The City of DeLand Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division serves as one of the Department's public relations agents by the nature of its work, performing inspections and re-inspections within the community's businesses and multi-family complexes. The Fire Prevention Division also performs plan reviews for permits and comprehensive emergency management plans.
The Department's goal is to prevent loss of life and property by providing inspections and plan reviews for businesses within the City of DeLand. Fire inspections are performed in accordance with the City of DeLand Fire Code, the Florida Fire Prevention Code, the National Fire Prevention Code, and any other applicable codes.
Fire suppression is not the only way to combat fires. A well-planned and executed fire prevention and inspection program is a less expensive and more effective way to accomplish the goal of the fire service. The goal is to minimize the risk of life and property loss from fire by observing, making recommendations, and subsequently controlling or eliminating hazardous conditions. The inspection program can make major strides toward accomplishing this goal before a fire occurs. The inspection program also helps educate occupants in ways to control hazards, in proper methods of evacuation, and in overall fire safety practices.
Fire prevention inspections are the single, most important non-firefighting activity performed by the Fire Department. Often, the most important decisions and actions performed by fire suppression forces occur before a fire breaks out. These actions are pre-planning, developing standard operating procedures, training, maintaining equipment in readiness, and are critical if the Fire Department is to perform efficiently and effectively at the fire scene.
Establishing a favorable atmosphere plays an important role in conducting inspections. The inspector's attitude toward the inspection itself also plays a part in establishing a favorable atmosphere. A positive attitude will usually encourage a positive reaction from the occupant. This will help promote a high degree of cooperation and compliance from the occupant. Scheduling the inspection also helps the inspector make a good initial impression.
When the initial inspection is complete, the fire inspector discusses the results with the person in authority for the property. The purpose of this closing interview is to note good conditions as well as discuss the conditions that need correcting. The inspectors discuss violations in general terms, indicating that specific details will be outlined in a written report, which will be sent to the property owner. In the closing interview, the inspectors will express thanks for any courtesies extended, and should another inspection be necessary, the owner of the property is informed at that time.
Some general fire safety matters that are noted during a fire inspection that apply to all occupancies are ensuring good housekeeping practices, regulating smoking, controlling the use of flammable decorations, controlling electrical hazards, regulating open burning, and maintaining access for fire equipment and personnel.
In performing the role as a company inspector, we can impact the safety of more people in our performance than most other operations. The company inspection is designed to ensure that existing buildings have properly maintained their fire safety systems to help enhance the life safety of the occupants. The company inspection program helps to meet a couple of goals in the Department's Mission Statement:
"Educate to Prevent Harm" - As an inspector in the field, when meeting the owner/occupant of the buildings, we are educating the public in the proper maintenance and testing of their building's life safety systems.
"Protect" - The inspection program strives to create a safe environment for the citizens of the community, but just as important, it is striving to create a safe environment for the firefighters who must respond. Through properly operating fire detection, suppression, and notification systems, the responding emergency responders may have a great deal of the fire problem detected in the early stages.