Six Simple Strategies to Stay NFPA Code Compliant
Cintas shares tips to help property and facility managers pass the test
CINCINNATI — Aug. 26, 2014 — According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), reports of nonresidential building fires increased from 98,500 to 99,500 between 2011 and 2012. Property and facility managers must remember and comply with a multitude of standards and codes to keep building occupants safe and reduce the risk of fires. Just starting your management career or simply need a quick refresher on code compliance? Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS), a leading provider of fire protection services, shares six strategies to make sure you pass the test.
“Too often we’re focused on the big picture that we forget about the little issues that can render a piece of fire protection equipment noncompliant,” said John Amann, Vice President of Operations, Cintas Corporation. “Whether you’re new to the job or you’ve been in the business for many years, it’s always important to stay on top of code compliance.”
Cintas suggests the following tips to stay code compliant and ensure the safety of your building occupants:
Test, inspect and maintain all equipment –– To keep your fire protection program code compliant, not only must you regularly test, inspect and maintain all equipment, but you also need to maintain records of each test and inspection. Check with your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to find out how often and which tests and inspections need to take place in your local municipality. Also consider working with a fire protection provider that offers complete, easy to understand inspection reports. This will help you keep track of all completed tests, inspections and maintenance records, allowing for quick reference when needed.
Don’t decorate or obstruct equipment – While you’ll obviously want your facility and property to look their very best, it’s important to keep in mind which interior design choices will render equipment noncompliant. Sprinkler heads should not be painted. Exit signs must not be decorated or obstructed from sight. And the path of egress and all exits must also not be obstructed in any way.
Replace light bulbs and backup batteries – Missing or burnt out light bulbs and backup batteries tend to go overlooked when it comes to everyday maintenance. Unfortunately, forgetting to replace a light bulb or backup battery could result in a fine once inspection time comes. Be sure to replace any missing or burnt out light bulbs and backup batteries regularly.
Consider all needs when developing emergency exit plans – According to NFPA 1, a complete and comprehensive emergency exit plan should incorporate the needs of all building occupants. This includes the elderly and people with all types of disabilities. Don’t forget to regularly reference and review NFPA requirements when creating an emergency exit plan and going over it with your employees.
Promptly correct deficiencies – If you receive a fine for a deficiency, the inspecting fire marshal will advise when it needs to be corrected. Immediately create an action plan to remedy the issue and engage the proper departments to assist with the updates. You don’t want to risk the chance of getting fined again for letting it slip your mind. A certified fire protection provider can keep track of all inspection dates, promptly schedule a time to remedy any deficiency and help you avoid these deficiencies in the future.
Encourage and provide training – Never underestimate the power of having a well-trained staff in an emergency situation. While not required by the NFPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that if a fire extinguisher is available to employees that education on how to use the extinguisher be provided as well. Training will help to ensure your employees have the confidence and skills necessary to react should a fire occur. Consider working with a fire protection provider who can give an overview of the equipment in your facility and hands-on experience with the equipment for your employees.
“The small details may often go undetected, but ensuring your building and fire protection programs are code compliant is the best way to guarantee the safety of your buildings occupants,” added Amann.
For more info on Cintas’ fire protection services for businesses, please visit http://www.cintas.com/Fire.
About Cintas Corporation:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 1 million businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.