Fire Marshal

 

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Fire Marshal

MISSION STATEMENT:

It is the mission of the Fire Marshal’s Office to prevent and/or reduce the incidence of fire by increasing the awareness and knowledge of the residents and businesses respecting fire safety, and by ensuring compliance with the Connecticut Fire Safety Code and applicable regulations of the State of Connecticut. This mission will be accomplished through fire prevention education, fire investigations and compliance inspections. We will actively participate with our community, serve as role models, and strive to effectively and efficiently utilize all resources made available, to provide safety and excellent customer service to the citizens of the town of Bethany, Connecticut, as well as those who are its visitors.

The Office of the Bethany Fire Marshal consists of a part-time Fire Marshal. To be appointed in the future, a part-time Deputy Fire Marshal, part-time Fire Inspector, and a part-time administrative assistant. Our staff is charged with the duty to perform various duties, many of which are mandated by the Connecticut General Statutes. These duties include inspection of all properties, with the exception of one and two-family homes. The Fire Marshal is required to perform investigations as they pertain to the cause and origin of fires that are in the Town of Bethany.

Our staff is mandated to issue permits for hazardous operations, which include but are not limited to the installation of a permanent propane tanks and piping, heating fuel storage tanks, gasoline and diesel fuel storage tanks, blasting permits, and commercial fireworks displays. In addition to these mandated functions, the Fire Marshal’s Office staff offers public fire prevention education programs to all who request a presentation.

All uniformed personnel attend many hours of training each year. Training courses include the latest Fire Safety Code theories, building construction procedures, fire investigation courses, fire protection systems, and many other subjects. The courses attended are in various locations throughout the State, as well as courses that have been offered at the National Fire Academy in Emmittsburg, MD. Fire Marshals, Deputy Fire Marshal’s, and Fire Inspectors are required to maintain a minimum of thirty (30) hours of training in the field of fire prevention, hazardous materials operations and processes, and proper fire investigation procedures per year to maintain certification through the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety.

For additional information on public fire education programs, or to request a presentation, please contact:

Fire Marshal

Rod White
Fire Marshal
203-393-2100 x119
Email
Fax: 203-393-8907

Links

Open Burning Permit
 Kidde – Kidde home safety products
 Fire Extinguisher : 101
 Alarm Ordinance Registration Form
 Connecticut Department of Public Safety
 DEP – Residential Fuel Oil Tanks
 US Fire Administration

FAQs

What can you tell me about Fire Code Inspections?

Every Connecticut town and city is required to have a certified Fire Marshal who enforces the Connecticut Fire Safety Code, and all applicable standards and regulations as they apply to commercial buildings in their community. The Fire Safety Code applies to all occupancies, both new and existing, with the exception of one and two-family homes. One and two-family homes are governed by the Connecticut State Building Code, which is enforced locally by the town or city’s Building Official. The Fire Safety Code covers items, such as exiting of buildings, fire separations, interior finishes, sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and many other items most people do not even recognize when entering a facility that is open to the public, or take for granted if they are noticed. These details of a building are so vital to the safety of the occupants of commercial buildings; the Connecticut General Statutes has its own chapter stating penalties for violations to the Connecticut Fire Safety Code, which can range from imposed fines to imprisonment.

What can you tell me about the Fire Code Inspection Process?

Although an inspection can range from hours to days in duration, once the on-site inspection is complete, the Fire Marshal or Deputy Fire Marshal must complete a detailed report describing the conditions found and actions taken. When a violation is found during an inspection, the Fire Marshal or his designee must issue what is known as an “Abatement of Hazards” notice. This notice is to legally inform the owner, occupant, and/or management of a facility that a violation was found during an inspection. The notice further will inform the receiver that they have thirty (30) days (unless otherwise noted on the inspection report) from the day the notice is received to correct all violations contained in the inspection report that accompanies every Abatement notice. The inspection report takes as long, if not longer, than the actual inspection, to generate. The personnel conducting the inspection must return to the Fire Marshal’s Office and research the Connecticut Fire Safety Code, and all the applicable standards, to ensure the violation is properly cited.

What can you tell me about Hazardous Materials?

There are many different types of facilities that use hazardous materials. Whether they are used in a process, or are manufactured locally, hazardous materials are everywhere! The Fire Marshal’s Office inspects all facilities that use hazardous materials. The purpose for the inspection is to check the manner in which the materials are being stored, the process in which they are being used, and to provide pre-incident planning information to the Fire Department’s first responders in the event of an emergency.

What can you tell me about the Transportation of Hazardous Materials?

