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Checklist for Fire Safety

By Graphic Products Editorial Staff

Graphic Products is observing National Fire Prevention Week, October 5 – 11th. We encourage everyone to pay special attention to this initiative in order to make homes, workplaces, and communities safer.

Imagine that the town you live in averaged at least two fires a day—sometimes reaching five a day. Death, deep scars, and major losses would be a daily threat. That was the culture of Chicago, and many other North American cities in the late 1800’s. On October 8th, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire started, lasting two days. Tragically the fire killed about 300 people, and destroyed more than 17,000 structures, leaving 100,000 residents homeless. On the same day, the Peshtigo forest fire in nearby Wisconsin killed more than 1,000 people—the most deaths that a fire has caused in United States History. Forty years later, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA), the oldest members of the National Fire Protection Association, sponsored the first National Fire Prevention day. In the year prior to this movement, 15,000 deaths occurred due to fire. Later in 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed an entire week for recognizing Fire Prevention. Since then, National Fire Prevention Week always includes October 9th and runs from a Sunday to Saturday

In 2013, with the United States population ballooning with six billion more people than the one billion in 1871, fire caused 3,240 deaths. These numbers demonstrate one of the most fantastic humanity campaigns in the country. Pushing the same efforts and keeping up with changing technology means that workplace safety is a primary target for fire prevention.

Meeting NFPA Compliance

Much work has been done over the years to reform fire codes and fire protection. Minimizing catastrophe from the onset of a flame is a primary focus of the NFPA’s standards. Storage of materials and waste in the workplace can be a common contributor to the spread of fire, so they are covered in NFPA standards. Labels and signs are required for appropriate identification of exits and paths, and Danger and Warning signs are required for specific work environments. NFPA 704 diamond labels - NFPA compliant labels describe the hazard level for hazardous materials in a quickly visible format, ideal for first responders and emergency workers who come in contact with the substances. Numbers from 0-4 (low to high) are paired with colored bands or diamonds to rate specific dangers: health risks are associated with blue, flammability with red, and volatility with yellow. Pictograms are also included to convey additional safety messages.

Checklist for Emergencies and Fire Protection

Use this checklist to ensure your workplace is ready to minimize potential catastrophe if a flame ignites. 

Emergency Preparedness

Yes □
No □
Are building evacuation drawings (indicating exit routes and assembly areas outside the building) up to date and posted near doorways?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Yes □
No □
N/A □
Do all employees understand their evacuation routes?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Additional inspection requirements may apply according to local regulations.
Yes □
No □
Are all fire doors to storage, telephone equipment, and power rooms in working order, unobstructed and closed?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Open fire doors increase the speed at which fire spreads and allow smoke to circulate more freely, causing an increased risk to both occupants and equipment.
Yes □
No □
Are emergency exits unlocked and accessible?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Additional inspection requirements may apply according to local regulations.
Yes □
No □
Are fire extinguishers installed in appropriate locations? Are extinguishers clearly marked and unobstructed by equipment or materials? Have the extinguishers been inspected within the past 12 months?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
ABC-rated dry chemical extinguishers are appropriate in most areas. They should each have attached inspection tags that indicate they have been inspected within the last 12 months.
Yes □
No □
Are hand-held extinguishers mounted on walls as opposed to being stored on the ground or in file cabinets? Do employees know how to use fire extinguishers?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
OSHA requires portable fire extinguishers to be mounted on a wall. Extinguishers stored on the ground are likely to be moved and not replaced in the same location, causing the extinguisher to not be where expected when needed during an emergency.
Fire Protection
Yes □
No □
Are wall, floor, and ceiling penetrations for cables, wires, pipes and mechanical systems (such as ductwork) sealed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Sealed wall penetrations prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one room to another. Penetrations can be sealed with drywall, fire-retardant pipe seal or firestop pillows.
Yes □
No □
N/A □
Are flammable and combustible liquids stored in approved flammable storage cabinets?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Quantities of flammable and combustible liquids in excess of the following quantities should be stored in approved flammables storage cabinets:
  • 25 gallons of Class IA liquids (flashpoint below73 °F and boiling point below 100 °F)*
  • 120 gallons of Class IB, IC, II or III (flashpoint below 73 °F and boiling point above 100 °F)*
*Refer to the product’s material safety data sheet (MSDS) or safety data sheet (SDS) to determine its flammability/combustibility class.
Yes □
No □
N/A □
Are “No Smoking” signs posted in appropriate areas, and no smoking rules enforced?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Yes □
No □
N/A □
Have the facility’s sprinkler and/or fire alarm systems been inspected in the past 12 months? Is the fire suppression system tagged to verify this inspection?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
Additional inspection requirements may apply according to local regulations.
Yes □
No □
N/A □
Do sprinkler heads have at least 18 inches of vertical clearance from material stored below?
Corrective action: ________________________________________________
Person responsible: ________________________ Due date: _____________
This clearance is required by OSHA and is necessary for proper functioning of the sprinkler system.