The City of Two Rivers Fire Department Fire Code Enforcement program is a vital element in providing services to the local commercial, industrial, and educational community of Two Rivers. It is our goal that a well planned and organized fire inspection program can address the issues of human life, safety and property conservation.
Fire departments in the State of Wisconsin are mandated by State Statute 101.14(2)(b) to provide for the inspection of every public building and place of employment to determine and cause, to eliminate any fire hazard or any violation of the law relating to the prevention of fires.
The statutes also require that the inspections be conducted at least once per calender year and that written reports of inspection be made and kept on file.
Fulfilling these statutory requirements enables the City of Two Rivers to receive a portion of all insurance premiums collected for the city. The money is collected by the Insurance Service Office of Wisconsin and distributed by the State of Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The amount received in 2012 was $21,909.88.
The State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services is the governing body that administrates and enforces the Wisconsin Administrative Code as its Fire Code. In addition, the State of Wisconsin adopted National Fire Protection Association's, NFPA 1 Uniform Fire Code in March 2008 as its fire prevention code for the use, operation, and maintenance of existing buildings. The most current edition, NFPA 1 2009, was adopted in December of 2010. The purpose of the codes are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and employees by establishing minimum standards for the design, construction, structural strength, quality of materials, adequate egress facilities, sanitary facilities, natural lighting, heating and ventilating, energy conservation, and fire safety for all public buildings and places of employment.
The fire chief of the fire department in every city, village or town, except cities of the first class, is a duly authorized deputy of Department of Commerce. The Chief of the fire department serves as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and shall hold the office of Fire Inspector with the power to appoint deputy fire inspectors, who shall perform the same duties and shall have the same powers as the Fire Inspector.
The City of Two Rivers has adopted the most current Wisconsin Administrative Department of Safety and Professional Services Chapters pertaining to fire prevention and its referenced NFPA codes and standards as its Fire Prevention Code. In addition, the city has adopted several local ordinances including; citation authority for failing to comply with, or hindering the duties of a fire inspector, regulations pertaining to bonfires and recreation fires, bulk storage of flammables, prohibited discharges, portable commercial cooking devices, fire suppression systems, private fire service mains, fire alarm and detection systems, and a rapid entry system.
In today's society, the role of a fire inspector/code enforcer is no longer viewed as an isolated function, but is becoming more active and involved every day. For an effective inspection/code enforcement program, knowledge of the physical structures in our community is essential. Through communications and the cooperation of business owners, enforcement of the codes enhances effective community fire safety.
At times, we find it difficult to convince business owners to spend money to update their buildings to code. We explain to them that the benefits are numerous; such as, the reduction of hazards, the improvement of fire safe structures, minimization of the chances of fire death and injuries, the reduction of hazards for fire fighters, property loss and fire insurance costs. It increases community awareness and makes code enforcement easier, thus improving the image of the City.
Fire inspections provide us an opportunity to promote (with owners and employees) good will and understanding about our job and its responsibility toward fire prevention. Inspections also give the fire fighters an occasion to become familiar with the occupancy floor plan.
Officers and fire fighters conduct routine fire inspections. Each of the three shifts is responsible for completing approximately a third of the inspections. The shifts have an assigned lead inspector that operates under the guidance of the Lieutenant in charge of Fire Code Management. These three individuals are responsible for the associated administrative duties such as answering code questions, authoring compliance letters, assigning inspection duties, and maintenance of records.
In 2012, fire department personnel conducted 437 fire safety inspections during 224 hours in the field. In addition, personnel spent 104 hours documenting those inspections and entering the information into the database. In all, 347 hours were spent conducting all types of inspections, including property owner consultations, monitoring fire drills, and Knox box installations. As a result of these inspections, 140 written requests for compliance were issued. It should also be noted that 164 previously written requests for compliance were documented as corrected.