Legal Compliance and Risks

All condo associations in Illinois are required to provide and maintain various types of fire safety equipment throughout the common areas of the property. The same holds true for almost all commercial spaces. To intensify the enforcement of these regulations, the City of Chicago has increased the staffing and funding of inspection resources. In short, they are cracking down on enforcement. This increased threat, coupled with the liability risks related to fires, have made this a serious issue for Associations and building owners.

To protect themselves from the exposure to lawsuits and penalties, Board Members must ensure that their building is in compliance with fire safety laws. Specifically, Associations must have the legally required number of fire extinguishers, emergency lights and exit signs in the building. This equipment must be maintained and certified, as required by law, by a licensed fire safety technician.

The Risks of Ignoring the Law

The risks facing a Board or commercial property owner for failing to install and maintain the legally required safety equipment are serious. Ignoring the law will expose the Board and Association to the following risks:

 Lawsuits (Negligence)
Should a fire occur at a property where a person(s) is injured or killed, lawsuits will certainly follow. If the legally required fire safety equipment was not installed at the property, or if the equipment was not properly serviced and certified, the Board is the party likely to be held responsible. Many Board members are surprised to discover that they can be held personally liable for damages in cases of negligence.
 Denial of Liability Protection
In the case of a disaster, such as a fire, your insurance carrier provides the Board with liability coverage. If the Board were to be sued, the insurance company would pay for a defense along with paying any resulting settlements or jury awards (up to the policy coverage limits). The insurance company may refuse to provide this protection, however, if they can show that the Board was negligent in the maintenance of the property's fire equipment. This could leave the Board and Association without insurance coverage, left to pay for all costs and settlements directly.
 Denial of Building Repairs
If a fire occurs at your building, your insurance carrier is responsible for paying to repair the damages. Similar to liability protection, this insurance coverage may be denied if the Board fails to follow the law. If the insurance company can show that the damage to the building would have been mitigated if the proper fire extinguishers were available, for example, they may be able to partially or wholly deny coverage.

Making Compliance Easy and Inexpensive

The goal of our service is to provide a path to compliance that is both easy and inexpensive. Our licensed technicians can perform the servicing and certification work required on all of the basic fire safety equipment that a condo building or commercial property may need, including:

New portable fire extinguishers - sales and installation
Re-certified portable fire extinguishers - sales and installation
Complete fire extinguisher service and maintenance
Emergency lighting - installation, maintenance and annual testing
Exit signs/lighting - installation, maintenance and annual testing
Smoke & Carbon monoxide detector - sales, installation and annual maintenance
Interior / Exterior light bulbs - replacement of all bulbs on an annual basis.

Our maintenance center has the specialized equipment required to perform annual, 6-year and hydrostatic testing for dry chemical fire extinguishers. We also maintain a full selection of new and re-certified extinguishers, along with a wide variety of other safety equipment.

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Far Too Risky!

Outside of failing to maintain insurance coverage, there are few legal requirements facing a Board of Directors that carry such severe consequences for non-compliance as fire safety.

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