Office of The Fire Marshal
One of the most important tasks performed by The Office of The Fire Marshal is to performing onsite life safety inspections. The State of Connecticut Fire Prevention Code states the following:
Sec. 105.1 Inspections, Plan Submittals (a) Each local fire marshal, the State Fire Marshal and their respective designees shall conduct inspections as prescribed in section 29-305 of the Connecticut General Statutes of buildings, processes, and facilities regulated by this code within their jurisdictions. (b) The minimum requirements for the frequency of inspections conducted pursuant to section 29-305 of the Connecticut General Statutes shall be as follows: (Note: Definitions of classifications are found in the Connecticut State Fire Safety Code.) (1) Annual inspections for the occupancy classifications; all R Residential, Small I-2 Homes, A-1, A-2, E, H-1, I-1, M selling consumer fireworks (1.4G), and H-3 containing consumer fireworks (1.4G). (2) Inspections every two years for the occupancy classifications; A-3, H-2, I2, I-3, I-4, B-Medical and B-College.
(3) Inspections every three years for occupancy classifications; B, H-3, M, S1, A-4 and A-5. (4) Inspections every four years for the occupancy classifications; F-1, F-2, H4, H-5, S-2 and U. (c) Each local fire marshal, the State Fire Marshal and their respective designees may conduct inspections as often as may be necessary during the construction of new buildings, structures or additions regulated by this code and during the course of renovations, alterations or modernizations to existing buildings and structures for the purpose of satisfying themselves that all work is in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and this code.
What are some things you look for in an inspection?
If a fire starts, what are the systems you have in place to stop it or slow its pace long enough for the fire department to arrive and for full evacuation? Fire extinguishers should be evenly distributed throughout your building and should be fully operative when tested. Sprinklers or hood systems will be checked as well, if you have either of these installed.
Just as you experience on an airplane, a key component of emergency preparedness is knowing how to get out of an enclosed space in the event of an emergency. You need properly lit EXIT signs above every door of your building – this helps victims of a fire who might be disoriented from smoke inhalation and poor visibility. These should also be clear of obstructions.
Flammables need to be stored carefully so that they do not quickly spread a fire. Additionally, any object that is under pressure or contains chemicals could potentially explode if overheated – exponentially increasing the damage and danger; these should be kept in a cabinet labeled Hazardous. If your business produces chemical waste, that waste should be taken out of the facility every day rather than compiling. Cleanliness and orderliness are also crucial to increasing fire protection: the fire marshal will check that your location is not dirty or disorganized.
Two types of electrical wiring are often associated with fires – so the fire marshal will look for these situations: wires that are either exposed or not insulated. You should not have multiple extension cords connected together – only one running from the outlet to the device it’s powering. Also ensure that all your fuses are designated in writing within the fuse box. It’s not enough to know these by memory. If a fire starts, whoever is present in the building should be able to immediately know which switch to disengage to cut electrical power to the right location.
Alot has changed since the pandemic has hit our state. Fire inspections have been reduced until we see a decline in the numbers of COVID related infections. Most restaurants have been affected greatly as the regulations have forced all assembly occupancies to reduce their occupant load by 50%. This has caused some restaurants to take alternative actions to help with adhering to the distance requirememtns and the reduction in occupant load. Some restaurants have now installed tents on their property for patrons who wish to do business at their establishment. It is important to understand that any tent that is erected with an area greater than 400 square feet requires a tent application that must be applied for through the buidling department. For additional information on health related concerns with COVID-19 CLICK HERE to be taken to the Guilford Health Department site.