5 Reasons Why Businesses Need Regular Fire Code Audits
You may assume that fires are rare and your business will never have to worry about having one, but 13% of fires reported to the Office of The Fire Marshal and Emergency Management in Canada between 2010 and 2019 occurred on business premises.
Furthermore, in 2019, there were 793 fire injuries and 67 fire-incident-related fatalities. These fire incidents also led to an estimated $968.9 million worth of damage and loss.
The only way to ensure that all of the proper safety measures are in place for such a scenario is through a fire code audit. This audit will let you know if there is any fire safety equipment that your business is lacking, or if there are any fire code requirements that your business fails to comply with.
If there is room for improvement, it is much better to find out about it during an audit rather than during a fire, when it is too late to change and could result in a catastrophe.
What is checked during fire code audits?
The main things that a fire code audit inspector will look for in your business’s building are potential fire risks, safety hazards, and any other code violations that could possibly lead to loss of life or property in the event of a fire.
During this inspection, they will also seek out any factors that could allow for a fire to spread more quickly within your building or to other nearby structures.
An inspector may check to see whether your building has a clearly marked fire lane that is free from obstructions. They will make certain that there is a fire hydrant on or near your business’s property.
It is also crucial that they check if there is an adequate number of ways to get out of the building and that these escape routes are accessible.
Auditors will ensure that all exits are clearly marked with illuminated signs that have a battery backup. Any heating equipment will be checked to ensure that there are no open flames or other potential risks.
The building’s electrical wiring must also be examined to determine whether there are any frayed cords or overloaded outlets, which could cause fires.
Not only will the inspector check whether you have fire extinguishers, but they will also see whether you have the correct type, that they are placed correctly, and whether they need to be serviced.
Fire alarm and sprinkler systems will also be checked to make certain that they have been adequately tested and are functional.
Finally, it is important for them to ensure that your business has a plan in place for handling a fire and that this plan is written down and available for all employees.
5 Major Benefits of Regular Fire Code Audits
Although it may seem like a hassle to have regular fire code audits conducted on your business’s premises, these inspections are incredibly important and can benefit you and your company in numerous ways, including the following.
1. Protection of life
If there are potential fire hazards in your building, the safety of everyone is put at risk.
Fires can be deadly, and if you do not take the proper precautions to prevent them or prepare for a quick escape, it can compromise your safety as well as that of your employees and customers.
Fire code audits will encourage you to take measures to maintain a safe environment for everyone.
2. Protection of property
It’s likely that your business’s property was a major financial investment. Depending on the location and scale of a fire, the damage could be limited to one area, or it could result in the complete destruction of your building. Even though you likely have insurance, the destruction caused by fire could take a long time to repair.
That kind of downtime can have a serious impact on your business operations.
However, regular fire code audits will limit the possibilities of fires occurring so you have less of a chance of needing to worry about such an effect on your business’s bottom line.
3. Legal compliance
Not only do regular fire code audits have many benefits, but these periodic inspections are also mandatory according to the Ontario Fire Code.
If your business fails to comply with the requirements set forth, you can be forced to pay significant fines, and in some cases, your business may even be shut down.
Regular fire code audits can prevent such an inconvenient, expensive, and unnecessary situation from occurring.
Most insurance policies require that your business has regular fire safety inspections. If you fail to provide proof of such inspections, you may be unable to maintain your insurance coverage.
In case a fire ever occurs, you will certainly want to guarantee that you can file an insurance claim for any damages that occur.
However, if you cannot provide the inspection reports from recent fire code audits, your claim may be rejected, and you will have to pay for the damages out of pocket.
5. Prevent future problems
Having your fire safety systems occasionally tested can help you stay on top of necessary upgrades.
Although a system in your building may have been excellent when it was first developed, it can be rendered obsolete as technological advancements take place.
Trained professionals can notify you when it makes sense to upgrade your equipment, and they can recommend better solutions that will meet your fire safety needs.
How HITE Engineering Can Help With Your Fire Code Audit
While in some cases, you can conduct routine fire code inspections yourself, it makes more sense to entrust professionals like HITE Engineering when it comes to such an important matter.
We have the training and expertise to conduct a proper fire code audit to help you and your business identify and correct any fire safety hazards that exist in your commercial building.
Not only will we thoroughly check all of the areas that are mandated for review by the Ministry of Labour, but we will also go above and beyond to ensure that no detail is left unchecked that could possibly put the safety of your employees and customers at risk.
Our team of professionals is adequately trained to ensure adherence to both provincial and national codes with regard to your building’s fire safety. Our services include various analyses, ranging from building and fire code analysis to egress analysis to accessibility code analysis.
If there are any hazardous materials or chemicals on your business’s premises, we can help you meet the code requirements that are necessary for them.
Following these analyses, we can provide you with code equivalency documentation.
We can also help your business with pre-emergency and disaster planning, and smoke and control system design. We even develop programs for businesses to use for fire and life safety master planning.
After employing our various services, your business will be fully prepared for proper fire prevention and fire safety management.