Covid-19 has hit our customers in a variety of ways. Policies are changing, sometimes daily. Shut down orders have made inspecting difficult for some, impossible for others. Regardless, it’s safe to say, our inspection world has changed.
The world of virtual meetings has opened up and invited everyone in. You may be experiencing this now or planning on offering it in the future. There are multiple ways your organization can accomplish this type of inspection. For example, virtual meetings and conference calls.
- Via Zoom or other video conferencing platform. Many virtual meeting platforms offer free video chat sessions to their users. You can connect with someone at the property to be inspected and guide them around. They can navigate through your checklists of items or you can ask them to walk the area with the camera facing outward. BEWARE, we hear this can be nauseating and the ride can be bumpy. Despite this, virtual meetings are gaining popularity.
- A conference call with photos. Ask the person at the property to be inspected to take photos of areas/items and send them to you. You can still guide them through the inspection and direct them to the items you need to see.
Self-inspections are gaining momentum as inspectors struggle to complete the amount of work in the desired amount of time with the staff provided. Some businesses, mostly those with high safety ratings, are given blank inspection forms to complete and electronic avenues in which to submit them with photo evidence. This is a great way to get caught up in the aftermath of a pandemic.
These are just two options we’ve seen being used during this pandemic.
Where do we go from here
With many agencies locking down, some for months, inspections were delayed. Now we need to play catch up. Some are planning on using the techniques listed above and some are planning on incorporating Company Inspections. Company Inspections allow the use of local fire departments to lend a hand during their downtime to help conduct fire and life safety inspections. Add to this influx, many agencies will be returning to a new way of doing business, with new rules you’ll need to account for. Undoubtedly, many agencies will struggle with getting caught up and moving forward. This task is not hopeless.
Set a plan of action, know what has changed, and be prepared. Change your policies (temporarily if need be) to allow the use of new technology to aid in completing your inspections. Reach out to us, ask for advice. Perhaps we’ve heard of something another group is trying and succeeding with. Check and see if we have added any checklists or picklists to assist with the new Covid-19 policies. (See NFPA for their list of resources).