This is Why You Need to Perform Fire Door Inspections Yourself

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According to the newly released report by NFPA, “Fire Loss in the United States in 2019”, there were 120,000 non-residential fires in 2019. Think about that for a second. 120,000.

On average, a fire department responded to a fire somewhere in the United States every 24 seconds in 2019. Every 32 minutes, a civilian suffered a nonfatal fire injury. Even more tragically, a U.S. civilian was fatally injured in a fire every two hours and 22 minutes. To make matters worse, non-residential fires totaled a staggering $4.3 billion in direct property damage. This dollar amount rose 7% from the year before, while deaths climbed an alarming 22%. As disastrous as this all sounds, there is some good news to be had. These numbers, believe it or not, are significantly lower today than they were in 1980. Guess what that means? Changes in the fire codes over the years is working.

We’ve discussed in the past how tragic fires throughout history have shaped current building and fire codes and how the standards regarding the inspections and maintenance of fire doors have evolved over the years. Fire door inspections have, in fact, been in our building codes for nearly 50 years. However, it wasn’t until the 2007 edition of NFPA 80 that annual fire door inspections became required by the Life Safety Code® and jurisdictions began to adopt and enforce the inspections. For those of you in the healthcare world, the Joint Commission and CMS have tightened the reigns on enforcement and require door inspections as part of their audits. For those in non-healthcare industries, fire marshals and risk auditors and buckling down on code violations and in some cases, shutting down facilities that aren’t in compliance with codes. Talk about an added stress to an already stressful year.

Are fire doors inspections a necessary evil?

We are hearing more and more from our clients and colleagues about how the adoption of these codes by local and state jurisdictions is causing a big problem with facility budgets – this year more than ever. While no one doubts the importance of fire door inspections and their overall role in fire protection, for facility managers and maintenance staff, compliance with some codes is tough. These inspections eat and pick at budgets as FM’s scramble to hire contractors to do the work. Maintenance budgets were tight before the pandemic hit. Now, these budgets are practically non-existent for compliance inspections. Currently a big majority of facility dollars are going to COVID sanitation and disinfection services with all eyes on trying to slow the spread of the disease. With the potential “dark winter” among us, maintenance professionals are trying to figure out how they can stretch an already slim budget across all of the requirements they must meet to keep their building safe and healthy. While most everyone seems to know and understand the importance of code compliance, the inspections have become somewhat of a “necessary evil” because the money to perform the inspections just simply isn’t there.

We’ve come up with a list of reasons of why you should learn to perform fire door inspections yourself. With the right training and a little time investment, you can have the best of both worlds – compliance with little to no strain on your budget.

Here’s why you need to perform fire door inspections yourself

Cost Savings – This one is a no-brainer. Learn to perform fire door inspections yourself and forget about paying contractors to do them for you. It really is that simple. Be sure to find a reputable training company that has proven experience in fire doors and their components, though. There is a lot of noise out there when it comes to door training and you want to make sure your team is getting good, solid education when it comes to assets as crucial as fire doors.

Control – There are so many things in today’s world we can’t control. Compliance with local codes and standards and peace of mind that you’ve done your part to provide a safe environment for your facility guests and employees is one thing you can control. I don’t know about you, but being able to keep my hands on the pulse of what’s happening in my work environment feels good. With so many what if’s and unknowns out there, knowing that I’ve done the job I’ve been tasked with keeps me going. .

Collaboration– Safety is everyone’s responsibility – not just facility managers, engineers and maintenance professionals. It’s our job as educators as well. Your willingness to learn allows us to collaborate more to provide solutions to your problems through training and education.

Professional Development – Giving people the ability to better themselves is an incredible feeling. Providing organizations accessibility to a higher degree of safety compliance and their employees safer environments feels pretty amazing, too. We’ve based our whole philosophy around empowering facility managers and personnel with a path for growth. We’ve used this same philosophy for our internal technicians at our sister company, LSS Life Safety Services®. Once you empower someone with the ability better themselves professionally, the thirst for knowledge becomes almost insatiable. And let’s face it, the more your staff knows, the easier your job will be.

Compliance – At the end of the day, your goal is compliance. You want a passing grade from your fire marshal and peace of mind for your visitors and employees. You want that report that you can hand off to your AHJ and show that you’ve done the important work that they are asking of you. With the ability to perform these inspections in-house, you’ll be in compliance and stay in compliance for years to come.

Guys, bottom-line here. You have your hands full. By learning to perform these inspections in-house, your facility will save substantial dollars and you’ll be able to use that budget for other, more pressing things on your list. Learn how you can get started.

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