Community Education


Fire Inspections

The Germantown Community Risk Reduction department is dedicated to the protection and conservation of life and property.

The Fire Department is required by Wisconsin Statute Section 101.14 (2) to conduct semi-annual fire inspections. Directed by the Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter SPS 314, these fire safety inspections are conducted on all public buildings and places of employment.

The State has adopted the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1) 2015 model fire code. These codes are modified as specified in SPS 314.

Fire inspections are conducted by fire department personnel appointed by the Fire Chief. Occupancies are inspected at least once in a non-overlapping 6 month period per calendar year.

The department has the authority to conduct inspections at all reasonable times with the exception of those instances where an emergency exists.

Through these inspections the Fire Department educates local businesses about the importance of fire safety. We help focus on basic maintenance that may otherwise be overlooked.

Below we will walk you through a basic fire inspection to help you understand how it is conducted and what we may be looking for. 

Initial overview of the building – Does it have an address, how is its access, is the building protected by a fire sprinkler system designated by a sprinkler bell and fire department connection (FDC). These are all things the fire inspector is looking for.

After making contact with a building representative the inspector may or may not be escorted through the establishment, depending on company policy.

The Fire Inspector will make his or her way through the business looking at the following building components: 
Chapter 14 Means of Egress
14.4 Means of Egress Reliability
14.4.1 General. Means of egress shall be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency. Exits Exits other than main exterior exit doors that obviously and clearly are identifiable as exits, shall be marked by an approved sign that is readily visible from any direction of exit access.

14.14.5 Illumination of Signs General. Every sign required by,, or, other than where operations or processes require low lighting levels, shall be suitably illuminated by a reliable light source. Externally and internally illuminated signs shall be legible in both the normal and emergency lighting mode.

Chapter 13 Fire Protection Systems
13.3.3 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance A sprinkler system installed in accordance with this code shall be properly maintained to provide at least the same level of performance and protection as designed. The owner shall be responsible for maintaining the system and keeping it in good working condition. A sprinkler system installed in accordance with this code shall be inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25. Ceiling Tiles and Ceiling Assemblies. Where automatic sprinklers are installed, ceilings necessary for the proper actuation of the fire protection device in accordance with NFPA 13 shall be maintained.

13.7.3 Fire Alarm Systems A complete record of the tests and operations of each system shall be kept until the next test and for 1 year thereafter. (72: Testing Frequency. Unless otherwise permitted by other sections of the code and NFPA 72, testing shall be performed in accordance with the schedules in Table, or more often if required by the AHJ. (72:14.4.5)

13.6 Portable Fire Extinguishers
13.6.1 General Requirements. The selection, installation, distribution, inspection, maintenance, and testing of portable fire extinguishers shall be in accordance with NFPA 10 and Section 13.6. Fire extinguishers shall be subjected to maintenance at intervals of not more than 1 year the time of hydrostatic test, or when specifically indicated by an inspection or electronic notification.

Chapter 12 Features of Fire Protection
12.3.3 Maintenance of Fire Resistive Construction. Required fire-resistive construction, including fire barriers, fire walls, exterior walls due to location on property, fire-resistive requirements based on type of construction, draft-stop partitions, and roof coverings, shall be maintained and shall be properly repaired, restored or replaced where damaged, altered, breached, penetrated, removed, or improperly installed. Inspections. Fire door assemblies shall be inspected and tested not less than annually, and a written record of the inspection shall be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ. (80:5.2.1)

The codes referenced above are not all inclusive to every fire inspection but a guide to help business owners understand some of the basics of what a code enforcer might be looking for.

In conclusion, the Community Risk Reduction Department will meet with a building representative. During this meeting the inspector will use the time to educate and if needed enforce the fire maintenance code. If the inspector finds the need to site a particular violation, a written notice is given to the property owner along with a reasonable time period for the corrections to be made.

The Fire Department prefers to educate businesses and the public. We are sworn to serve and assist the community we work and live. Our goal through the Community Risk Reduction Department is not to find as many violations as we can, but to help correct what may be unsafe for your business and the people that work for you.