The Duty to Act: Responsibilities of Today’s Fire Marshal

Issue 7 and Volume 160.

BY DON SMITH IN 1959, FIRE ENGINEERING published FIVE MONTHLY Roundtable installments on the question “Who [italics mine] is responsible for fire prevention inspections?” The first sentence in the first installment (November 1959) read as follows, “FIRE PREVENTION inspections in recent years have become a major part of the activities of practically all fire departments.” This statement implies that inspections up to that time were not a priority within the fire service and now that they were, consideration should be given to who should do them. Nearly half a century later (January 2003), Fire Engineering ran the article “Performance Keys to Successful Fire Outcomes,”1 which discussed performance-based designs employed in sophisticated and challenging construction projects. It showed the importance of evaluating these intricate designs and the value of the acceptance testing and inspections required of these complicated structures. This article goes far beyond the issue of who does fire inspections.…

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