How to Prepare for a Fire Inspection

Updated May 2023

Most people learn how to react to fire alarms from a young age. The sharp, jarring noise of the sirens instantly notifies everyone within earshot of a possible emergency and the need to evacuate. These fire safety alarm systems are mandated worldwide and need regular inspections and maintenance to promote safety.

As a business owner, a properly functioning fire safety system protects your business, employees, and customers. But how prepared for a fire inspection are you? Your local fire marshal can drop in on your business to inspect at any time.

We’ve compiled a checklist of items to address both outside and inside your business. Staying on top of this list provides a greater safety level and keeps annoying fines and citations out of the way.

Fire Inspection

External preparations:

  • Make sure your address is clearly marked and visible from the street.

  • All fire hydrants should be unblocked and have mandatory clearance space on all sides.

  • Always keep fire lanes outside your business clear.

Internal preparations:

  • Ensure all exit doors are easily opened without needing special keys or training.

  • All stairways and walkways should be kept clear.

  • Emergency lighting and exit signs should work in both regular and emergency modes.

  • Fire extinguishers should be accessible and ready.


  • Electrical boxes and outlets must have proper covers in place.

  • Extension cords must be in good condition and not used as a substitute for permanent wiring.

  • Surge protectors must be connected directly to the outlet and not connected to other protectors/extenders.

  • The electrical panel box and main disconnect should be identified and easily accessible for fire personnel.

  • Panels and breakers should be labeled appropriately.

Fire Sprinklers:

  • Items should not be stored within 18 inches of any sprinkler head.

  • Sprinkler heads should be in good condition without signs of corrosion.

Fire Extinguishers:

  • Extinguishers should be visible and accessible.

  • Units are free of rust and damage, and gauges must be at a safe operational level.

How Long Does a Fire Inspection Take?

Inspection and test time depend mainly on the size of the facility. Smaller systems could take an hour or less to inspect thoroughly. In contrast, larger buildings with more complex systems could take significantly longer, considering the thorough process that safety inspections follow.

What Do My Employees Need to Know About Inspections?

The tests will ensure that all components of your system are in working order. These components could include any of the following:

  • Fire alarm panels

  • Fire doors

  • Strobes

  • Smoke/heat detectors

  • Annunciators and zones

  • Batteries

  • Elevators

Employees should be informed of when inspections and tests will take place. During the inspection and testing, employees should follow the building’s established fire drill procedures. Any emergency alarms and sirens should only be triggered for a few minutes. Employees should also know that safety tests should be conducted annually, and smoke detectors should be tested every two years.

A properly functioning fire safety system is the best defense against fire for you and your business. These tests are always performed by certified fire safety professionals like those at FSS Technologies, and they can provide details on specific questions related to your system.

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