As you travel throughout the State, you see various types and sized vehicles transporting materials that we use in our day-to-day operations. Those materials can range from bulk transportation of flour or baking goods, to the large tankers that haul gasoline or diesel fuel to your local gas station. Each vehicle that transports hazardous materials is required to be inspected at least once a year by the Fire Marshal in the town or city in which the vehicle is registered. These inspections are conducted to ensure the product in which the vehicle is transporting is stored in a safe manner, and to reduce the opportunity for an accidental release of hazardous materials.

What can you tell me about Underground Storage Tank Removal Inspections?

Although underground storage tank removal inspections are not mandated by the Connecticut General Statutes, the staff of the Fire Marshal’s Office in Bethany inspects the removal of all underground storage tanks, in both commercial and residential settings. The homeowner or business owner, or the company in which they employ to remove the tank from their property, must submit an application for removal of an underground storage tank to the Fire Marshal’s Office. Once the application is received, this generates an inspection by the Fire Marshal’s Office staff. The inspection includes witnessing the actual removal of the underground tank, inspection of the tank excavation for contaminated soil, and the procurement of a soil sample by the removal contractor for analytical testing. The entire process is documented by digital photographs taken during the removal. The photographs include pictures of the tank, the tank excavation, and general photograph indicating the location of the tank on the property.

What can you tell me about Fuel Burning Equipment Installations?

The installation of any fuel burning equipment requires a permit from both the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Building Department. Once a permit is submitted, a review of the equipment and piping to be installed is conducted to ensure it is being installed in compliance with the appropriate codes, as well is the equipment’s listing. Once the review of the plans is completed, a field inspection is then conducted to ensure all equipment has been installed in accordance with the plans submitted. During the inspection, the Fire Marshal or his Deputy will check for proper clearance from ignitions sources, proper product containment (if required), and many other requirements, which are dependant upon the regulations that apply.

What can you tell me about Professional Fireworks and Discharge Zones?

Everyone enjoys a beautiful professional fireworks display. There are many steps that must be taken to provide a safe working environment for the artists, or “shooters” who provide the show, which guarantees a quality fireworks show! The first step is for the licensed fireworks shooter to obtain a permit to create a display. The permit is received from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal. A site inspection is conducted by the Fire Marshal of the location where the actual show will take place. What the Fire Marshal is looking for is proper safe distances from the point of discharge to the closest spectator. Once the shooter obtains the permit, it must be signed by the local Fire Marshal, Police Chief, and Fire Chief. Once all the paperwork is cleared through the State Fire Marshal’s Office, that’s when all the hard work begins. The Fire Marshal or his designee must be on site to check pyrotechnics licenses of all the shooters on site, and while the racks which contain the tubes that launch the fireworks into the air are set up by the shooter and his/her team. In addition to the Fire Marshal, a stand-by crew from the local fire department must be present, just to be prepared in the unlikely event that an accident occurs. Once the show begins, the Fire Marshal remains in the discharge site to ensure that no spectators are within the discharge zone, and to maintain safety within the site. Upon completion of the display, the racks are checked for “dud” fireworks. Once the racks are cleared, the show is over!

What can you tell me about Plan Reviews?

The Bethany Fire Marshal’s Office staff conducts reviews of all plans submitted to the town for all new commercial construction, as well as renovations to existing commercial structures. The purpose of the reviews of these plans is to ensure compliance with the Connecticut Fire Safety Code, as required in the Connecticut General Statutes. It is much easier to correct issues that are found during the planning stage of a project rather than after the structure has been built. Many times, situations found contrary to the Connecticut Fire Safety Code can range from something as simple as relocating or adding emergency lights and exit signs, to egress (exiting) requirements that are not sufficient for the number of occupants or size of the building.
The plan review process takes approximately thirty (30) days to complete. Upon completion of the review of plans submitted to the Fire Marshal’s Office, a letter detailing all corrections to be made is delivered to the architect for his review and correction. The building permit will not be issued until such time that all corrections to the plans found during the review process are made and the buildings are draw in compliance with the Connecticut Fire Safety Code, and all applicable standards and regulations. To request a review of plans, or for information as to how to submit plans for review, please click here!

What buildings must be inspected by the Fire Marshal?

All buildings within the Town of Bethany, with the exception of single and two-family homes, are required to be inspected by the Fire Marshal or his designee at least annually, as described in the Connecticut General Statutes. Single and two-family homes are within the jurisdiction of the local Building Official. The Fire Marshal’s Office will conduct inspections of sprinkler and fire alarm systems in all buildings.

Why must inspections be done?

Besides being required by the Connecticut General Statutes, for many businesses that are licensed by a local or state agency, they are required to provide documentation as to the safe conditions that will allow them to operate without posing a hazard to the public. Without such documentation, their license to operate their business may not be renewed. Should violations of the Connecticut Fire and Life Safety Code be found, said business must correct the violations in a given amount of time. Normal, thirty days (30) are provided to the business or building owner to make corrections and comply with the fire code. The time provided is at the discretion of the Fire Marshal or his designee, depending on the nature of the violation. Violations, such as blocked egress, fire protection system violations or overcrowding may demand closure of a business until such time that these immediate problems are corrected.

