Fire Safety Inspections

The Life Safety Section is tasked with ensuring that all of the buildings in Annapolis, both new and existing meet the requirements of The Fire Prevention Code. This is accomplished through Fire Safety inspections and the permit process.

Inspections

The inspection process involves the inspection of all structures except one and two family dwelling units on a cyclic inspection schedule derived from life safety and fire risk assessment. Currently, structures are inspected on an annual, biennial, or triennial basis. The inspection process also includes family day care and day care center inspections at the request of state and county agencies.

Items looked at during a Fire Safety Inspection:

Fire Protection Systems

All fire protection systems are required to be inspected, tested, and found to be 100% operational in accordance with the appropriate National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standard. Qualified, trained personnel must perform this process at least once a year to ensure proper operation and maintenance.

This is the responsibility of the single tenant buildings with these systems, or larger tenants (anchor stores) in multi-tenant buildings that have their own stand-alone system. For shared systems in a multi-tenant building, the responsible party would be the property owners, management companies, or condo association representative.

Exits

Check all exits for debris and storage. No storage is permitted in corridors, stairways or in areas near exits. All exits must be kept clear at all times. Doors with panic hardware or fire exit hardware shall not be locked while the building is occupied. NFPA 101: July 1, 2010.1

Door Locks

Check for multiple locks on doors. Doors shall open with no more than 1 releasing operation. Slide bolts are not permitted on doors with panic hardware or fire exit hardware. All locks shall be in working order and of the appropriate type for this occupancy. NFPA 101: 7.2.1.5.9.2

Exit Lights

Verify that all exit lights are illuminated. Make sure that the battery back-up bulbs and batteries also work (if the fixture is so equipped). There is no provision in the law for paper exit signs. Batteries and bulbs can be purchased at local electrical supply stores.

Emergency Lighting

Shall be checked monthly by depressing the test button on the side or bottom of the units. Also an annual test is required that involves testing the units for 1.5 hours for continuous operation to ensure battery life. NFPA 101: 7.9.3.1.1

Fire Doors

Verify that all fire doors operate properly and are maintained in working order. When released from an open position, they must close and latch. The use of stops, wedges and other such devices on fire doors is prohibited. NFPA 101:8.3.3.2.3 and 7.2.1.8.

Electric Panels

All storage shall be kept a minimum of 30 inches away from electrical panels. No openings or exposed wires shall exist. Blanks (not tape) shall be placed in open breaker spaces.

Electrical Hazards

Check for electrical hazards that may exist. Multi-plug adapters and plug strips are prohibited that aren't fused. Check for receptacle and junction boxes without face plates. All electrical equipment must be UL or FM listed. NFPA 1:11.1.5.1

Extension Cords

Extension cords shall not be used in place of permanent wiring. NFPA 1:11.1.5

Fire Extinguishers

All extinguishers shall be checked annually by a licensed extinguisher company. Extinguishers shall be tagged and dated. They shall be mounted not more than 5 feet high nor less that 4 inches from the floor and shall have a minimum rating of 2A-10BC. NFPA 10: January 5, 2010

Inside Storage

All storage shall be kept at least 18 inches below sprinkler heads (if they exist) and 24 inches below the ceiling. Check to see that accumulation of combustibles such as paper and boxes are contained safely. Storage must be kept a clear distance (as recommended by the manufacturer) away from any heat-producing appliances such as a furnace or water heater, or a minimum of 18." (NFPA 1: 10.19.3.1 and NFPA January 10, 2019.3.2)

Outside Storage

The storage of combustible materials outside of a building must be kept a minimum of 15 feet from the building. This includes dumpsters, recycled cardboard containers, etc.

Address

Your street address (numerals) shall be clearly visible from the street side of your business. The numbers must be a minimum height of 6 inches high and must be block letters and be of a contrasting color to the background.

It is recommended that you review the performance history of your business's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Odors of oil, gas, the smell of smoke while the machinery is operating, or the tripping of breakers controlling H VAC or any other electrical equipment is an indication of a potential problem.

This list has been provided for your information and use. It is not intended to be all inclusive of the issues that may be raised during an inspection.