The Fire Consultant and the Fire Code

The Fire Consultant and the Fire Code

I’ve often wondered what percentage of the U.S. population fully knows what a fire code is and fully understands its purpose. Being a fire consultant who uses the fire code extensively, it amazes me that although we as Americans are fortunate to have fire and building codes specifically developed and written to prevent injury and the loss of life, fires still occur on a daily basis throughout our country.

According to the 2007 fire statistics published by the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,557,500 fires. These fires resulted in 3,430 civilian fire fatalities, 17,675 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $14,639,000,000 in direct property loss. A civilian fire death occurred every 153 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 30 minutes. Home fires contributed 2,865, or 84%, of the civilian fire deaths.

After conducting hundreds, if not thousands of fire inspections throughout my career as Deputy Fire Marshal, I have a deeper understanding as to the importance of fire prevention and the role of the fire prevention arm of the fire service. Now retired and serving as a fire consultant, I look back over my years of service and although received by some as an “inconvenience” by requiring someone to simply remove a damaged electrical extension cord, patch a hole in a fire wall, service a fire sprinkler system or even dispose of an accumulation of combustible waste at the end of the work day may have prevented an injury, fatality or property loss.

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