NFPA 25 Inspection Checklist
The National Fire Protection Association was established in 1896. According to the association's website, its mission is "to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education." One of the main things NFPA recommends is a Fire Safety Inspection at the time of purchasing or moving into a new property. Repeat the inspection periodically to confirm that fire-safety plans and procedues are still up to regulation.
Different types of buildings will have different challenges in terms of exit strategies if a fire were to break out. The first portion of NFPA's checklist is dedicated to a description of the building and the building site and occupancy. For example a basement apartment or assembly room will have fewer exit points than an above- ground apartment with more windows. NFPA may see it as more of a safety risk than other types of dwellings. The NFPA wants to know, for example: "Is the occupant load posted?" "Are the exits per code?" "Is egress capacity adequate?"
Doors easy to access and easy to open would be essential in case of a fire. Doors are the next item on the NFPA checklist. The questions range from easy solutions such as are the door locked or obstructed in any way which could become issues in a panic, to more technical issues. Again from the checklist: "Is 15-lb force required to release latch?" and "Do doors swing in direction of travel per code?"
The checklist, geared mainly for places of group assembly, also requires inspecting emergency lighting and exit signs. Having exits clearly identifiable in case of an emergency could be the difference between safety and tragedy. Also, the NFPA wants an inspector to determine how long it takes an evacuating person to leave a building. If they have to travel down a hallway that is too long or too narrow, that could be dangerous. NFPA also has guidelines for how quickly a person must be able to exit.
Exits and exit strategies are only useful if people realilze they need to leave a building. People can do many things to ensure that they know when a fire starts and when they must leave a building. In another of their outreach efforts, the NFPA has created a Fire Safety Checklist for children to take home to check the fire alarms and smoke detectors. The association also asks if electrical cords are "in good condition (not damaged)." And whether anyone inspected the furnace in the past year.