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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
by Joshua H. Silavent
Nov 10, 2011 | 797 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — For more than 10 years the city’s fire department has allowed low-hazard businesses to conduct their own fire safety inspection in order to reduce department workload and save business owners money.

“It has worked well for us,” Fire Marshal Bob King said.

Though the fire department is required to conduct onsite inspections for certain businesses because of permitting stipulations, low-risk businesses can do a self-inspection.

“Not every business needs to be inspected every year” by fire department personnel, King said. But it is critical that every business remain compliant, he added.

Business fires account for 25 percent of all fire deaths and 34 percent of all fire injuries, according to a fire department press release. In addition, the leading three causes of business fires are faulty equipment or wiring, unsafe practices and arson.

Guidelines and a checklist have been sent to those businesses conducting self-inspections. Among the things on the to-do-list is ensuring that all exits are clear and free of obstruction; checking service tags on fire extinguishers to make sure they are up to date; and testing emergency lighting and exit lights.

The self-inspection form asks business owners to update their personal contact information so that they can be reached in the event of an emergency. And this information, along with details of the inspection, is passed along to emergency response personnel and also the city’s dispatch center so that they can be prepared when and if a fire occurs.

The self-inspection forms were sent to local, qualifying businesses in early November and fire officials ask that they be completed and returned within 30 days. Failure to comply will result in an onsite inspection for which a fee will be levied. Costs can vary based on the size of the business and its occupancy rate, but an inspection of a 30,000-square-foot business would likely cost about $60, King said.

King also said businesses could request that the fire department conduct the inspection, if they prefer, and that fire safety and prevention educational classes for employees are available at no cost.

King said the fire safety self-inspection is not commonplace around the country, but that some municipalities, including Reno, are considering it.

For more information, call 353-2266 or visit http://cityofsparks.us/departments/fire-department and click on the “Fire Prevention” tab.
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