Something often overlooked by managers is the operational efficiency of fire exits. In fact, many overlook fire exits altogether, given that most people don’t know fire code regulations. However, if you’re managing a team in a building, you need to understand what to do to keep everyone under your watch safe.
Businesses use a Fire Exit Inspection Checklist to document fire exit inspections. Fire exits must provide safe passage to people in an emergency and enclose the fire. There are strict regulations for fire exits. A fire exit inspection template can help you maintain compliance with those regulations.
At 1st Reporting, safety is our number one priority. So we created a free and downloadable Fire Exit Inspection Template you can download now and start using immediately. Whether you are running preventive maintenance, facility safety inspections, or even auditing a new potential business location, the fire exit inspection template will be an excellent tool for you.
In order to use the pedestrian door Fire Exit Inspection Checklist to its greatest intent, it’s best to understand a little more about how the template is set up. Also, it’s good to properly know how to use it for the most significant operational efficiency. Some other tips and tricks to the fire exit and facility inspections will help keep your operation running lean and mean.
Included In The Fire Exit Inspection Checklist
The Fire Exit Inspection Checklist has seven major components that create the bulk of the template. Let’s take a brief look at each section so you can pass on the information in training your team to use the template.
Many organizations utilize multiple properties and large buildings with multiple exits. Logistically, these situations can become a nightmare for management to attempt to keep control. So, to aid you in maintaining fire exit door superiority, we’ve added a few key sections to the administrative section. These include the following:
- Facility name and location
- Reason for inspection
- Inspection date and time
- Name of inspector
- Door identifier
The last one typically takes many managers by surprise. However, tagging doors with an identification tag, especially fire exit or interior fire suppression doors, is wise. It becomes critical when a facility expands beyond half a dozen doors.
Now that the administrative section identifies the critical components of the audit, we can quickly grasp the scope of the door by its type. The door type gives savvy managers an instant grasp of costs, should a door require replacement. That is, given that the manager knows their basic fire exit door costs by material. Does that seem far-fetched? Think again. Many facility managers want to know, and maintenance personnel will be happy to have the information documented on file and easily accessible.
When emergencies like fires occur, accessibility is the name of the game. You can’t afford to have fire exit doors obstructed in any way. They need to function perfectly to allow people to escape to safety. The inspector needs to audit the accessibility of fire exits thoroughly. This section of the checklist enables documentation of said accessibility.
Most established countries have strict regulations regarding fire exits and the features allowed. For example, it is a fire regulation violation in many regions to have multiple locks on a fire exit door. Fire exit doors must function easily, with only one hand, and must open with no more than ten pounds of force.
Adding features like additional surface bolt locks and other easily installed items may prevent safe passage during a fire. These additions may also break local fire code regulations, and your company could face some hefty fines.
Ensure you’ve consulted with your local fire marshal or government building inspector to ensure you maintain compliance in your local area. Each state or province may have slightly different requirements, so it is always best practice to double-check.
Testing the functions of a door is a critical component of the fire exit inspection process. You must ensure that the door opens appropriately and that it self-closes after opening. The Functions section of the Fire Exit Inspection Checklist details the standard functionality requirements for fire exit pedestrian doors.
A fire exit door inspection must include more than just the window dressing. You need to instruct your inspectors to check the structural stability. Some doors may appear in top condition when closed until you open them to find out if the hinge plates are broken free, or the door’s structure is damaged. Fire exit doors need to function appropriately and close behind people after exit. If the structural integrity is compromised, the function may also be compromised. It would be a shame to find out the structure is compromised during an actual fire emergency.
After inspection, the inspector may want to pass or fail the door in an overall auditing sense. Similarly, given the fire exit’s health and safety nature and its essential role, we’ve included a checkpoint for the inspector to notify management of door inspection failures. Similarly, we’ve included a note to check if the door inspection tag is updated. Not all facilities utilize door inspection labels, but it is wise to do so, especially if you have a local fire marshall who likes to pop by for surprise visits.
Best Practices For Fire Exit Audits
We’ve compiled eight tips to help you keep your fire exit inspection on track. These best practices will ensure that your inspection process is maintained in an organized and efficient manner. Therefore, ensure you’re training your team on these eight points.
- Review the building plan and map if available.
