NY city's fire inspections up since contract approval

Lockport Chief Patrick Brady said he hopes to have inspections on apartments, large businesses and public spaces up to date by the end of the year

By Tim Fenster
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Fire inspections of large businesses, apartments and public spaces have increased significantly in the past year and Chief Patrick Brady hopes to have those inspections up-to-date by year's end.

Brady partly attributes the increase to the city approving a new contract with Lockport Professional Firefighters Association last July; as part of the deal, firefighters agreed to assist in scheduling fire prevention code inspections with property owners. The union's prior contract prevented firefighters from assisting secretarial work, leaving only Brady to handle scheduling.

In his Tuesday report to the city Fire Board, Brady added that state law requires annual fire code inspection of "assembly spaces," which include places of worship, theaters, recreational arenas and restaurants with capacities above 50 people. Meanwhile, smaller restaurants, retail spaces and offices must be inspected every three to five years. Brady said the department is currently focused on assembly spaces, after which he hopes they can catch up on inspecting other buildings.

"We'll be working diligently to inspect all assembly spaces, and then we'll start in on businesses and mercantiles as time allows," Brady said.

Previously, a state comptroller's audit report dinged the city for its manner of handling fire prevention code inspections. In 2012, the city hosted about 600 properties subject to fire code inspection. The comptroller's office checked records on a "sample" of 100 properties and determined timely inspections were not done at 92 of them. In addition, auditors found, some properties were not billed for inspection as they should have been.

According to city officials, timely fire inspections and billing could generate about $45,000 revenue for the city annually. Presently the fee is $100 per inspection.

In other news, Brady said Lockport Fire Department's application for a certificate to perform Advanced Life Support is about two-thirds complete.

In February 2017, LFD received a two-year Advanced Life Support First Response certificate, intended to cover the lengthy application period for the certificate.

Firefighters began performing ALSFR in August, after completing training and adopting standard operating procedures. The certification allows LFD to provide life support in emergency medical calls in cases when firefighters arrive before Twin City Ambulance paramedics.

The certificate application process requires submitting dozens of pages of documents to regional and state medical councils, as well as to the state Department of Health. The temporary ALSFR application is effective until Dec. 28 of this year.

Copyright 2018 Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

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