Chapter Two.ppt - Chapter Two Inspections Copyright ©2015...

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Unformatted text preview: Chapter Two Inspections Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 1 Learning Objectives • Identify and Describe the limits of right of entry provisions of the model codes • Explain why warrants are necessary to inspect in certain circumstances • Identify the permit and inspection models 2 Learning Objectives • Explain the legal requirements for notices of violation • Identify how the freedom of information laws impact today’s fire prevention bureaus • Explain how model codes appeals processes are designed to operate 3 Introduction • The heart of any fire law is the Fire Inspection – Not a spectacular or colorful image – In some cases, your best intention can perceived as intrusion, interference, bureaucratic, and annoyance – Code Compliance cost $$$ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 4 Introduction • In 1978, NFPA completed a federally funded study – Data compiled from seven (7) Cities and one (1) Metropolitan County – Fire hazards directly visible to a fire inspector accounted for 4% to 8% of all fires – Careless or foolish actions accounted for 40%to 60% Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 5 Inspection Process and Duty to Inspect • The Inspection process is the back bone of the fire prevention program. • Duties and responsibilities to inspect are outline within the body of the fire prevention code • Contained in some model codes – Mandates inspection of certain types of occupancies – Key wording within the Fire Code • “The fire official shall inspect…” • “… as often as necessary…” 6 Applicability of Model Codes • Model Fire Codes are intended to…. – Apply to “All buildings, structures and premises ” • Residential occupancies are generally exempt from routine inspection, HOWEVER. They are NOT exempt from the fire code • Includes one- and two-family dwellings – Multi-family, Multi-Story dwellings • Are particularly important to fire prevention • Many lives are affected within these occupancies. 7 Right of Entry • Nonconsensual entry into a building can be a very serious breach and violation of federal laws – 4th amendment, Illegal search and seizure – Warrants are typically required (in most cases) • Each of the Model codes contain right of entry clauses – Allows fire officials to enter and inspect all structures and premises at a reasonable time • The Fire Inspector's right of entry is limited by the Fourth Amendment 8 Right of Entry • Purpose for entry must be to inspect for code compliance and fire prevention • Entry must not be for some other purpose and under the guise of fire prevention – Fire inspections must never be used in order to serve a criminal warrant or search for criminal activities – Not only bad image, its's extremely illegal 9 Inspection Priorities and Frequency • Two models that determine Inspection priorities are: – Permit model • Inspect occupancies required by codes to secure permits by model codes – Inspection model • Local priorities to determine inspection priorities 10 Permit Model • Simplest model to get started and easiest to technically defend – List of required permits include occupancies with high potential for life loss & hazardous processes – Sets requirements and periodic inspections for operational, installation, and construction phases through the use of permits • Inspections – Performed as a condition of permit • Conditions of permit – Entry and complying with code 11 Permit Model • Inspections – Are allowed and Performed as a condition of permit issuance • Conditions of permit issues – Allow for entry and compliance with the established fire code Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 12 Inspection Model • Bureau of Fire Prevention picks which occupancies that are to be inspected – Identifies and conduct inspections • Written procedures are necessary to avoid claims of harassment or selective enforcement • Must be fair and impartial 13 Inspection Model • Based on fire experience or potential hazard • Have the potential of claims regarding “selective code enforcement” based on ethnicity, race, politics or corruption – Procedures must be formalized and transparent • A untrained or uneducated fire inspector actions will not be noticed until a disaster occurs 14 Inspection Warrants • Inspectors must secure permission to conduct inspections OR • They must secure an administrative (inspection) warrant • Applies to both residential and commercial properties – Camara v. Municipal Court of San Francisco • Occupant of housing project refused to allow housing inspectors to make routine inspection. Eventually the Occupant was arrested for failure to allow a lawful inspection. Grounds under the 4th amendment • Supreme Court overturned lower courts ruling 15 Conducting Inspections • Most are conducted with the owner or representative present and during reasonable hours • Should be thorough and methodical • Review previous fire inspections records – very helpful, Why? • Start outside of the occupancy by circling the building or complex perimeter 16 Conducting Inspections • Observe the following areas – Outdoor storage areas • Flammables, combustibles, hazardous materials – FD access • Fire lanes, parking areas, awnings, split level, landscaping, – Hydrants • Location, spacing, private “vs” public – FD connections • Present with no damage or missing caps, unobstructed, marked – Egress facilities • Types of entrance ways with panic hardware, exit signs, emergency lighting 17 Conducting Inspections • Inside structure – Observe fire protection systems – present, functional and compliance with NFPA testing requirements. • Sprinkler, Standpipe, specialized or combination • Fire alarms • Means of egress from all parts of building – # of Emergency exits – both marked and unobstructed – All exits are to be unlocked or specialized panic hardware for emergency exit during occupancy NFPA 101, Life Safety Code 18 Conducting Inspections • Hazardous materials storage and processes – Types and Quantities – Containment and Confinement – Are storage permits required • Building services – Utilities and HVAC • Structural fire protection features – Fire stopping • Dampers and fire doors and walls – Fire Resistance • Inherent, coated or encasement 19 Reporting Inspections • Contacts are reported in written (or electronic) form that comply with legal requirement of the jurisdiction – May be in checklist, letter, or electronic form – Clear, concise, and legible – Every inspection and follow up visits should be documented • Especially if access to the premises has been denied • These documents are critical in obtaining inspection warrants for the future if needed. 