1. #1
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    Default Fire Inspection Transportation?

    Just curious.

    I am a member of a well funded POC department. We provide the fire inspection services to the public and commercial occupancies throughout our 56 square mile district, per state code. This means that we will conduct approximately 350 inspections annually (or about 200 hours of work).

    The chief of our department has stated that he will not look into purchasing a new or used vehicle for use by the department inspectors, however will allow for use of the brush firefighting rig, except for during brush fire season. The reason behind not purchasing a vehicle is twofold, one he believes that a vehicle designated for use as an 'inspectors vehicle' would be wasteful, and unpopular with the remaining membership of the department.

    When I asked what vehicle the inspectors should use during 'brush season' I was told to use my personal vehicle. I stated that I wouldn't do this, as I believed that the department should be presented professionally to the public and that the chief should support the legitamacy of fire prevention and inspection within the department by providing the required tools to complete the job.

    Currently the fire prevention and inspection operating budget is 2.5% (about $6000) of the annual operating budget, yet because of the 2% dues program, we receive about $30,000 annually for maintaining suppression and inspection services . With only 80 fire calls per year, the inspection division actually works more hours than the entire suppression side.

    My question is, do other POC and volunteer departments have similar issues, what vehicles do you use to provide inspections, how many volunteer departments conduct their own inspection programs? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    All volunteer, no inspections done by us. Our Building Department handles inspections.

    However, I would agree, you should have some type of "official" vehicle.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Fawlty,

    We're a combo department that includes the building department. Our inspectors use a Chevy Lumina and Ford Crown Victoria equipped and designated as emergency vehicles for fire inspections. It's great, because those of us at the station bring the BYT and they respond in the cars.

    If you're having trouble, you can mention how much $$$$ you bring in, and demand a greater share, or as much of it as you need, for your department's operating budget. I nexteled the guy in charge of our building program for info on this article, and he advised me(as well as shocking the hell outta me) that the department, has to date, brought in $150,000 for this year. All of that money goes into the fire/building budget and helps defer the cost of 4 firefighters and 2 inspectors.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

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    Check your auto insurance policy. In NJ, if you use your vehicle for work, you must state that to the ins. co. and your rates go way up.

    If you do your job and bring in the $$$, where is it going now?

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    Default vehicles for fire inspectors

    I am in a combination paid/voly depart.. We have pick-up trucks that are used by personnal doing fire inspections. On these trucks you will find the equipment on them that meet the requirements of a service truck. Also try looking for grants to help you with purchasing a vehicle suitable for the purpose.

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    We always do fire inspections as a team. Being the only paid staff during the day we take the ambulance since we're the ones that would be going on the call anyway.

    We do have a Service Unit (1991 Chevy Suburban) and the Command Unit (1999 GMC diesel Suburban) at our disposal as well, but we generally don't take those out for inspections. Not much point to us running back to the station in those to grab the ambulance.... then again we'd have to run back to the station in the ambulance for a fire call.

    Brad
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    I agree, you definately should have official vehicles to use.

    You might look into purchasing a mile'ed out police vehicle from your local police or sheriffs departments. Until it died, that's what our fire cheif was driving and that's what we were using. I think it might have even been donated by the cops to us.

    Just a though.

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    Our Chief does all of the inspections using the pickup truck the city assigned him.

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    Our day crew does the majority of the inspections in their vehicle, which is a Mini-Pumper......

    Once in awhile the Chief will do one, or if it is a large business, we may have some off duty people come in to assist the day crew. Either way, whoever does them is in full uniform and is in an official vehicle.........

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    If you can't use the brush unit during certain times, why not just use another apparatus?

    Get a full crew together and take out the engine.

  11. #11
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    In my area, Fire Suppression and the Inspections are seperate -- generally the Town contracts with one or more fire companies and/or fire districts fund a fire department; the Town then also hires a Fire Marshal who is the AHJ for inspections & investigations.

    In most of the Towns the Fire Marshal uses his own vehicle. In my town the FM is currently budgeted 20 hours/week. Many times one FM will serve several towns to cobble together a full-time job.

    The 2 largest towns which have full-time Fire Marshals do have town vehicles for their guys. The third largest town at least for investigations has a couple of their Police officers who were former vollies serving as Deputy Fire Marshals, so they'd have use of cruisers. Not sure in that Town if they have a non-law enforcement Fire Marshal for inspections, or if one of the cops does the inspections, too.
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    We are a primarily volunteer department with 1 24/7 paid firefighter and soon to be 1 M-F 8-5 paid firefighter, plus a paid Asst. Chief.
    We do not do inspections, as in Louisiana that is purely a state function except in larger cities, but we have a number of "adminstrative functions" that both the shift personnel and volunteers need to carry out including preplans, satellite station maintanence, public education and the like. For this purpose we either use the small rescue truck, one of the department's two service trucks (pickups with extra firefighting gear), the brush truck or the Asst. Chief's command truck if he does not plan on using it that day. If we have a crew of 2 or more we can use one of the first-line apparatus as long as we in the "core" of the fire district. Personally my opinion is that you do need a vehicle primarily because of the offical nature of the inspection function, especially post 911 where your idenity may be questioned.
    Maybe you can find a way to have a local dealership donate a basic used vehicle ... my former department in Vermont just had a new donated as a command unit. When doing this it it's important to have a plan where you can highlight other uses to the chief (transporting personal to training on the weekends, duty vehicle, command unit, etc.)

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    We have a Ford Taurus assigned to the Fire Prevention staff (Fire Marshal and Fire Inspector). Since they staff the ambulance during the day, it rarely gets used unless they're going to seperate sites. The Taurus is also occasionally used by the Duty Captain nights and weekends.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

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    something that we have talked about is getting a SUV that we could use for various events, ex. fire inspections, using as a possible command unit, off site trainings, etc. we about got one in the spring through a state sale, but decided not to at the last min.

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    Originally posted by 42VTExplorer
    If you can't use the brush unit during certain times, why not just use another apparatus?

    Get a full crew together and take out the engine.
    I agree with this. You say inspections take less than 200 hours annually. That's less than an hour a day. There is no reason why an apparatus can't be taken out to do these inspections, as long as you have a crew in case you get toned out.

    Chimp

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    When I was a paid FF, the fire inspectors used to work with the entire Engine, Truck, and Rescue crews from our station. Most inspections took about 1 hour or so, so the entire duty crew would go assist in the inspections - if available. This worked out well as we were able to do some pre-planning and it was also good to see the interior setups of a lot of the buildings that were in our box (response area).

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