighters and/or emergency responders, who would potentially be saving those occupants in case of an emergency situation.
Fire Protection Systems
These are the fire protection systems you might immediately imagine. An inspector is going to look to see that all of your fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire sprinklers are working properly and have been properly maintained.
These means making sure that they are operating properly and in compliance with the current codes and standards for your city, county, and/or state.
Tests are also performed regularly, and this is done by a professional technician. These tests are almost always performed by third-party testing services, like fire service technicians.
Building Egress Systems
This is another crucial part of any professional fire inspection. Your inspector will take a look at exit doors, emergency exit signs, and emergency light structures, among other things.
In case of an emergency, you need to know that you will be able to find your way out of a burning building, and most importantly, able to get out of the building safely and quickly. During their inspection, they make sure that emergency exits are cleared for passage. In addition, making sure the emergency lighting fixtures are working properly is the bulk of this part of the fire department inspection.
Knowing When to Choose a Fire Department Inspection or a Professional Safety Technician
Fire Department Home Safety Inspection
There are almost 30,000 fire departments across the United States of America. Of these hard-working men and women, only about 30% are professional, career firefighters, however. More than half of all firefighters registered in the United States are volunteer firefighters. This is not to say they aren’t well trained or performing a great job in their respective jurisdictions every day. In other words, we’re only suggesting that the level of training among firefighters is not entirely uniform.
In our professional opinion, firefighters are the perfect resource for a safety inspection in your own home. Checking your fire safety equipment regularly by individuals you can trust is incredibly important, and it’s great that we can rely on our local fire departments for this crucial service to the community.
However, on a commercial or industrial scale, fire inspections become much more complicated.
Time for a Professional Fire Inspection
If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that the NFPA 101 is a complex document. You probably also know that the NFPA 101 is not at all a small document. In fact, there are new amendments added all the time. Sure, it’s nice to think all of our firefighters are always up-to-date. But it’s impossible to expect that they all know every code and conduct listed within the document.
Here’s another factor to consider. Our vast amounts of volunteer firefighters are not aware of every aspect of the NFPA 101, and are thus not fully able to employ the codes and conduct it attempts to employ.
Look, volunteer firefighters do know a lot about keeping people safe. However, they often lack the extracurricular training required to fully inspect and enforce the entirety of the NFPA 101. Most volunteers are trained for emergency response, and truthfully, this is where their focus should be. While the fire departments ability to also perform inspections is extremely helpful, the fire inspection industry is not able to help them with emergency response. We focus our efforts where our expertise lies, in the inspection.
For many firefighters, their expertise lies mostly or solely in emergency response. While this is the most important part of fire safety, relying on these individuals to also perform a perfect fire inspection without all of the necessary training simply isn’t feasible.
A Professional Eye
The major advantage to using a professional fire safety technician to perform your public buildings inspection is that this is specifically what we are trained for. We know what a violation looks like, we know what complies with the code, and what falls short.
A professional inspection will also yield an inspection checklist, like the fire department will give you. This details any violations, like what should be repaired, fixed, or replaced, and when it needs to be done. But again, our advantage comes with our expertise.
If the firefighter performing your inspection is unaware of safety code violation, they won’t be able to tell you about it. While not having to invest more money in your building is convenient in the short-term, in the long-term, it is extremely dangerous. Overlooked violations can turn into huge safety hazards that put the lives of your residents at risk. And ultimately also puts firefighter safety in question when they respond to an emergency in that building.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
We would like to be extremely clear that we are not trying to speak illy of firefighters or of their capabilities. We need firefighters! Fire inspection is the first part of fire safety and prevention, but what we all know about fire is that it is unpredictable. Fire inspection and prevention training are important in keeping people safe, but sometimes things go wrong. And that’s when we’re glad we can rely on firefighters; they are the professionals when it comes to literally fighting fires!
More specifically, we are relying on their great training and expertise. And that’s why you should rely on professional fire technicians to inspect your commercial building space. You want to rely on expertise and knowledge you know that you can trust.