Whether facilities are reopening in a limited fashion or resuming regular operations, organizations may consider taking steps, including some related to fire protection, to prioritize the safety of building occupants. Some potential steps include:
Understand your fire protection basics.
Be prepared to maintain your critical fire safety equipment. Reach out to your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for help understanding the basics or talk to key vendors to request inspections of your fire protection systems.
Assess your fire protection equipment.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
Fire Alarm and Monitoring Systems
Exit and Emergency Lights
Kitchen and Special Hazard Suppression Systems
Consult with maintenance or engineering personnel, service providers and local AHJs to evaluate inspection, testing, and maintenance needs that may be upcoming or past due. Prioritize service of fire protection systems and devices, including:
To access NFPA’s full checklist for fire and life safety when reopening, visit nfpa.org
Communicate with your local authorities.
Consider updating your local fire department if your facility has changed usage or occupancy in any way.
Reevaluate your emergency response protocol.
Determine whether there are any gaps in your emergency response protocol created by remote, furloughed or laid off employees. Evaluate the need to provide training to new emergency response team members, including knowledge of fire protection equipment or devices.
Communicate any fire protection service needs to vendors that may need to be on site to avoid delays or missed maintenance.
Explore digital communication technologies.
With more employees potentially working from home, telework is becoming more common. Ask your vendors if they can review services or documentation and reports over the phone or digitally.
Reflect and learn.
Once a “new normal” is in place, consider what worked well during emergency responses and throughout the reopening process – and what didn’t. This includes evaluating the responsiveness and flexibility of your vendors and partners.
For more information on NFPA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic or to learn more about the fire protection codes and standards, visit the NFPA website.
Any time you have fire protection equipment onsite, it’s important to verify that your systems and equipment are up-to-date and maintained. For more information or to learn how Cintas Fire Protection can help with your fire protection services, visit cintas.com/fire