City of El Centro

Fire Department

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Fire Prevention

Engine Company Inspection Program-Annual Fire Permit/Fire Code Compliance Inspections

Fire Captains conduct annual inspections of buildings that require fire code permits and/or pose a higher level of risk to life safety . Buildings and businesses that require fire code permits include: hazardous materials storage or processing, places of assembly, combustible dust producing processes, use and storage of flammable or combustible liquids. Other routinely inspected occupancies include multi-family residential, hotels, educational, health care. The purpose of annual inspections is to 1) promote safe practices by raising the occupant’s level of awareness and 2) provide an opportunity for firefighters to become more familiar with the building layout and any hazards within.

Business Self-Inspection Program

If business or occupancy fails to meet a provision of the fire code the owner is notified and given reasonable time to fix the problem.  A re-inspection will be conducted to confirm that fire and life safety standards are met.  When all normal enforcement efforts are exhausted violations are pursued through legal action; issuance of citation.

New Construction, Tenant Improvement Inspections, and Business License Inspections

The Fire Department provides technical assistance to the Community Development Department for plan review and inspection services to ensure that buildings and life safety systems are constructed in accordance with applicable codes. All construction and systems plans are submitted to the Community Development Department who determines whether an in-house review is appropriate or if the plans need to be sent to an outside plan review consultant. Site inspections are conducted by the Community Development Department. The Fire Department provides assistance as requested. This method has resulted in streamlined processes, reduced duplicated efforts, and has reduced inspection fees charged to the business owner.

Special Inspections

Special inspections occur when unsafe situations during special events, peak occupancy times or in response to a citizen complaint.

Business Self-Inspection Program

The Self-Inspection Program is utilized as a tool for businesses that do not require Fire Code Permits. Businesses conduct their own inspection utilizing forms and instructions we provide.  These lower risk businesses complete the self-inspection checklist and submit them for review.  A fire department inspection will occur if the business does not respond or if they request to be removed from the program. Inspection fees will then be applied.

Fire Investigation

The Fire Department investigates all fires to determine origin and cause.  Whether arson or accidental, origin and cause determination assists in identifying hazards and dangerous practices and helps prevent future fires.  Investigation results are analyzed to determine if local trends or practices can be identified and future fires prevented through public education.  For example, educating people on safe practices for using candles, space heaters or other gas and electric devices.

Public Education

Fire Station Tours and our annual open-house event are the foundation of our public education program. The majority of station tours occur during October. These tours provide an opportunity to educate school aged children about fire safe practices including: responding to the sound of a smoke alarm, how to exit a house safely and where to meet once outside, 9-1-1, stop drop and roll. Our annual open house event corresponds with the National Fire Protection Association’s fire prevention week. During this event we educate the public about a number of fire safety related topics and invite our partners to participate. The Burn Institute and American Red Cross have regularly participated. Safety messages are aimed at all age groups with focused messages for school aged children and senior citizens. Handout material is provided that reinforces safety messages.

Who is the Fire Marshal?

The California Fire Code assigns the responsibilities of fire code compliance and fire prevention to the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief may designate a Fire Marshal. The City Code allows the City Manager to assign code enforcement duties including fire code enforcement.  Utilizing both mechanisms allows for an efficient approach to fire prevention. Code enforcement duties are handled through the joint, cooperative efforts of both the Community Development Department and the Fire Department. Shift Fire Battalion Chiefs, Fire Captains, Community Development Department Building Official, Inspectors and Code Enforcement Officer have assigned areas of responsibility to meet the goals and objectives of Fire Prevention. 

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Community Newsletter Summer 2023