The Role of Your Local Fire Marshal

Many people, especially some business owners may know the Fire Marshal (or Fire Inspector) as the guy (also female) who come around once a year to inspect their business, but there’s so much more then the pencil to paper. They have a main responsibility to keep the general public safe. They as the Fire Marshal, or Fire Marshal’s Office, is the authority having jurisdiction, or “AHJ”.

Why are they so strict? You my ask.. Fire Marshals have a duty to inspect businesses, dwellings (in some areas), all for the sake of safety. Many catastrophic deaths have occured as a result of failure either inspect, or have laws in place to protect those in public places and out and about.  Look up information on the Station Nightclub Fire in February of 2003 in West Warwick, RI , where it killed 100 people, and injured 230. Or the Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston, MA, which killed 492 people, the second deadliest single structure fire in American History. Routine inspections aren’t meant to hassle, they’re meant to prevent fires and save lives.

Fire Investigations: Fire Marshals aren’t just inspectors, they’re also investigators. When a fire occurs, it is the responsibility of the Fire Marshal to determine the fire’s cause and origin, that is, why the fire started, and where it started. This is for several reasons. This can be as a result of a fatality or death, where the cause needs to be determined; if an appliance, etc was at fault, so it can be recalled, fixed, and re-marketed to the public, to rule out any and all foul play, was a crime committed? Or was this an accident? (Accident vs. Arson).

State Fire Marshals: In the United States, there are the local/municipal Fire Marshals, but there are also State Fire Marshals. These individuals in the State Fire Marshal’s Office are the go-to if any local Fire Marshals need assistance with code enforcement, investigations, or anything else.

Ever been to a concert or public event (Warrior Dash, etc) where there’s pyrotechnics? Ever gone to an outdoor carnival? All of these times, the hardware is inspected and tested within the presence of the State Fire Marshal. Everything is inspected to ensure safety at all times.

That’s a nice run-down of the roles of a Fire Marshal, what they do in their jobs, and how they keep you safe everyday.

Stay tuned for more posts!

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