Ask an Official: MFD discusses home safety inspections
This week’s featured question was submitted for a member of the Merrill Fire Department
The question reads:
“Is it true the Merrill Fire fighters will come and do fire and safety inspections at folks homes? If so, what do the inspections include? I mean what do they do and what do they inspect when they come and is there a charge? If this isn’t true, do you have any ideas who does this sort of thing? I have an older home and just think it would be a good idea to have it looked over by someone who knows their stuff. Thank you and thank you for everything you do for our community!”
Answer as given by MFD Battalion Chief Steve Hintze:
“Well it is certainly true that Merrill Fire Department (MFD) personnel will do fire/safety inspections in private homes and structures of residents in the City of Merrill and Towns of Merrill, Scott, and Rock Falls; which is the fire coverage area provided by the MFD. It is a real benefit for those who utilize this service in an effort to keep themselves, family members, and their property safer, as well as just having the peace of mind, knowing that a safety expert has completed such an inspection in the occupied structure.
“Merrill Fire Department personnel not only have experience in looking for fire and safety hazards from the 1,000+ businesses and public facilities they inspect annually, but all MFD staff are also licensed through the State of Wisconsin, Department of Safety and Professional Services. Additionally, most Merrill Fire personnel have completed training and successfully passed the test for “State Certified Fire Inspector,” thus qualifying them as experts.
“State codes require all public buildings to be inspected at least annually by the fire personnel having jurisdiction within the fire departments coverage area. For their efforts, fire departments in Wisconsin receive monies from insurance companies for these services that may be utilized by the department orits governing municipality for ongoing efforts of fire prevention within the fire coverage area. Currently there is no code that requires or allows for an inspector to enter a private structure or residence without permission from the owner for fire inspections.
“So if an individual would like to schedule a home fire/safety inspection, they can call the Merrill Fire Department on their non-emergency phone line to request an in-home inspection at 715-536-2233. Merrill Fire Department personnel would arrive and follow protocol procedure for an inspection and give the resident advice on anything that may need to be replaced, changed, or updated in order to make the structure safer for those who may occupy it.
“When the fire/safety inspectors arrive they will utilize a systematic approach and evaluate all aspects from the outside of the home, to the basement and all the areas above grade as well. They will focus on such things as, “means of egress, floor surfaces, windows and doors, appliances, lighting, ventilation electrical, heating, and alarms. This service has been offered for years, for free, by the Merrill Fire Department, but really it hasn’t been utilized by the community for the most part. Just recently the department has teamed up with Good Samaritan Health Center in a program called “Community Paramedicine Program” (CPP) where these same cross trained personnel visit a patient who has been released from a medical facility and have gone back into their home to continue to recuperate. It is during the scheduled “CPP” visit by Merrill Fire/EMS personnel both a medical examination as well as an in home fire/safety inspection are completed, in an effort to keep that individual from a return trip to the hospital.”
Should you or a family member have further questions regarding this free service offered by the Merrill Fire Department, please call for more information or questions at 715-536-2233. Stay Safe!
Battalion Chief Steve Hintze
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