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Fire Protection Compliance Management With Digitisation

Fire protection is a crucial part of any facility’s design and maintenance. The larger, more complex, and higher-risk the facility, the more safeguards and fire protection equipment are required. Fire protection consists of a plentiful list of items to prevent and minimize damage, and is divided into two categories: fire equipment and fire emergency systems. Fire equipment is the main tool at the disposal of workers, occupants and emergency response personnel in the event of a fire; while fire emergency systems are built-in lines of defence that are designed and engineered to prevent a fire from spreading, alert occupants and allow for quick escape.

Extensive safeguards are required to protect workers, occupants and facilities from fire-related events. The larger, more complex, and higher-risk the facility, the more safeguards and fire protection equipment are required.

Fire Protection Compliance Culprits & How To Avoid Them

It’s not hard to imagine inspectors overlooking a blocked fire hose cabinet. After all, fire extinguishers are often cited as the most frequently missed inspection item by industry professionals.

With fire equipment, the biggest culprit for non-compliance issues usually involves obstructions blocking fire extinguishers and hoses from view. If inspectors are making their rounds without measures in place to prevent items from being missed, it’s not hard to imagine them accidentally overlooking a blocked fire hose cabinet.

The potential for inspection issues in fire emergency systems increases dramatically with building size and complexity. In high-rise buildings, for example, elevators must be operated by a firefighter using a keyed-switch (particularly the designated firefighter elevator), routes of egress and means of ventilation must be unobstructed, and alarm systems and emergency power must be operational. 

>>Read “Preparing for your Annual Fire Inspection”<<

Fire doors are an integral part of fire emergency systems that provide passive fire protection and help contain and compartmentalize a fire, along with providing a path of egress for occupants.

In order to maintain compliance with fire door regulations, the door, frame, hinges, hardware, glazing, glass kit and glass beads must all be intact, secured and in good working order with no missing parts. Signage must be present and affixed securely, and labels must be clearly visible and easy to read with no modifications. The key for fire doors is to remain unobstructed, as this is a major cause of non-compliance and threat to occupant safety.

Sprinkler valves are an important part of your fire emergency system. You need to make sure that they’re in good working order and that they can extinguish a fire.

Sprinkler valves should be checked for signs of physical damage or leaks, and water pressure from the valves must be sufficient to extinguish a fire. The valves should also remain unobstructed.

Tip: During construction, valves may be shut off for work to be conducted. When valves are off, extra checks must be performed to maintain safeguards especially if hot work is performed.

In a situation where a valve must be shut off during construction, it is important to ensure that the system still has sufficient pressure to operate correctly and safely. If the flow of fluid is significantly reduced or stopped entirely, there could be serious consequences for workers and equipment. In order for these systems to function properly, operators should monitor the system closely and make sure that there are no leaks or other issues that could lead to a dangerous situation.

As a facility manager, you know that your fire protection plan is the key to keeping your employees and the public safe. It’s also an important aspect of protecting your facility, your reputation, and your bottom line.

Having a sound Fire Warden program is imperative to protecting your facility and liability. But developing this program can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have all the resources at hand.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take now to ensure that your facility is protected from fire hazards:

1. Develop an emergency response plan that outlines how each team member will respond in the event of an emergency

2. Establish procedures for evacuating employees from different areas of the building in case of an emergency evacuation needed for any reason (including fire)

3. Create a list of items that need to be checked before leaving work at night or on weekends (e.g., turn off lights/office equipment/etc)

Digitalizing Inspections: Elevate Your Quality. Control Your Costs

The fire protection industry is one of the most important to ensure compliance, but it can be difficult to keep track of inspections, especially when there are multiple locations. One effective solution to reduce risk is digitizing fire protection inspections. Leaving the logbooks behind for a digital solution that leverages technology such as near-field communication will ensure that each piece of equipment was visited (reducing false-reporting) and will streamline the rest of the inspection process for the facility’s team. An integrated system that can alert of near-due, overdue and deficient inspection items is an easy way to help ensure compliance.

Fire hose cabinets are one example of a physical asset that should be managed digitally. A digital solution can help keep track of the inspection status for each FHC, including remaining inspections; this will ensure the facility’s team stays informed through automated email notifications with daily, weekly and/or monthly summaries outlining if any FHCs were missed or have deficiencies. As a result, there is no need to review inspection paperwork.

As an inspector, you have a lot on your plate. You’re responsible for inspecting the equipment you’re checking over, but you also have to make sure that your inspection is thorough and accurate. This can be a challenge when there are hundreds of pieces of equipment in your facility, and it’s easy to forget something or miss a spot on one of those pieces.

Digital solutions are beneficial for inspectors because it will alert them if they have any remaining inspections. It makes the inspecting process seamless by allowing inspectors to include photos and notes, look up manufacturing information, upcoming service dates, and instructions and information specific to the equipment they’re inspecting.

In addition to the standard fire extinguisher, fire alarm, and sprinkler system inspections, we can also perform dynamic questions and instructions for inspections on fire doors, sprinkler valves, and other fire emergency system components. Dynamic questions and instructions can be customized according to individual components and inspection needs for each item—for example, if a sprinkler valve is in the open position and the valve pressure is within the operable range.

Inspections are an important part of a company’s operations, and they can be a pain to manage. If you’re doing them in-house, you need to set up a schedule and keep track of who’s supposed to be doing what. If you’re outsourcing the work, you have to pay for each inspection and hope that the inspector is actually doing their job.

Digitizing inspections makes compliance effortless with access to facility data in an exportable and packaged format that is secure, easily accessible, and meets code retention requirements. Inspection data can be collected to generate powerful analytics and trends to forecast future inspection needs and associated costs, as well as review team performance.

At a certain point, it makes far less sense to stick with the same old pen and paper or electronic forms for routine fire protection inspections, and the pandemic has shown us that technology is integral to thriving in uncertain times.

We are committed to providing a great service—our dedicated team will help you every step of the way as you build your new system from scratch or integrate with an existing one.

Like to have a chat about how we can reduce your compliance worries? Contact one of expert team today!

Dedicated To Your Fire Safety

Alex

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