How do I arrange for an inspection by the Fire Marshal’s Office?

Requesting an inspection by the Fire Marshal’s Office is simple. You may contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at (203 393-2100 ext. 119) to arrange for an inspection. Inspections, with the exception of complaint follow-up inspections, are done at a time that best suits the business owner, as well as the staff of the Fire Marshal’s Office. You may also click here to electronically submit a request for an inspection.

Why are fire investigations important?

Conducting fire investigations are very important to ensure the safety of the public. By doing a thorough and methodical investigation, the staff of the Fire Marshal’s Office can determine if a fire was accidental in nature, or incendiary (intentionally set). Should a fire be determined to be accidental, it is important to determine the cause to help identify possible trends producing recalls of defective equipment, as well as provide assistance to insurance companies who maintain coverage to victims of fire. Should a fire be determined to be incendiary in nature, all information gathered during the investigation will aid in criminal proceedings by providing facts pertaining to the criminal act of arson. If you should see any suspected criminal activities with regard to fire, you can contact the Connecticut Arson Tip Line at 1-800-84ARSON (1-800-842-7766).

What is Public Fire and Life Safety Education?

Public Fire and Life Safety Education is a proactive approach to firefighting. There is no better way to fight a fire than to prevent it from happening by providing early fire safety education. Public education is an opportunity to educate the public about common fire hazards that they may encounter, as well as new problems that have surfaced. Many of the programs offered by the Fire Marshal’s Office are delivered by our office staff, as well as members of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department’s Public Education Committee. Each program is tailored to a specific audience. All programs are free to those who request it. Our staff encourages our neighbors to take part in our fire safety programs. To request a presentation, please click here.

Is open burning permitted in the Town of Bethany?

Supervised open burning is allowed when issued a permit by the Fire Marshal’s Office to do so. Open burning permits will be issued to town residence for the purposes of cooking outdoors, holding a controlled bonfire, or when holding controlled fires for religious reasons. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY RESIDENT OR BUSINESS IN THE TOWN OF BETHANY TO BURN BRUSH, TRASH, OR ITEMS OF THE LIKE. ALL WOOD THAT IS BURNED SHALL NOT BE PRESSURE-TREATED. ALL ITEMS LIKE THESE MUST BE TAKEN TO THE TOWN RECYCLING CENTER. Failure to obtain a burn permit, or burning illegal items may subject the property owner to fines or arrest. Burn permits are void if weather conditions are such that it creates hazards to the permittee, their property, or the property around them, whether it is public or private. Any time wind speeds exceed 10 miles per hour (gusts or sustained), or the fire danger rating is equal to or greater than “HIGH” as indicated on our homepage, there shall be no open burning in the Town of Bethany. If you would like to obtain today’s fire danger rating, please click here.

When must I submit a Fuel Permit with the Fire Marshal’s Office?

Any time you are installing equipment pertaining to a hazardous materials operation, you must obtain a permit from the Fire Marshal’s Office, as well as from the Building Department. By submitting a permit, it ensures that the operation, use, or storage of hazardous materials is done correctly by inspections conducted by this Office prior to use of any such materials. To obtain a fuel permit, you can go to our “Permit Information” page to download the permit form, or click here. Once you have completed the permit form, you may mail the form back with the $5.00 fee (?), or you can stop by the Fire Marshal’s Office located at the town hall.

Is there a permit required to remove an underground oil tank?

Currently, there is an application for removal of underground storage tanks. However, there is no permit or fee. The application generates an inspection by the Fire Marshal’s Office. When an application for removal is received, the Fire Marshal will assign an inspection of the tank removal to the Deputy Fire Marshal or Fire Inspector. The inspection involves the witnessing of the removal of the tank from the ground, witnessing the procurement of a soil sample for analytical testing, and the taking of photographs for recording purposes. All the records regarding underground storage tank removals are then forwarded to the Building Department. If you are selling or purchasing a property in the Town of Bethany you may request a copy of the records from the Building Department by calling the Building Official at (203 393-2100 ext. 116), Extension.

Are fireworks legal in the State of Connecticut?

Public Act 00-198 made it legal for any person who is at least sixteen (16) years of age or older to purchase, possess, or use sparkling devices with not more than one hundred (100) grams of pyrotechnic mixture that is non-aerial and non-explosive. In short, IF IT FLIES OR PROVIDES A BANG, IT IS NOT LEGAL. Such items that are not legal under this Public Act include but is not limited to fire crackers, M-80’s, M-100’s, Roman Candles, Sky Rockets, Bottle rockets, lady fingers, bomb bags, snap pops, and other aerial and explosive displays.