Reopening Buildings Checklist

FIRE AND LIFE SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR REOPENING A BUILDING

With recent announcements from the federal government and many Provinces beginning to allow businesses to reopen, building owners and facility managers will be getting ready to reintroduce occupants to structures that may have been relatively vacant for an extended period. During this unique time, NFPA has encouraged the maintenance of all fire protection and life safety systems in commercial and multi-occupancy residential buildings. However, it is possible that many of the ongoing inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) activities required by locally enforced codes and standards may not have been completed for a variety of reasons.

Regardless of the level of ITM performed during this time, it is imperative that building owners and facility managers verify the performance of all building fire protection and life safety systems prior to reoccupation. To assist with these efforts, NFPA has developed a list of factors that should be confirmed by a qualified person before re-opening a building to ensure safety of all its occupants. Based on the assumption that the building was in compliance prior to being closed, the checklist below provides some initial steps to help ensure that the occupancy is safe enough to reopen until a qualified professional can complete the regularly scheduled ITM of all fire protection and life safety systems.

Any alterations to the building that adhere to public health guidelines, such as the installation of physical barriers or automatic door openers, will need to be evaluated to ensure that they are properly designed and installed and do not negatively impact the fire protection and life safety systems currently in place.

Confirm all the following checkpoints for each of the building systems. While this is not a complete list, it does contain many of the items that can be addressed and confirmed by a building owner or facility manager during their initial work to reopen a building.

General

All inspection, testing, and maintenance is up to date on the following systems or building elements:

  • Water-based fire protection system (NFPA 25)
  • Fire pumps (NFPA 25)
  • Fire alarm system (NFPA 72)
  • Commercial cooking equipment ventilation and fire protection (NFPA 96)
  • Portable fire extinguishers (NFPA 10)
  • Fire/smoke dampers (NFPA 80 and NFPA 105)
  • All fire doors (NFPA 80 and 101)
  • Emergency lighting equipment (NFPA 101)
  • Exit signs (NFPA 101)
  • Appropriate fire department access is unobstructed. (NFPA 1)
  • For wildfire-prone areas, routine maintenance of combustible vegetation has been completed. (NFPA 1)
  • Hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand rubs are stored and managed safely (NFPA 101), and if needed, learn more at https://youtu.be/1P3GjIBKwI8.
  • Required personnel are familiar and trained in accordance with the emergency action plan (NFPA 101).
  • Check with the local authority having jurisdiction to find out if they require any special provisions prior to reoccupying the building.

 

Water-Based Systems (NFPA 25)

  • All control valves are open.
  • Gauges are operable and not physically damaged.
  • Water filled piping is maintained above 40 F (4 C).
  • Sprinklers are not physically damaged.
  • There are no leaks from the piping or sprinklers.
  • Fire department connections are accessible and not physically damaged.
  • Hose connections (if provided) are accessible and not physically damaged.

 

Fire Alarm Systems (NFPA 72)

  • There are no trouble, supervisory, or alarm signals.
  • Notification appliances are not blocked or physically damaged.
  • Initiating devices (smoke detectors, heat detectors, etc.,) are not physically damaged.
  • Manual pull stations are accessible and not physically damaged.

 

Fire Extinguishers (NFPA 10)

  • Fire extinguishers are accessible and not physically damaged.
  • Pressure gauge reading or indicator is in the operable range or position on all fire extinguishers.

 

Means of Egress (NFPA 101)

  • All means of egress paths are unobstructed.
  • All doors in the means of egress are working properly and not physically damaged.
  • All doors are operable from egress side.
  • All doors are not physically blocked.
  • All fire doors are working properly and not physically damaged.
  • All fire doors latch.
  • All required lighting in the means of egress is functioning properly.
  • Means of egress is illuminated when occupied.
  • Emergency lighting is not blocked or physically damaged.
  • Exit signs are not blocked or physically damaged.
  • Exit signs are properly illuminated.

 

Electrical (NFPA 70B and NFPA 110)

Confirm that routine maintenance and operational testing is completed for the following:

  • Electrical equipment per the building’s Electrical Preventative Maintenance Program.
  • Emergency and standby power systems.

 

Relevant NFPA Codes and Standards

  • NFPA 1, Fire Code
  • NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
  • NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signalling Code®
  • NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives
  • NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations
  • NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®
  •  NFPA 105, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives
  • NFPA 110, Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems


Learn More:

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, NFPA continues to provide key resources and information that address emergency planning, building, and fire and life safety issues. New resources are being added as the crisis evolves and challenges emerge. Visit nfpa.org/coronavirus to access these resources

 

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Airdrie Fire Department Administration

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