The Ghost Ship fire that occurred in a warehouse in Oakland last December was a horrible tragedy. Because so many violations of the fire code existed in that building, fire districts throughout the country have become extremely vigilant about conducting fire safety inspections at multifamily and commercial properties.
As a property manager, I welcome such inspections and so do most of the property owners that I work for. For the safety of our tenants, neighbors, the property and the community, it is important to adhere to fire safety requirements. Fire safety requirements can vary from property to property depending on the type and use of the property. A fire safety inspection conducted by the local fire district, usually the fire department within your county, is a great way to find out exactly what requirements apply to your property. I have been personally involved with several fire safety inspections on properties that we manage and in all cases, have been impressed with the way these matters are handled by the fire district.
If you are the owner of a multi-family or commercial property and you receive a letter from the fire district requesting a fire safety inspection, don’t panic. The letter you receive might look scary because it lists a slew of safety requirements. But many of these may not apply to your particular property. Just follow the instructions on the letter you received and provide the fire district with the information they request, and establish an inspection date and time. You should personally attend the inspection and/or have your property manager attend. If the fire district notes any deficiencies, they will inform you right away and provide you some time to rectify those items. Depending on the severity of the deficiencies, they will either ask you to send proof that the deficiencies were corrected or will schedule a re-inspection to check themselves.
If you are not sure how to remedy some of the deficiencies, don’t worry. There are many companies out there that specialize in helping property owners satisfy fire safety requirements. Just do some searching on the internet and you will find plenty of help.
A fire safety inspection might sound like a scary thing to some property owners, but it’s really not. It is a pretty straight forward thing and there is plenty of help available to property owners.