Fire inspections play a critical role in saving lives and property. A certified fire inspector identifies potential fire hazards, educates the owners/occupants about the potential problems that the recognized hazard presents and provides an opportunity to correct them. Critical areas where the inspections are focused include:
Means of egress, which include the aisles, approach to the exit, the exit itself and the area outside of the exit that leads to a public way.
Electrical systems and other power sources since they represent a heat source that is almost always in close proximity to fuel sources.
Mechanical systems which move air and other fluids throughout the building and once a fire starts, can cause the movement of smoke, heat and other products of combustion throughout the building.
Fuel source hazards, in the form of the materials used, stored, transported through, sold or otherwise placed within the building. These may include common combustibles as well as hazardous materials.
Heat source hazards, such as open flames, cooking appliances, portable heaters and others which when used improperly or placed too close to combustibles will cause a fire.
The Fire Marshal has developed an inventory of buildings and occupancies which prioritizes the risk that each building/occupancy represents based upon several factors. These factors include but are not limited to, building construction, occupancy, the presence of suppression and alarm systems, the presence of hazardous materials, size of the structure and the number of people that might be in the building. The frequency of inspections is based upon this risk assessment and the available resources. Fire inspections are conducted by either the Fire Marshal or the part time Fire Inspector. Both will always be in uniform and operating a Township owned and marked vehicle. They have Township identification and are happy to produce it upon request.
Plymouth has adopted the International Fire Code, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code and several other ordinances passed by Township Council. If you have a question about a certain activity or a fire safety code requirement, please contact the Fire Marshal.
Open burning or the use of burn pits or chimineas within Plymouth Township requires a written permit. This permit will be issued only to those property owners who have requested and received an inspection by the Fire Marshal. There is no cost and prior arrangements may be scheduled by contacting the Fire Marshal.
The use of fireworks in Plymouth Township is restricted to what is permitted by the Commonwealth laws. Firework displays other than consumer fireworks, sparklers and sparker showers, must have prior written approval by the Township Fire Marshal. Even consumer fireworks should be handled by adults only or in the case of sparklers with adult supervision. Serious burns and other injuries can occur with these devices.
The cause of a fire is always an important part in the prevention of future fires. A proper and thorough investigation allows fire officials to do the following:
Report defective or deficient appliances, vehicles and other devices to the proper officials for investigation and if necessary recall of these products.
Information relative to a fire cause is collected and trends can be determined so that education and enforcement actions can be taken to prevent future fires.
If a fire has been purposely set with the intent to cause harm to others or to property, the cause is important to allow for legal prosecution of those who commit this crime.
The Plymouth Township Fire Marshal’s Office provides 24/7/365 coverage for all fires occurring within the Township. Quick response to fire incidents allows for a complete and thorough investigation. Fire reports are kept on these fires and resulting investigations for future use.
Facts about Fire
Did you know:
- A fire occurs in the US every 60 seconds in a commercial property, every 76 seconds in a residential property
- Smoking, heating and arson are the leading causes of fire deaths in residential property in the US
- If every home had a working smoke detector, an estimated 890 lives could be saved every year in the US
PA Department of Forestry burning bans
If you have been given a permit from the Fire Marshals Office, this is the link that will advise you if a burn ban has been placed in effect in Montgomery County. If a burn ban is in effect you are prohibited from using your outdoor fireplace.
Fire sprinklers save lives
Plymouth Township has had a residential sprinkler ordinance since 1994 requiring residential sprinklers throughout many types of new residential properties. In 2011 all new residential properties are required by the PA Residential Building Code to have residential fire sprinklers. This technology works, saves lives and helps to keep the cost of municipal fire protection low. The following video link provides a very dramatic evidence of the value of residential sprinklers.
For help choosing a sprinkler for your home, see this guide from the Fire Sprinkler Coalition.
If you already have a residential fire sprinkler system please make sure that you maintain it. If you’re not sure what maintenance needs to be completed, please feel free to contact the Fire Marshal’s Office for additional information.