Get Your Annual Fire Escape Safety Inspection
The Inspection Section of the Bureau of Fire Prevention is tasked with inspecting the life safety components of all new building construction and building remodels in San Francisco. This includes infrastructure such as fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems and fire escapes. It is also required that all emergency equipment and buildings be tested on a regular basis to ensure all of this infrastructure is in good condition. Annual fire escape safety inspections in San Francisco, CA serve this very purpose.
Under the Life Safety Code, interior stairwells have generally been the more favorable option for new construction since 1927. This is largely because people are not trained in the usage of fire escapes, and because there is extra maintenance required for them to stay in usable condition over the course of many years. Nevertheless, there are still fire escapes that are used on the exteriors of existing buildings in many cases, both residential and commercial. However, access to these fire escapes is only allowed these days by doors that meet certain specified criteria—it is no longer up to code to allow them to be accessed via window or ladder.
Maintaining Fire Escapes
The Life Safety Code governs the specific provisions that exist for the maintenance and inspection of fire escapes. The maintenance of these escapes is crucial to ensure they are usable and safe should a fire actually occur.
All fire escapes must be kept clear of obstructions, and access must be maintained via doors and windows. There must be fire-resistive opening protections put in place, and the structural integrity of the fire escape and all parts anchoring it to the building structure must be properly maintained. Inspectors will examine all of these elements in great detail when performing their safety checks. If a fire escape collapses during use, it could result in significant injuries or death, especially where particularly tall buildings are concerned.
The most common reason why fire escapes deteriorate over time is rust. If the fire escapes become overly corroded, especially at the connection points, the metal can deteriorate and break away. For this reason, building owners with fire escapes should focus on rust removal and protection. Rust can occur not just on the metal, but also at the spots where moisture collects in joints, cracks and crevices in the masonry where the anchor points for the fire escape exist. Over time, that corrosion can cause the masonry to deteriorate, as well as the iron, which weakens the entire structure. Part of the inspection should involve checking these anchor points, and pulling out bolts to inspect them and replace them as necessary. All hardware should be replaced when a certain amount of deterioration has occurred. Otherwise, significant structural failure will become increasingly likely
There are some who believe the requirements for inspection and maintenance of fire escapes could be more stringent. It is on the owners of properties with fire escapes to make sure they are kept in good condition and are safe for use should an emergency situation arise.
For more information about scheduling annual fire escape safety inspections in San Francisco, CA, contact the team at Great Escape Fire Escape Service today.