How to Prepare for a Fire Inspection

Oct 27, 2021

We’ve been conditioned on 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 across much of the world, and they must be properly inspected and maintained to promote overall safety.
As a business owner, having a properly functioning fire safety system protects your business, your employees, and your 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 not only provides a greater level of safety, but also keeps annoying fines and citations out of the way.

Outside your business:

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

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

  • Fire lanes outside your building should be kept clear

Inside your business:

  • All exit doors can easily be opened. Ensure no special keys or training is needed to operate a door.

  • All stairways and walkways should be kept clear.

  • Emergency lighting and exit signs should work in both their normal 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 cannot be used as a substitute for permanent wiring

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

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

  • Panels and breakers should be properly labeled.

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.

  • Free of rust, damage, and the gauge must be in the safe operational level

How Long Does the Inspection Take?

Inspection and test time depends mainly on the size of the facility. Smaller systems could take an hour or less to fully inspect whereas larger buildings with more complex systems could take significantly longer, considering the thorough process that safety inspections typically follow.
What Do My Employees Need to Know?
The tests will ensure that all components 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 made aware that the inspection and testing is taking 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 be aware that the safety tests should be conducted on an annual basis with smoke detection device sensitivity being tested every two years.
A properly functioning and well-maintained fire safety system is the best line of 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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