Burton Fire implements new program for building inspections

Burton Fire implements new program for building inspections

BURTON, S.C. (WTOC) - People living in Burton may start to see firefighters around town more often.

Burton’s new fire engine company inspection program brings firefighters in to look at building safety features during inspections.

The Bluffton Fire District is focused on being proactive, not just reactive, which is why they want the people who will be doing the saving - to be the ones looking at buildings before fires happen.

The engine company inspection program is designed to help the fire marshal of Burton Fire District make sure every building is safe. Through the program, businesses will have their yearly inspection, as expected, but can expect to see a fire truck and three firefighters trained in fire safety and inspection to review their building, rather than just a fire marshal. They review things like whether or not the hallway is clear, if sprinkler systems are operating, whether there is a fire extinguisher, and if anyone knows how to use it. They also review whether or not emergency lights and exits work.

Captain Dan Byrne started a similar program when he worked with the City of Beaufort. Now, he’s bringing it to Burton. He says it makes the most sense because it helps the firefighters that will actually be responding to emergencies to be more comfortable and familiar with the buildings they are running into.

“Here at Burton, we are doing things a little bit differently. We have our engine companies trained on fire codes, so they will be going out and doing the very basic fire inspections, and with our community risk reduction division, it allows us to also provide an education component, whereas before, we were just restricted to one person handling that entire load," Byrne said. “Now, we can divide it up between inspection and education.”

The program also frees up the fire marshal to focus on buildings like schools and hospitals, where evacuation and safety may be more delicate.

Captain Byrne says this way, residents can see their tax dollars in use every day, rather than just when there is an emergency.

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