Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section to Assume Fire Prevention Role in City
June 28, 2011
- Fire Department’s Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section to assume fire prevention code inspections and fire protection systems retesting responsibilities for the City of Alexandria on July 1, 2011.
- Department of Code Administration to retain building code and property maintenance inspection responsibilities on July 1, 2011
On July 1, 2011 the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section (FPFS) of the Alexandria Fire Department will assume responsibilities for all Fire Prevention, Fire Protection Systems Retesting, and Investigation functions formerly handled by the Office of Code Administration. At the beginning of 2011 the Office of Code Administration separated from the Alexandria Fire Department and became the Department of Code Administration. At that time, the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section was created within the fire department to address and manage functions remaining within the Alexandria Fire Department.
The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section are comprised of several units commanded by an assistant fire chief. The section administers the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, applicable sections of the Virginia Construction Code and provisions of the Code of the City of Alexandria. Staff inspects existing properties for compliance with these codes as well as providing information and education to property owners, their representatives, and the occupants to achieve code compliance. The section provides inspection and oversight for the retesting of existing fire protection systems. Inspection staff responds to complaints and conducts annual inspections to ensure proper operation of these critical life safety systems. Fire Marshals investigate incidents relating to fires, explosion related incidents, as well as, incidents involving the release of hazardous materials and environmental crimes.
Fire Prevention Inspections
Fire Prevention Permits
Fire Marshals will conduct Fire Prevention Permit inspections for the City as administered through provisions of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, applicable sections of the Virginia Construction Code and provisions of the Code of the City of Alexandria. Fire Marshals are responsible for preventing fires through annual inspections of permitted commercial or public buildings, licensed facilities and industrial operations and other buildings within the City of Alexandria. The Fire Marshals also inspect for fire and life safety hazards in all existing commercial, multi-family dwellings and state-licensed facilities including daycare, foster homes, nursing homes, schools and hospitals.
Site Plan Review
Fire Marshals and Fire Systems Retesting staff conduct Fire Department Site Plan reviews to ensure emergency access; adequate fire hydrant locations; fire flows; fire department connections; fire lanes; ladder truck accessibility in mid-rise to high-rise buildings and handicap accessibility.
Fire Marshals conduct investigations of fire and explosive related incidents within the City, as well as incidents involving the release of hazardous materials and environmental crimes. Fire Marshals are empowered with full law enforcement powers to conduct criminal investigations, make arrests and prepare cases for prosecution related to these crimes. Fire Marshals also investigate burn related injuries and construction accidents.
Fire Protection Systems Retesting Unit
The Fire Protection Systems Retesting Unit (FPR) ensures existing fire protection systems throughout the City are in-service, functioning properly, inspected, tested, and maintained appropriately. The Fire Protection Systems Retesting Unit deals with all types of fire protection systems including fire sprinkler, fire pump, standpipe, suppression, fire hydrants, alarm, detection, smoke control, and access control systems.
Environmental Investigation Unit (EIU)
Fire Marshals are tasked with the investigation of releases of hazardous materials; response to complaints of illegal dumping of hazardous materials, and environmental crimes. Additionally, the unit conducts annual permit inspections and proactive inspections of all hazardous and industrial use buildings in the City.
Memorandums of Understanding with the Department of Code Administration
Several Memorandums of Understanding between the Department of Code Administration and the Fire Department will ensure continuity of operations at all times during the day or night.
Response to Maintenance and Nuisance Code Complaints; Fire Inspection Requests
The Fire Department will continue to utilize fire marshals to address initial nuisance and maintenance code issues which have an immediate impact on the life safety and quality of life during the hours when the Department of Code Administration is closed.
The Fire Department and the Department of Code Administration will maintain open lines of communication in order to ensure proper and timely follow up of maintenance and nuisance related matters that occur after normal work hours.
The Department of Code Administration will continue to provide routine assistance with certified fire inspection staff during their normal duty schedule and for special events.
The Department of Code Administration will maintain a Code Duty Supervisor that will be responsible for providing consultation to the Fire Department after normal work hours to address maintenance, construction and nuisance related matters.
Training and Certification
Each department will maintain their respective employee training and certification records.
Both departments will keep open lines of communications and notify each other of training opportunities that relate to the Virginia Construction Code, Virginia Maintenance Code and the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.
Permit Center Operations; Telephone Call Coverage
The Department of Code Administration and the Fire Department agree to continue the issuance of Fire Prevention Permits, Fire Protection Retesting billing and other administrative functions associated with these programs through the Department of Code Administration’s Permit Center.
The equivalent of one full time position will be provided at the Permit Center to cover all administrative functions associated with the Fire Prevention Permit and Fire Protection Systems Retesting programs. The cost of this position will be funded through the Permit Center levy and Administration levy applied to all Fire Prevention Permits.
For more information, contact Robert Rodriguez, Chief Fire Marshal / Community Services Officer, Alexandria Fire Department, at 703.746.5217 or firstname.lastname@example.org