Commercial fire codes keep workers and visitors safe

Published on May 28, 2024

person checking fire extinguisher

In 2020, there were 16,500 office and store fires that caused $932 million in direct property damage in the United States.* A fire like this could force a business to be closed for weeks or months while repairs are made, costing people jobs and interrupting services to the community. 

Following fire code can help prevent these emergencies. The Lenexa Fire Department Prevention Division reviews plans and conducts a variety of fire inspections during construction on new commercial buildings. Then they conduct annual inspections of all existing commercial spaces in the city. These inspections help ensure property and business owners follow the adopted fire code.

Fire protection features like sprinklers, alarms, and extinguishers are in place to keep people safe and reduce property damage. However, if they aren’t maintained properly, they may not work right.

How can you make your workplace safer?

  • Replace electrical cords, outlets, and cables that are damaged or worn.
  • Make sure there is a clear path to all exits.
  • Report potential issues to your supervisor so maintenance can evaluate the problem.
  • Know your escape route and practice it.

If you are a property or business owner, what can you do?

  • Ensure fire protection systems like sprinkler systems, fire alarms, emergency/exit lights and extinguishers are maintained properly.
  • Post escape routes.
  • Conduct regular fire drills.

Did you know?

The Lenexa Fire Department offers fire extinguisher training for businesses.

If there is a fire in your workplace:

  • Call 911.
  • Notify your co-workers of the fire and evacuate. 
  • Use the stairs, not the elevator.

If you can’t evacuate: 

  • Close yourself in a room. 
  • Seal the door with a jacket. 
  • Call 911 to tell them where you are trapped.  
  • Wait at the window.

Fire code violations by the numbers

The Lenexa Fire Department staff completed more than 3,800 annual commercial fire inspections in 2023. The top violations found during those inspections were:

548 Fire extinguishers had not been tested in the last year. 

362 Exit signs and emergency lights were not functioning. 

164 Sprinkler systems had not been tested in the last year. 

151 Fire alarm systems had not been tested in the last year. 

103 Open junction boxes and open-wiring splices.

99 Extension cords in poor condition or being used improperly.

After the initial inspection, the inspector follows up with the business or property owner until the violation is resolved.

*National Fire Incident Reporting System