PDA

View Full Version : Fire inspection for new laser biz - any tips?



Shane Silcox
01-19-2007, 3:32 AM
So my laser is on the way. I applied for my home occupation business license, and after a short talk with the gal at the city (You are doing what with a laser?? :) ) she is going to request a fire inspection before they approve my license. I have owned other businesses from my home, but never needed a fire inspection for them.

So - Just wondering if there were any tips or suggestions that any of you had for me before they come. I think I have my bases covered, fire extinguisher, smoke alarms, no extension cords, etc. The laser is going to be in a spare room, exausted out a window via a Harbor freight blower.

I just want to make sure I have my bases covered.

Thanks!

Rodne Gold
01-19-2007, 3:44 AM
The fire risk with a laser is far less than with a 1 bar heater , the only problem you might have is cutting flammable material like perspex and not being there when its cut.
I have no idea what your local ordinances will require , but would imagine a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher would be fine.
I woulda just told em its an engraver , the word "laser" conjours up images of huge cutting beams in most lay ppls minds.
Heres some advice , if you do get an extinguisher , try not to get a dry powder one
If you by chance have to use it , you can have a huge clean up problem inside the laser.

Nils Titley
01-19-2007, 5:59 AM
I would contact your manufacturer of the tool. They will most likely provide you with the necessary information that would be helpful to present to the inspector. If the inspector is any good, he will know about lazers and will understand what low risks it presents.

Mitchell Andrus
01-19-2007, 9:33 AM
He'll be looking for 100% metal exhaust ducting (just like we all have on our clothes dryers), clearance from flamables outside, and likely 5 foot setback from the exhaust to any windows and doors to keep fumes and embers from getting sucked into the house.

He won't know that embers are a nil, but he'll need to fill in the blanks on his report.

Joe Pelonio
01-19-2007, 9:39 AM
I've undergone fire inspections annualy when in a business park. They look for things like extension cords (use only power blocks), good sized and up-to-date fire extinguisher. Then if they see any flammables such as oil based paint, denatured alcohol, etc. they will make you get a flammables storage cabinet. They never gave the laser more than a glance, probably didn't even know what it was until they came responding to an odor.

Actually they have been there twice on the smell. The first time it was actually the woodworking shop having sprayed laquer (illegally) that caused the odor. As a test they had one firefighter stand and watch me run the laser while the other was up in the animal hospital that complained, standing next to the open window sniffing.

The second time it was me. On a 90F summer day the business directly above me had a fan in their window blowing IN, about 8' above my exhaust.
I was cutting 1/4" acrylic all day. The fire department said I was doing nothing wrong and advised the neighbor to turn around the fan so it blows out, and open a window on the far end to bring in the fresh air.

When I recently applied for the home occupation license I listed what I do here, but my reference to the engraving did not include the word "laser",
and no inspection was required.

One suggestion, whether it's required or not, is to add an additional smoke alarm in the room where the laser is, and if asked be sure to tell them that it is never operated without someone in the room.

Shane Silcox
01-19-2007, 11:39 AM
Excellent info. After a bit of tweaking I am going to feel much more prepared for it now. Thanks a ton guys!

Shane Silcox
01-19-2007, 11:41 AM
Joe -

I think I have pretty easy going neighbors (and none are very close). But I'll definately have to watch the smell, as I know a visit from the fire department has got to be any laser engraver's nightmare.

Maybe I'll hold off on the rubber stamps and leather for a while... :)

Bill Cunningham
01-19-2007, 12:22 PM
My next door neighbor is a fireman, and is also in the sign business from his home, and gives me all the scrap acrylic I can use.. No complaints here!!:D

Joe Pelonio
01-19-2007, 12:52 PM
My next door neighbor is a fireman, and is also in the sign business from his home, and gives me all the scrap acrylic I can use.. No complaints here!!:D
My son is a volunteer EMT at the local station so for me now it would be rather embarassing. The way I'm set up I only expect to worry during the summer when people open windows, if the wind is just right and it drifts.

Rob Bosworth
01-19-2007, 1:20 PM
Might not be a bad time to stop by the local firehouse and offer to make them some name tags. Not a bad way to get your foot in the door, and usually a great way to build good will. (Also, firemen and firegals have to have lots of labels and tags to identify equipment.)

Shane Silcox
01-19-2007, 1:41 PM
Might not be a bad time to stop by the local firehouse and offer to make them some name tags. Not a bad way to get your foot in the door, and usually a great way to build good will. (Also, firemen and firegals have to have lots of labels and tags to identify equipment.)

Ha! That is a great idea. Plus, I love the idea of giving back something to the people that risk their lives for us. Thanks for the great suggestion.

Joe Pelonio
01-19-2007, 6:21 PM
Ha! That is a great idea. Plus, I love the idea of giving back something to the people that risk their lives for us. Thanks for the great suggestion.
I've made a few for them already thanks to Josh telling them about me, but also made him 8 name badges after he lost the first and second ones.

One of the guys that came in on the smell complaint ordered a photo tile from me.

Dave Jones
01-19-2007, 6:45 PM
I had the fire department called on me once. The laser was off at the time. There was an old restaurant vent fan in the back of my space (used to be an Elks Club kitchen a couple decades ago) and I was cleaning off the blades of the fan and trying to free up the vanes of the louvers. I had the fan running and had sprayed WD-40 on the hinges of the louvers. Well the business on the ground floor decided the whole back of the building smelled like a gas leak and called the fire department.

As for the inspection, the guy that inspects around here is mostly worried about flamable materials being exposed. Such as lots of wood or plastic near the laser.