Establishing Fire Protection and Life Safety Objectives

What is the purpose of a fire inspection program?  Why do fire prevention bureaus exist?  For what reasons do fire protection and code consultants exis?  How can you know if your prevention program is accomplishing its objectives?

In 1975 the American Insurance Association published "Special Interest Bulletin No. 5, The Value and Purpose of Fire Department Inspections".  This bulletin outlined 7 objectives for an inspection program.  As you examine these objectives, evaluate your department, company, or organization and determine whether you are meeting these objectives, which of these you are great at, and which objectives need more of your attention.

  1. To obtain proper life safety conditions. 
  2. To keep fires from starting.
  3. To keep fires from spreading.
  4. To determine adequacy and maintenance of fire protection systems.
  5. To preplan fire fighting procedures.
  6. To stimulate cooperation between owners, occupants, and fire departments.
  7. To assure compliance with fire protection and life safety codes, standards, and regulations.

Proper life safety conditions can be obtained by evaluating the adequacy of exits, protecting the path of egress, making sure that building evacuation plans are current, and determining occupant loads of the space.

Fires can be prevented by monitoring the hazards associated with a facility or process.  Many people in the work force become complacent as they conduct their daily responsibilities without incident.  Public education, therefore, becomes an essential component to keep fires from starting.

The general public passes through our buildings everyday, largely unaware of the life saving features that surround them. Structural features such as enclosures, fire walls, fire partitions, and fire doors must be inspected and maintained to adequately keep fires from spreading.

There are three primary reasons that a fire sprinkler may fail. The top reason that sprinkler systems fail is due to a lack of maintaining operational status of the system, this can be followed up by inadequate or incomplete coverage of the fire area or hazard to be protected. The final reason a sprinkler may fail is inadequate performance of the system itself.  Any prevention program or fire strategy should include components that are designed to determine the adequacy and maintenance of the fire protection systems.

The best way to ensure success when fighting a building fire, saving lives, and preserving property is to preplan fire fighting procedures.  Fire protection programs should provide a clear layout of the building, its systems, related hazards, and special procedures or requirements.

Fire prevention bureaus should work closely with the public and establish a good relationship with the building owners and facility managers within their jurisdiction.  If a client is seeking the services of a fire protection or life safety consultant, a major part of the proposal should include a clear plan that outlines how cooperation between owners, occupants, and fire departments will be achieved.

With the myriad codes, standards, and regulations that abound, a fire prevention program should educate, interpret, and enforce these requirements.  With the constant submission of new code change proposals, and the creation of new products and fire protection methods a skilled fire strategist will be knowledgeable enough to assure compliance with fire protection and life safety codes, standards, and regulations is met and maintained.

Does your fire inspection or life safety program address all of these objectives?  What area needs more work?  What are some resources that you need to meet these objectives more efficiently? 

Leave your feedback in the comments section below.

How to Store Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Common to all aviation facilities is some form of flammable or combustible liquid storage. How is this storage type determined? Is the storage provided adequate? How can we ensure that fire or other incident will be prevented? Where do we start when specifying, installing, or inspection liquid storage tanks? Guidance on liquid classification, tank types and installation, and fire/spill protection requirements is found in the National Fire Protection Association standard, NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
The first step to determine the storage requirements of such liquids (typically fuel at aviation facilities, but also oils, chemicals, cleaning solutions or the like) is to clearly define the characteristics of the liquid. Defining the liquid answers these two questions:
  • Is this liquid flammable or combustible?
  • What class of liquid is this?

Fire Code Questions (and answers)...

Have you ever had question regarding fire or life safety code requirements?  Do you have a current project that you need answers on?

Well, you are in luck!  I am looking for all your code related questions and concerns.  I want to start a Fire Code Q & A podcast in which your questions and concerns will be answered.

Send all of your code related questions to me for an upcoming podcast episode (or even a blog post).

Also, you can always click on the image to the right to submit your questions anytime.

2014 Year End Reading List

Here's what I was reading in 2014:

  1. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, Austin Kleon
  2. Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions, John Taffer
  3. Fire in the Hole: Stories, Elmore Leonard
  4. Calvary Chapel Distinctives, Chuck Smith
  5. Fire Strategies - Strategic Thinking, Paul Bryant
  6. No Cape Required: A Devotional: 52 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Hero, Kristen Parrish
  7. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, Jeffrey Gitomer
  8. The Racketeer: A Novel, John Grisham
  9. How High Will You Climb?: Determine Your Success by Cultivating the Right Attitude, John Maxwell
  10. Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint: How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas, Christopher Witt
  11. The Bible on Leadership: From Moses to Matthew -- Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders, Lorin Woolfe
  12. Building a Ministry of Spiritual Mentoring (A Romans 12 Disciple), Jim Grassi
  13. The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters, Albert Mohler
  14. Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service, Ken Blanchard
  15. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy (revised), Dr. Michael Abrashoff
  16. Million Dollar Launch: How to Kick-start a Successful Consulting Practice in 90 Days, Alan Weiss
  17. ARMY FIRE FIGHTING: A Historical Perspective, Leroy Allen Ward
  18. The Bookstrapper Guide to Marketing Your Book, Tucker Max
  19. The Daring Heart of David Livingstone: Exile, African Slavery, and the Publicity Stunt That Saved Millions, Jay Millbrandt
  20. Speaking On The Side: The Definitive Guide To Earning Money & Happiness Without Quitting Your Day Job, Jeff Greene
  21. Take Command: Lessons in Leadership: How to Be a First Responder in Business, Jake Wood
  22. Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula To Sell Almost Anything Online, Build A Business You Love, And Live The Life Of Your Dreams, Jeff Walker
  23. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, Tony Robbins
  24. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, Michael Gerber

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