Life safety and security systems are governed by a lot of codes, standards, and regulations for compliance – rightly so, given that these systems are designed to protect facilities and its occupants from threats may result in incidents, attacks, theft, injury, and even loss of life.
Staying on top of security compliance isn’t always easy. Regulations and standards change often, as do the threats and vulnerabilities. Organizations often have to respond quickly to remain in compliance. Fire life safety is especially rigorous with its codes, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) devoted to enforcing over 3,000 codes and standards that are intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.
Poor security compliance also leads to increased business risks – including legal consequences and penalty fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the offence.
Here are some best practices for staying on top of security compliance for your organization.
1. Build a life safety and security compliance plan.
Compliance doesn’t happen on its own. The best way to stay compliant for the long-term is to create a plan that gets your security, IT, and compliance teams on the same page. A plan should include your stakeholders, the list of standards you’re expected to comply with, and a thorough risk assessment.
By putting ongoing monitoring and risk assessment policies in place, organizations can ensure they are compliant with regulations that apply to their specific needs.
It is important that the compliance team understands what is required in order to determine compliance with the standards. The plan must also have provisions depending on the type of build – if it’s a new construction, a renovation, or something else, as the standards can be different for each one.
2. Know your Authority Having Jurisdiction.
Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) are defined as “an organization, office or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation or a procedure.”
These are government entities with the force of law behind them – they have the ability to penalize or even shut down facilities that do not comply with the necessary standards.
The appropriate AHJ varies with the situation, with different AHJs for each of the following:
- building structural
- building accessibility
- public health and welfare
- emergency situations
Knowing the AHJ for your area is important to help you know what to expect and prepare for inspections. Having a positive relationship with your AHJ is beneficial for you. AHJ are a great resource to have -- they are the best people to ask about the code enforced in their jurisdiction, like what edition is enforced or if any local amendments are in effect.
Know that at the end of the day, you and AHJ have the same goals – to protect your facilities and their occupants.
3. Work with trusted security professionals.
It is important to partner with trusted security experts to ensure the success of your safety and security projects. Code compliance requires specially trained professionals with deep technical knowledge of all safety code regulations. Even if your organization has internal staff with extensive knowledge of codes and your existing security systems, working with a third-party organization provides a second set of eyes for added protection.
Licensed security professionals can help with the full scope of each safety and security system, including designing, reviewing, and installing compliant security systems, physically inspecting properties, and performing walk-throughs, as well as maintaining your systems to keep them in optimal condition.
Absco Solutions is an experienced fire and life safety services provider. We help businesses maintain complete code compliance to all local, state, and national building and fire safety code regulations. Our licensed professionals can inspect your facilities, recommend courses of action, resolve any violations, and perform regular inspections to ensure that everything is up to code.
If you need assistance with this or would like to discuss possibilities or problems, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation with a member of our executive team. You can also contact us at email@example.com or 1-800-705-1857 for any feedback, questions, or service needs.