- Evaluate potential obstructions.
- Check that doors open easily with no more than ten pounds of force required.
- Single point of opening audit of the door.
- Test the doors to make sure they close and latch behind you.
- Inspect the door for any damage that could impede its function.
- If you find any problems, make sure to label the door as such and notify management immediately.
- Keep a log of all inspections and ensure that the most recent examination is always posted on the door.
Need a training guide? Read the full guide here: A Guide To Exit Sign Requirements And Inspection
Review the building plan and map if available.
Before the inspection, reviewing the facility building plan and (or) the site map is essential. Many more extensive facilities or those with interior fire separation doors (like those separating units) have doors that are easily overlooked. A facility map to create a walking plan is essential to ensure no door is left unopened.
Evaluate Potential Obstructions.
When performing a fire exit inspection, you must ensure that your inspector is aware of the door, its surroundings, and the operations’ nature. For example, a plastic extrusion facility might utilize large hoppers on wheels to transport waste plastic around the facility. These large wheeled hoppers could easily obstruct a fire exit, so noticing them lined up in an area near a fire exit might indicate that further investigation is necessary.
Ten Pound Rule
Many regions hold a regulatory ruling that fire exit doors must open easily in the case of an emergency. A force of ten pounds is applied to ensure this regulation is understood. The idea is that a young child who only has one arm accessible should be able to open the door to escape a fire. Now, at work, there aren’t likely to be a lot of small children (unless you’re in healthcare, education, or similar verticals). However, the law typically does not discriminate by the age of those present in a facility, so following the ten pounds of force rule is a wise choice no matter what industry.
Single Point Of Opening
Another common regulation for fire exits is the single point of the opening rule. When escaping a burning building, you don’t want to fiddle with a deadbolt, chain lock, and doorknob—every second counts in fire emergencies. So the typical regulation is that a fire exit must utilize only one means of opening, be it a single doorknob or a panic bar.
Test the doors to make sure they close and latch behind you.
A fire needs oxygen to fuel the combustion reaction. A big job of a fire exit is to let people out of a burning building and close after the people leave to trap the fire inside. Once the fire uses up the oxygen, the fire dies. So, if all fire doors are functioning correctly, the idea is that no fire can consume more than the air and fuel already inside. Therefore it is imperative to train your fire exit inspector(s) to test how the door closes after being opened.
Inspect the door for any damage that could impede its function.
Damage to doors happens over time. Fire exits used by staff to access smoking areas outside are typical culprits to losing function due to damage over time. Doors that slam can lose structural integrity. Seasonal swelling and shrinking can cause building shifts that make doors rub in their frames when extreme. Even the changes in temperature from the hot sun on a door can affect the operation. Therefore, inspectors must audit the fire exit for damage, even if none is visually apparent at first glance.
If you find any problems, make sure to label the door as such and notify management immediately.
As mentioned earlier, labeling doors that require attention or noting an inspection date (like your car’s oil change windshield sticker) is vital to management. Facilities with multiple doors can quickly become unmanageable if proper labeling and organizational protocol are not in place.
Keep a log of all inspections and ensure that the most recent examination is always posted on the door.
Maintaining safety audit documentation is vital for all businesses. In many cases, it is even a legal requirement. Therefore, utilizing a robust filing system for your fire exit inspection checklists and other safety audits is mission-critical to your health and safety operations.
The Future Of Fire Exit Audits
Are you looking for an app to make documenting audits and inspections easier? Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy if you want to use our downloadable template, but isn’t there a more straightforward and less paper and ink-using method?
Look no further! The 1st Reporting App is the perfect solution for you. It’s easy to use, accessible on all devices and has many features that make your job considerably more manageable.
The 1st Reporting App is one of the most versatile reporting apps today. You can customize it to fit your specific needs. It has many features that will make documenting audits and inspections faster and easier. Plus, you can access it from any device – so you’ll never have to be without it.
Managers also love the report-generating function. Tracking trends in health and safety is vital to preventive and corrective action before the incident. Using an app that does the heavy lifting of sifting through reports is easier and more manageable than a filing cabinet and paper report solution.
But don’t take our word for it; find out for yourself. Download the 1st Reporting App now on Google Play or The Apple App Store today!