20 Notices of Violation • Written notices of violations are required by the legacy codes and still mandated by the Uniform Fire Code – The words “Shall” issue …In writing and include … • Unsafe condition and code section violation • Required corrective action(s) • Date of follow-up inspection 21 Violations • Violation are criminal misdemeanors • May result in both criminal or civil litigation • Summons are…. – A written order by a judicial officer – Directing alleged offender to appear in court – Legally an arrest for a criminal misdemeanor with potential for incarceration or monetary penalties • Citation 22 – Is a summons that is issued by law or code enforcement officer – Civil charge with monetary penalties Violations • Injunction – Order from a court that prohibits violation of the code or requires compliance • Failure to comply with an injunction – Subjects individual(s) to penalties for contempt of court by the issuing court 23 Overlooked Fire Code violations and carelessness come together • /watch?v=9hNMWNTJT3U Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 24 Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Big Top Tragedy fire on July 6, 1944 • In May, 1944, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus workers boiled a mixture of four parts Texaco White Gasoline and one part Standard Oil Company Yellow Paraffin Wax and applied the compound to their new big top roof canvas (but not the sidewalls). – This water proofing process was completed two months before the tragedy in Hartford CT. • • • • Contributed to rapid fire spread and intensity 168 deaths (Immediate and weeks following) Roughly 500 Injuries Careless discarded cigarette and heavy combustibles in the area Copyright ©2015 David Diamantes 25 Appeals • Appeals processes in model codes – Board of appeals are responsible for conducting hearing appeals with technical aspects of the code – Make-up of appeals boards is usually specified in code – Members should have technical backgrounds 26 Appeals • Cooperation between building and fire officials is critical when it comes to the appeal process • Compliance is also critical – Failure to comply is grounds for unfavorable determination – Appointees lacking technical expertise, such as attorneys, real estate, general public should be avoided when possible 27 Appeals Hearings • Hearings are public meetings that must comply with local and state laws that regulate government business. Prepare and coordinate with agencies: • Individuals who are filing an appeal should – – – – 28 Provide documents to all parties Adhere to the technical issues Be cordial, polite Do not allow process to become personal Freedom of Information Act • Federal law that was enacted in 1967 – Generally guarantee public access to the workings of government officials – State laws patterned after federal law – Laws apply to government officials whether compensated or not – Request for information are often subject to very strict time constraints 29 Freedom of Information Act • The law is broadly interpreted – Deliberative bodies must meet in public – Meetings must be duly advertised through media – Documents in possession of government • Must be available for public inspection 30 Freedom of Information Act Exceptions • Records that are exempt from public release (FOIA) – – – – – – Ongoing criminal investigations National defense secrets Personnel records Medical records Attorney/client communications Copyrighted information (plans, model codes and standards) • Cannot be copied without permission of publisher – Trade secrets 31 Freedom of Information Law Exceptions • Bureaus must protect trade secrets that they have access to – Such information can be submitted with the permit application process 32 Public Records • Papers, recordings, video, documents, correspondence, photographs, electronic communications (email) in possession of government bodies • Anything that you document in the course of your duties are subject to the Freedom of Information Act – Can be inspected and in some cases copied • There are exemptions though 33 Public Records • Information that must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act – Permit applications – Inspection reports – Correspondence – Notices of violation – Appeals 34 Public Records • Information that is exempted: – Personnel files – Formula for Coke – Copyrighted codes – Plans for government buildings – Crime investigations 35 Freedom of Information Law Changes • Threat of terrorist actions has made changes to the law – Resulted in changes to freedom of information laws throughout the nation • Information regarding public facilities and utilities – Dams, power plants, water systems, and government buildings • Exempt from disclosure 36 Summary • Inspection process is the backbone of a fire prevention program • Administrative aspects of process must be determined by fire prevention bureaus • All structures fall within scope of established model codes 37 Summary • Residential occupancies are exempt from routine inspection, But are not – Exempt from model fire codes • Permission from the owner or occupant to inspect a premise or the issuance of a inspection warrant must be secured before access is to be granted – Permission can be verbal 38 Summary • Permit and Inspection models – Two (2) Methods for determining inspection priorities • Begin inspections with a review of records for a building or facility • Start the inspection by circling outside of facility • Inspections must be thorough and methodical • Record of visits must be documented and maintained 39 Summary • Notices of violation – Must be in written or electronic form – Meet legal requirements of jurisdiction • Criminal charges and civil charges may be brought against property owner for noncompliance • There is an appeal processes 40 Summary • Freedom of Information Act and public access laws – Opens government records to the public • Apply to all government officials whether compensated or not • Apply to all records unless specifically exempt by statute 41 ...
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  • Fall '17
  • Law, Pre-shipment inspection, Safety codes, David Diamantes

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