Whether you rent your buildings for other businesses to use or operate your own company within a structure that you own, knowing how to properly maintain real estate is vital if you intend on keeping your clients or employees safe and avoiding a lawsuit or insurance claim.

If you have renters, be sure the fire marshal makes routine visits to inspect the details you may not be familiar with when it comes to fire safety and local building codes.

How accessible is the building for the fire department?

If the fire department had to visit your building, they must be able to easily locate it and enter. Be sure:

  • Fire lanes are clear in the parking lot or in front of the building
  • The address is easy to see from the street
  • Fire hydrants, if applicable, are visible and accessible
  • You have a key storage area that firefighters can access if needed during off-hours

Are indoor fire safety features functional?

The fire marshal will check several details inside the building to ensure people can easily find their way out. This includes having hallways and stairs clear, fire doors easily operated by one person and the correct type of fire extinguishers in the correct spot for maximum utility. If your building requires sprinklers, these must meet their own requirements, as well.

Is your electrical equipment updated and safe?

Keep all large equipment in safe working order per the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep all outlets, boxes and breaker panels covered with the correct covers or plugs to avoid random sparks starting a fire or individuals touching live wires. Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring, and do not staple power cords to walls or furniture.

Having everything in and around your buildings consistently up to code and approved by the fire marshal helps to prevent a serious emergency. It also helps you defend yourself in case one of your renters or employees tries to make an alleged fire safety code claim.