The importance of properly maintained life safety equipment is immeasurable. Studies show that life safety equipment is often found not in compliance with strict fire and safety codes. The consequences to improper maintenance can range from property damage and costly insurances claims, to live lost due to inability to safely exit a building in times of trouble. Trusting in-house maintenance staff to responsibly maintain your life safety equipment can truly be a matter of life or death. Here are three reasons why life safety equipment shouldn’t be left in a custodian’s hands.
1. Different equipment means different voltages, batteries, lamps, chargers, etc.
The amount of life safety equipment in buildings such as schools, city halls, corrections facilities, or corporate offices is extensive. Many emergency lighting systems feature many different types of bulbs all with different wattages, and batteries can range in size and voltage. Your building could have several different brands throughout that all have different requirements for peak usage. In most cases a member of the custodial staff is not trained to manage the variety of life safety equipment needs that one building has.
2. Time vs. Ability
Even if your in-house maintenance team member is able to figure out everything that is needed to keep your building to OSHA standards, how much time are they spending to do that? Is their time (and salary) being spent wisely? Correctly inspecting and repairing life safety equipment takes time, and precision. Lack of training mixed with the inconsistency of a maintenance worker’s day means that the likelihood of their inspections and repairs being accurate is slim. We’ve visited buildings using in-house staff and found that emergency lighting units suffer from a minimum 20% failure rate. Sometimes it’s even higher.
3. Codes & Compliance
The National Electrical Code, the NFPA Life Safety Code, and OSHA require that every emergency lighting unit be checked for 30 seconds monthly, and 90 minutes annually. They also require record keeping logs that are subject to review by inspectors. If you were asked to provide a detailed log of your life safety maintenance would you be able to? No matter how well your in-house maintenance team is, there are always other responsibilities that need to be tended to, and ones that are much more noticeable by every day building occupants. This leads to skipped inspections, inaccurate logs, and avoidable consequences.
There is no denying the benefit of having an employee be responsible for maintaining the property. They’re on the payroll, and they know the building. However, when it comes to life safety equipment there is a very fine line between who is capable and who is professional. The lives that pass through your building deserve to be surrounded by up to date life safety equipment that will make sure they have a way to safety in case of an emergency. Don’t leave such important equipment to in-house staff that will waste time and money that could be used to guarantee your buildings safety.