Mobile Fire Department Ladder Trucks and Business Inspections
Business inspections are just one of the many things that Mobile fire department ladder truck crew performs many times a year. Mobile fire department Ladder trucks also perform school inspections, fire hydrant inspections and can do home inspections when requested.
This article is about business inspections and what firefighters look for while conducting a business inspection at local businesses here in Mobile Alabama.
When a ladder truck crew and the captain pull up into a parking lot of a business there are a few things that are looked at even before the crew enters into the business. The driver as he approaches the parking lot looks for the nearest fire hydrant for a water source so if the building were to catch on fire he would know where he could hook up fire hoses to, to extinguish the fire.
When looking at the fire hydrant the driver will also look to see what the color the top of the fire hydrant is colored. The color of a fire hydrant informs the driver and crew how much water that fire hydrant will flow when turned on fully. The color blue is the color that a driver of a ladder truck likes to see at businesses. A fire hydrant with a blue top informs the driver that the plug will flow the maximum amount of water to extinguish a fire.
The driver of a ladder truck will also look to see how the outer of the building is constructed and where would be the best place to set up the aerial ladder if the building were to be on fire. Another thing that can be looked at before going into a business is to see where the power comes into the business and look to see where the main power shut off is to the business.
While looking for the main power shut off usually firefighters look to see if the business has a gas meter attached to the business and look to see if the gas meter is operational.
Another one of the most important things firefighters look for while inspecting the outside of a business is to see if the business has a fire department Siamese hook up. If a business has a fire department Siamese hook up this means that the business has a sprinkler system installed within the building.
Also while inspecting the outside of an business firefighters can look to see if the business has an Knox box attached to the building usually somewhere near the entrance of a business. A Knox box is a small steel box mounted to a building to store keys to the business in. With a Knox box attached to the business and in the event of a fire the fire department captain can gain entrance to the business without having to force entry into the business.
The business building construction is also a major thing that a fire captain and crews look at when inspecting a business. The construction of a business provides structural integrity during a fire. Fire resistive construction includes floors, roofs, walls, beams, and columns. This type construction helps to slow the spread of fire throughout the building.
Today’s building construction materials comes in many forms such as brick, stone, concrete block, wood, steel, stucco, and glass just to mention a few. Some of these building materials hold up longer under fire conditions and allow a longer time for people to escape from a burning building before it will collapse.
When the captain and crew enter a business the captain and crew will introduce themselves to the business owner or business manager. After introducing themselves the captain will ask the business owner or manager for some information to put on the business inspection form. Business name, phone number, address, and two emergency contact names and numbers are usually the first thing a business owner or manager is asked.
The next two questions that are asked are how many employees and people that could occupy the business on a day to day basis and the hours of operation. Next the fire load of the business is looked at. Fire load depends on what the business is made of and the amount of combustible materials in an area of a building. Commercial and storage facilities may be considered a heavy fire load depending on the type of materials in that commercial or storage business.
While the captain and crew inspect the business they look for anything that could be a fire health risk to employees or anyone inside the business. Fire crews look for the same thing in all business except for those businesses that cook and have a working kitchen. Businesses that cook and have a working kitchen must have a hood system installed above the cooking surface and regularly inspected.
In a business that does not cook or have a working kitchen firefighters look for:
1 Fire extinguishers that are charged and has been inspected on a regular basis
2 Working exit signs and emergency lighting
3 Unblocked and unlocked exit doors, entry doors, stairwells, and hallways
4 Unblocked electrical panels and ensure breaker switches are not covered with tape
5 Storage of highly flammable hazardous materials inside the business
6 Emergency exit directions posted throughout the business
7 Active and monitored fire alarm system and where the alarm panel is located
8 Sprinkled or non sprinkled building
9 Dry or wet sprinkler system
10 Bare wires that could cause sparks
Basically ladder truck company fire captains and fire crews look for anything that could be a potential fire hazard to the business and to protect the businesses interest, employees and the public.