Fire Prevention and the Link to Pre-incident Planning

Pre-incident planning allows emergency responders to anticipate the resources and procedures needed to meet specific demands within their jurisdictions.The two primary customers served by fire prevention bureaus are the citizens we protect and fire...


Basic to the pre-incident planning process though, is an understanding of the difference between a pre-incident survey and a fire and life safety code enforcement inspection. Pre-incident surveys are similar to fire and life safety inspections, although surveys are not intended to locate code violations. Periodically however, violations are discovered and depending on the severity of the fire code violation, the company officer may request the owner/occupant to correct the violation or simply report the problem to the authority's inspection division for follow up.

The company officer should also explain that while the facility survey is not a code enforcement inspection, any serious fire or life safety hazards found will need to be corrected. When serious hazards are found, the best approach is to obtain an on-the-spot correction and follow up with a written communication to the fire prevention/inspection division. If compliance cannot be immediately obtained, a fire inspector should be notified. This is one of the returned benefits to the fire prevention division.

Fire departments are currently faced with having fewer people and more tasks. Critical tasks such as pre-incident planning often get a lower priority because of staffing and time. Partnering with fire prevention in the pre-incident planning process is a great use of available resources to accomplish your fire department's mission. Remember too, that this is not only beneficial for operational needs as we have discussed but is a critical component of overall scene safety management.

BRETT LACEY, a Contributing Editor, is the Fire Marshal for the Colorado Springs, CO, Fire Department and a professional engineer. He has over 27 years in the fire service and has served on various technical committees including NFPA 1031, IFSTA committee for Inspection practices, and Fire Detection and Suppression Systems and the Colorado Fire Marshal's Association Code Committee. PAUL VALENTINE, a Contributing Editor, is the Fire Marshal for the Mount Prospect, IL, Fire Department and formerly served as their fire protection engineer. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University and is a graduate from the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. Brett and Paul co-authored Fire Prevention Applications, published by Fire Protection Publications. To read their complete biographies and view their archived articles, click here. You can reach Paul by e-mail at: