FREDERICKTOWN -- Structure fires happen every day across the United States. The National level data providing us those statistics goes back decades, and while the trend on fires has been decreasing in the period measured 2008-2017, one trend hasn’t.
While overall fires have decreased, unfortunately the trending number of fire deaths has increased 9.6 percent. In a press release, the Fredericktown fire department highlighted this statistic.
"We can’t ignore the statistics, we know fires are going to happen, but through inspections and pre-planning structures within the community we can improve the odds of survival," the department stated.
Over the course of the last year the Fredericktown Community Fire District has worked throughout the community in providing fire safety inspections of businesses and areas where required per the laws applicable within the State of Ohio.
These inspections are aimed at identifying potential problems, fire hazards, and making sure structures meet statutory requirements. Inspections are an integral part of a successful fire prevention program, something that the FCFD stated that it strives to achieve at every opportunity possible.
"Inspections don’t just prevent fire death and injury; a comprehensive fire inspection looks at many safety facets. Exits, lights, signage, dimensions, container sizes, heights of stored materials, safety barriers, and so much more. On a recent motor vehicle crash, what came in as oil on the roadway could have been far worse if appropriate safety devices weren’t in place," the press release stated.
"Fire code places requirements for vehicle impact protection, something that undoubtedly saved the life of a driver on Saturday who struck a barrier surrounding a large propane tank in Fredericktown."
The department stated that while some may immediately have negative connotations about inspections, and envision enormous fines and the closing of businesses, that isn't the case. The department said the largest part of the inspection tends to lean toward educating the public about the fire code, why there are requirements, and providing answers and options on how to become compliant.
"In a great majority of our inspections this year, more time is spent on the educational piece and communicating with members of the community than it takes to actually complete the inspection," the press release states. "Furthermore, a great majority of items that are found in our inspections are able to be fixed by the owner or tenant at little to no cost such as moving items from in front of a door or panel, replacing a cord with a surge protector, putting an outlet cover on, changing how materials and goods are stored, and general housekeeping."
The FCFD has a total of seven Certified Fire Safety Inspectors (CFSI) that underwent a significant initial State of Ohio certification to understand and be able to apply codes within Ohio. Along with certification, inspectors must maintain continuing education requirements to remain credentialed. There are no fees assessed by the FCFD to conduct a fire inspection.