Why Do We Need Fire Codes?
Buildings, both commercial and residential, are subject to fire codes. It is very important that you are familiar with the fire codes in your state and municipality. The codes are not just a checklist of items to pass inspections; they play a vital part in providing safety for everyone who occupies the buildings. We will focus on commercial buildings for the purposes of this article.
All states, towns, and cities do not have the exact same fire codes. The International Code Council (ICC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) update and revise codes to ensure that the regulations keep up with ever-changing fire prevention and protection technology. These updates are performed on a continual basis.
The codes set forth by the ICC or NFPA serve as a baseline for states. The individual states use these as a foundation to create their own laws that encompass their needs, or they adopt them with no revisions at the state level. For example, in Connecticut, the State Building Inspector, State Fire Marshal, and the Codes and Standards Committee announced their intent to adopt the 2022 State Building and Fire Safety Codes based on the 2021 editions of the ICC and NFPA documents. Meanwhile, New York State has adopted the 2018 edition of ICC, and New York City has enacted its own fire codes.
Fire codes can be lengthy, partly due to the buildings they cover. Another factor in their length is the ever-changing fire prevention and protection technology. The most common and universal codes for commercial buildings are fire protection and egress. These include fire extinguisher placement, whether the building requires a sprinkler system, anything related to a fire alarm system, and the number of exits needed from the building.
Staying compliant with the codes is important. NFPA provides a fact sheet on where to place fire extinguishers and what types should be used. Walden can provide training on extinguisher use and conduct monthly inspections, as well as coordinate their annual test. In addition, Walden can assist with the coordination of fire system tests and evacuation drills.
The code for egress includes a test of the lights and signs placed at each exit. The life safety code calls for this to be done monthly and an annual 90-minute burn to ensure the proper function of the emergency lighting.
Walden can provide more information on this topic. If you have any questions about complying with fire safety codes in your jurisdiction, please contact us at 516-758-1273.