Fire codes are essential government standards for ensuring building safety. That includes having clear exit routes and the right fire-fighting equipment. Fire codes differ per state, so you must familiarize yourself with local fire safety regulations.
In terms of fire code, Utah adopts several international standards, such as the 2021 International Fire Code (IFC) and the 2018 International Building Code (IBC). Read on as this article walks you through some of the most common fire code violations to help you comply with the law and ensure your safety.
6 Common Fire Code Violations and How to Avoid It
Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, avoiding fire code violations should be part of your risk management strategies. In Utah, these violations can lead to significant penalties, including fines of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for a maximum of 180 days.
However, it’s not just about preventing financial and legal consequences. The health and safety of everyone inside the building are on the line when it comes to fire code compliance. Improve your fire code enforcement and wildfire safety efforts by spotting these six common fire code violations.
1. Extension cord misuse
Extension cords are common in households and businesses when wall outlets are too far away or when many people need to charge their phones, for example.
However, overloading extension cords with multiple devices or connecting major appliances that exceed their wattage limits can lead to overheating and fire risks. Using it sparingly is one way to minimize the fire risk of extension cords. Don’t plug too many devices into it, and avoid using another extension cord to extend it further.
The National Fire Protection Association also recommends avoiding hot extension cords that feel hot or are damaged, such as having exposed wiring.
2. Blocked exits and fire doors
One of the most important fire safety regulations you must follow is ensuring that exits and doors are clear. Despite that, there are times when stored materials or furniture obstruct the exit.
A home inspection, where you walk around the house or property, allows you to check if every possible exit is clear for emergencies. Remember: not all exits are doors. You must also monitor windows and fire escapes outside the building if you’re in an office to ensure that nothing is blocking your escape.
3. Faulty exit signs and lighting
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fire exit signs must always be visible and in the line of sight of people within the building. This means it should be written in a legible typeface. Clear and well-lit exit signs help people quickly identify escape routes in a fire emergency.
OSHA also requires additional signs, such as marking hallways and passageways as “Not an Exit,” to prevent confusion.
4. Missing fire extinguishers
If you don’t yet have a fire extinguisher, you’ll need a State Fire Marshal-issued fire extinguisher license to legally own and operate one. This license ensures you’re prepared to use the extinguisher effectively to prevent further fire damage and protect building occupants.
5. Blocked valves and exterior access points
Responding firefighters rely on fire safety valves and exterior access points to get into the building and extinguish the flames. Blocking these prevents them from suppressing the fire effectively and impedes their rescue. It’s no surprise why this would be considered a fire code violation.
Like clearing out fire exits, it benefits you to walk through your property regularly to check for anything that might obstruct fire emergency responses.
6. Defective fire alarms
Functional fire and smoke alarms alert you to potential fires within your building. Defective units can leave people unaware of fire hazards, risking their lives.
Utah Legislature mandates fire detection systems in corridors with alarms positioned at a maximum distance of 30 feet from the center and 15 feet from the walls for early warning and effectiveness.
Extinguish Risks and Restore Your Property’s Safety
There’s very little time for reflection when a fire erupts in a building. It’s why fire prevention remains the best solution to protecting your health and safety. Complying with fire safety regulations ensures you’ll be prepared for fires, regardless of the cause.
You can’t overlook the effects of fire damage to your property. Beyond smoke damage and soot blackening your walls, the fire—and sometimes the water used to extinguish it—can weaken your property’s structure, making it an unsafe environment.
If you’ve just dealt with a fire, it’s time to invest in commercial restoration services. Our certified technicians at All Dry are experts in fire damage restoration you can partner with reliably. We understand that dealing with fire damage is financially and emotionally overwhelming, so we’re here to help restore your property as hassle-free as possible.
Contact us today for a free estimate of restoration costs. We operate 24/7, so you can expect us to respond to your call promptly!