Annual Fire Inspection Guide - Exclusive Checklist

March 5, 2009

Check the following to prepare for your next fire inspection.

Prepare for your next fire inspection.
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Access and Premises

  • Building address should be clearly visible from street.
  • Exterior access should be clear.
  • Fire department connection should be clearly visible and readily accessible.
  • Lockbox should be accessible and have proper keys for complete building access.
  • Fire hydrants should be visible and accessible.

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Means of Egress

  • All exit doors should be visible, accessible, and fully functional.
  • All exit doors should readily open from the inside without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort.
  • All required fire doors must be self-closing and latch in the closed position.

Read also: Ways Your Fire Safety System Could Be Failing You


  • Cover plates should be installed on all electrical receptacles.
  • All circuits should be properly labeled on all electrical panels.
  • There should be 30 inches of clear access in front of all electrical panels.
  • Extension cords shouldn’t be used, except for temporary power.
  • All extension cords should be heavy duty, in good condition, and used for only small appliances.
  • All extension cords should be grounded.
  • If multiple items need to be plugged in, power strips with built-in circuit breakers should be used, and should be plugged directly into a permanent receptacle.

Egress Lighting

  • All means of egress should be properly illuminated when the building is occupied.
  • All emergency lighting units should be operable and properly located to illuminate all portions of the means of egress (push test button to check).
  • All exit signs should be properly illuminated, and battery back-up should operate (if required – push test button to check).

Fire Extinguishers

  • Generally, fire extinguishers should be installed within 75 feet of all areas of the building.
  • All extinguishers should be visible and readily accessible.
  • All extinguishers should meet the minimum required rating, or should be installed for special hazards.
  • All extinguishers should be installed at the proper height above the floor (generally, the top of the extinguishers should be no more than 5-feet above the floor).
  • All extinguishers should’ve been inspected and tagged by an approved agency within the past 12 months.

Fire-Alarm System

  • An annual fire-alarm system functional performance test should be completed, along with a record of completion (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).
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Fire-Sprinkler System

  • Annual fire-sprinkler-system inspection, testing, and maintenance should be completed, along with a record of completion (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).
  • All storage should be located at least 18-inches below all fire sprinklers (in large warehouses, storage heights may be different).

Special Suppression Systems (Kitchen Wet Chemical, Clean Agent, Etc.)

  • Annual or semi-annual special fire-suppression system inspection, testing, and maintenance should be completed, along with a record of completion provided (you should have a copy available for the fire inspector).

Heat-Producing Appliances and Devices

  • Only UL-Listed portable electric heaters should be used, and only on a temporary basis.
  • All electrical portable heaters should have a clear space on all sides of at least 36 inches.
  • All gas-fired heat-producing appliances (furnaces, water heaters, etc.) should have a clear space from combustibles of at least 36 inches on all sides.
  • All gas-fired heat-producing appliances should have vents properly installed and maintained.
  • Proper clearance of combustibles should be maintained from all light fixtures.

Storage and Maintenance of Building Areas

  • All trash and waste should be removed from the building daily (it’s not allowed to accumulate).
  • All oily rags or similar materials should be stored in approved metal containers.
  • All combustible materials should be stored in an orderly manner.
  • No combustibles should be stored in any portion of the means of egress.
  • All combustible decorations should be properly treated with fire retardants.
  • All interior finishes should meet the code requirements for the type of occupancy.
  • All combustible or flammable liquids should be properly stored in approved containers or cabinets.
  • All compressed gas containers (tanks) should be secured to prevent them from falling over.
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Smoke and Carbon-Monoxide Alarms

  • All single- or multiple-station smoke alarms (detectors) should be operating properly (batteries should be replaced annually).
  • All carbon-monoxide detectors should be operating properly.

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