Fire Codes


Make sure you are within code and compliance.


Latest Fire Codes (Continued)


The latest versions of the fire codes from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA for short) greatly affect business owners but particularly small business owner.


Local Fire Marshals, Fire Inspectors, and Fire Protection companies follow the fire codes that come out from the NFPA. Even though some cities may have their own addtional rules, almost all city and state Fire Marhals follow these uniform fire rules.


Rules NFPA 10 are of importance to all business owners. These fire codes addition Rules NFPA 17, 17a, and 96 affect restaurant owners, churches, daycares, schools or any other location where commercial cooking takes place. If you have a stove and a commercial hood these fire codes affect you.


Tanning Bed Nightmare


I just returned from evaluating a tanning salon and you will not believe what I found.

By: Michael Irvin

I was called out to evaluate the needs of a tanning salon. While I would never give out customer information, I think it i important that we learn from the mistakes of others.


The person on the phone told me that she had a couple of discharged Fire Extinguishers that needed service. I went through the normal routine of asking what type of fire extinguishers she had at the location. I asked the size, weight, and use. Like most customers she didn’t know what size or weight the fire extinguishers were. She didn’t know if they if they were 5 pounders, 10 pounders or 20 pounders. 

Considering that she didn’t have a kitchen, I assumed she didn’t have a K-Class fire extinguisher. And I knew from my nearly 20 years of experience that water type fire extinguishers are hardly used and cannot be used where there is a potential of a grease or electrical fire. My intuition was that with tanning beds there is a high probability that if a fire occurs it would be an electrical fire. Electricity and water, like hot grease and water just do not mix.


I arrived at the time agreed upon. I entered the location and was greeted by two young ladies working at the tanning bed attendant’s counter. I asked about the fire extinguishers and one to the ladies told me she knew about the situation and would show me where they were.

In fact, she didn’t need to. From the front of the store I could see two small fire extinguishers sitting on the floor in the back of the shop.


I examined the fire extinguishers. Of course, I was concerned that they were sitting on the floor. I noticed that both were discharged and empty. And they were in my opinion small considering the relative danger. The young lady told me that the fire extinguishers had been discharged and empty for about one year. Besides that they were not rechargeable.

I knew that many cheap fire extinguishers are not rechargeable. Business owners sometimes buy them when they start out in a business thinking they will save money. It is what I call a rookie mistake. They have to buy them from a large chain store. No legitimate fire protection company that I know of sells these non-rechargeable types of fire extinguishers because in the long run, (sometimes the short run) they cost the business owner more money than a quality commercial type fire extinguisher.

I thought about the fact that for an entire year customers have gone to the tanning salon to tan without thinking that their lives could be in danger.  Just imagine if a fire had occurred in the past year. A young lady would have instinctively ran to look for the fire extinguisher. She would have found the fire extinguisher on the floor.  It is unlikely that she would have known it was discharged and empty. She would have put her life in danger and no matter how small the fire, she would have been at a unfair disadvantage. As a father of four daughters I can’t imagine my daughter in that situation.

I remember as a kid singing “It only takes a spark to get a fire growing”. Even though the song is talking about faith in God, it is literally true as well.  A small fire will not put itself out. A small fire grows to be a large fire in seconds. Within minutes a small fire can burn a large building to the ground. As we all know, even small fires are dangerous and must be taken seriously.

Fortunately, at the tanning salon nobody got injured. There has not been a large fire. But, tanning beds use a lot of electricity. In all locations that use electricity there is a danger of a fire occurring. And unfortunately most of the staff in business are not even trained on how to deal with a fire if it occurs.

If a Fire Marshal had seen this situation, he or she might have closed the business or fined the business owner. But, like most government officials, Fire marshals are very busy. They have very little time to inspect all the businesses annually.  So, there is a trust factor involved. You and me and fire marshals have to trust that a business of any type will follow fire regulations.

We have to believe that the business owner will be responsible. We believe that they will have our best interest at heart. We also believe that we can trust them with the safety of our kids when they go to work for them.  Many of our kids are in high school and don’t have much experience in the world. We can’t hold their hand forever. But, we would never allow them to work in unsafe conditions.

Most business owners are honest hard working people. They manage and pay employees. Some have to struggle to pay bills. They are good people.
Unfortunately, most business owners do not have a safety plan or safety check list in place. They do not take the time to train employees on how to properly use a fire extinguisher or how to put out a fire before it causes major damage.

Even those business owners who do have a safety plan in place often neglect the basics such as a monthly basic inspection of fire extinguishers. See Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist.

And even if they check the fire extinguishers monthly, many business owners fail to have their emergency and exit lights inspected annually by a fire protection company. Just imagine being in a building on fire such as a movie theater and not being able to see how to find the exit.  

It is common to go into a business and see exit lights burned out. But, it is almost impossible to know if an emergency light is going to function in case of an emergency just by glancing at it.

Of course the safety of employees and customers is the most important concern.  But, in addition to this, in case of a fire, some insurance companies may not pay for damages if the location was not properly protected.

Imagine telling an insurance agent that you tried to put out the fire but, the fire extinguisher was empty. Even worse think about telling the insurance agent or officials that you knew it was empty but did not call to have the fire extinguisher recharged or repaired.  You can just imagine the consequences.

At FESCO Online Fire Extinguisher Training Certification In Class Fire Protection Training Certification Online Restaurant Protection Training Certification | Fire Consultants "Fair Online NFPA 10 Certification and Training, NFPA 17a Training Certification, NFPA 17 Training Certification" Company, LLC, New York, NY, Newark, NJ, Los Angeles, , we feel that it is important to educate not only business owners but also clients and customers on the basics of fire protection.  We know that through education lives will be saved.  Please contact us if we can be of assistance.










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