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Fire Safety Surveys

Introduction 

Lubbock Fire Rescue is dedicated to reducing fire losses in businesses through the Fire Safety Survey Program. This web page is being provided to help explain what the uniformed fire suppression personnel look for when they perform the Fire Safety Survey. You may call our office at 806-775-2646 or email us at fireprevention@mylubbock.us to request more information. 

Purpose 

The purpose of this program is to assist business owners in identifying and achieving correction of commonly occurring fire and life safety hazards. A second purpose of this program is to allow firefighters to familiarize themselves with specific situations unique to commercial occupancies. The most important purpose of this program is to protect the citizens of Lubbock and their property from the threat of fire. 

Statistics 

In 2009, there were 103,500 fires in non-residential structures in the United States; the monetary loss attributed to these fires was 3.1 billion dollars (FEMA). In fiscal year 2009, there were 104 fires in non-residential structures in Lubbock with an estimated dollar loss of $2,002,284. 

Fire Safety Survey

  • Ceiling Tile Missing

    In most cases, the ceiling tile is the only fire resistant material between the room and the attic or roof supporting members. Heat from a fire entering the space above the suspended ceiling can quickly weaken roof supports and lead to premature collapse of the roof. The ceiling tiles also serve in a limited capacity as a smoke barrier. With tiles missing, smoke can spread more rapidly to other areas of the building.
  • Damaged or Exposed Wiring

    Damaged electrical wiring can short out and cause a fire or possible electrocution with human contact.
  • Electric Cover Plates, Damaged or Missing

    Because most electrical failures occur at connection points, sparks and arcs can be contained if the cover plates are in place. Also, the cover plates are there to prevent someone from unintentionally contacting the charged electrical connections. 
  • Extension Cords Not Proper Type or Size for Use

    Extension cords that are undersized for the intended use can heat up and melt the wire insulation causing a fire. The most common problem encountered is businesses using extension cords as a permanent power supply for appliances or equipment. Extension cords are intended to be used only temporarily. A licensed electrical contractor should be contacted to add additional electrical outlets if a permanent source of power is needed.
  • Combustibles/Debris Accumulation Outdoors

    Combustibles stored outside the building must be stored at lease half the height of the pile away from the building. Trash accumulation inside and outside of the building is a fire hazard and should be discouraged. Trash should be properly discarded in a trash can or dumpster on a regular basis.
  • Unvented Gas Appliances/Gas Lines

    Unvented open flame heaters or unvented gas water heaters are prohibited inside of businesses. These types of appliances produce deadly Carbon Monoxide gas. Unsafe gas lines inside of structures are: rubber hose, copper or aluminum tubing, PVC pipe, ward flex, or galvanized pipe.
  • Exits Blocked or Access Obstructed

    If obstructions around the exit encroach on the door frame, materials are stacked too close to the exit or pathway. Exits are placed in a building based on the number of occupants allowed. Exits must remain clear for the occupants to be able to exit safely and promptly.
  • Doors Swing Improperly

    Doors are required to swing outward if there are over 50 people in the establishment that may use the exit. 
  • Exits Locked During Business Hours

    If a door is marked as an exit, it must remain unlocked during business hours unless it is equipped with panic hardware. Panic Hardware must be in operational condition. Patrons will try to use the panic hardware when evacuation is required.
  • Lights Burned Out in Exit Signs

    Exit signs required by the Building Code must be illuminated either by an internal or external emergency power supply.
  • Flammable Liquids and Gases

    Weeds and Trash must be kept clear of fixed LPG storage tanks. Other Portable LPG Tanks must be kept outdoors and at least 10 feet from any building opening. LPG tanks that are attached to equipment on which they operate may be stored indoors. Any Compressed Gas Cylinder must be securely fastened to a wall or cart, with a chain or strap to protect the valve assembly from damage. Flammable Liquids stored indoors must be in a DOT or UL approved container and stored in an approved location.
  • Fire Extinguishers

    City Code requires that all commercial establishments must have a fire extinguisher. Depending on the size of the building and type of processes being done, more than one extinguisher may be required. 
  • Incorrect Size or type for Fire Potential

    Fire extinguishers are rated for the type of fuel that is on fire. Most offices need at a minimum one 2A extinguisher for ordinary combustibles. A 2A-10BC fire extinguisher will be sufficient for most applications. Maximum travel distance to the extinguisher must not exceed 75 feet.
  • Instruction Not Located on Front

    In the event that the person using the extinguisher has never been trained to use it, he/she must be able to read the instructions on the front of the extinguisher
  • Incorrectly Tagged or Out of Date


    Extinguishers must be inspected and tagged annually by a registered fire extinguisher service. This insures that the fire extinguisher is in operating condition. If the extinguisher is of the disposable type and cannot be inspected, it must be replaced annually. Because there is no way to test some disposable extinguishers, the user will never know if the extinguisher is going to work when it is needed.
  • Incorrectly Placed Above the Floor


    Extinguishers need to be in plain sight with the bottom no less than 4 inches and the top no more than 5 feet from the floor. If the extinguisher is not visible, its location must be clearly marked.
  • Fire Alarm System

    Fire alarm systems have various forms of indicating their operability. Some will show a green light and others have LCD screens that show the systems status. Fire alarm systems must be inspected and tagged annually. This insures that the fire alarm system is in operating condition. Supervisory or trouble alarm signals displaying on the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) must be addressed promptly. This will insure that the system will operate in the event of an emergency.
  • Automatic Fire Sprinkler System


    Water must be available for the standpipes and sprinklers to work. The Outside Screw & Yoke (OS&Y) valve must be open for water to flow to the sprinkler heads. Spare Sprinkler Heads are needed to replace damaged or activated heads. Having spare heads that are compatible with the system and a wrench on hand allows the system to be placed back into operation much more quickly.

    All Standpipe Caps need to be in place to insure that water being pumped into the standpipe reaches the desired destination.

    Gauges on Wet or Dry Systems must show pressure. If no pressure is indicated, a problem may exist with the system.

    Caps on the Fire Department Connection must be in place to keep small animals and debris out of the sprinkler/standpipe system.

    In order for water from the sprinkler head to adequately cover the fire area, there must be at least 18 inches of clearance between the sprinkler head and materials stored under it.
  • Alternative Automatic Fire Extinguishing Systems

    Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided within a 30-foot travel distance of commercial-type cooking equipment.
    Cooking equipment involving vegetable or animal oils and fats shall be protected by a Class K rated portable extinguisher. Automatic fire extinguishing systems used with commercial cooking equipment must have protective caps covering the discharge nozzles to prevent grease from building up and clogging them. Cooking equipment including vent hoods must be cleaned periodically. Excessive grease builds up and acts as a layer of fuel on the cooking equipment. These systems must be inspected and tagged periodically. This insures that the system is in operating condition.