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Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue restarts annual fire safety inspections

Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue fire marshals have restarted thorough annual fire safety walk-throughs of local businesses, restaurants, shopping plazas, industrial buildings, hotels, and apartments. These fire safety inspections have been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue Public Information and Education Officer Heather Chadwick, March 8, 2021.

Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue provides much more than emergency response to fires, medical events, hazardous material spills, and technical rescues. We work hard to prevent these incidents from occurring.

The Division of Fire & Life Safety is home to the Office of the Fire Marshal where our specially trained staff provide proactive fire safety inspections and fire code enforcement for the cities of Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, and Monroe.

Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue employs three fire marshals who are certified by the International Code Council in fire code inspection, enforcement, and plan review.

In addition, the fire marshals hold credentials as certified firefighters, paramedics, hazardous materials technicians, and fire investigators.

Together, these dedicated employees have over 30 years of experience as fire marshals.

The Washington Survey and Rating Bureau assesses the capability of fire service providers within the State of Washington. One of the four categories of the fire service rating focuses on fire safety; specifically the frequency of fire safety inspections, certifications held by fire marshals, and years of experience working as a fire marshal.

Due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and safety protocols that were put in place, annual fire safety inspections were placed on hold in 2020. As the county continues to follow the Governor’s reopening plan, Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue has restarted annual fire safety inspections within our protected cities. 

Fire safety inspections are thorough walk-throughs of our local businesses, restaurants, shopping plazas, industrial buildings, hotels, and apartments to identify any conditions that may cause a fire or injury.

Once a fire safety inspection is complete, the business owner is given a written list of violations that must be corrected by the business owner within a given timeframe. While each city’s municipal code is different, in general, fire marshals have to authority to issue penalty fees and close businesses that do not fix dangerous fire and safety violations.

Per Washington State law, Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue enforces the 2018 International Fire Code with Washington amendments. The top 10 fire code violations found in our local businesses by our fire marshals are:

1. Emergency lights not working, needing new bulbs or batteries.
2. Fire extinguishers needing annual service.
3. Misuse of extension cords.
4. New keys are needed for the fire district key box.
5. Ceiling tiles or holes in walls need to be repaired.
6. Exit signs not working, needing new bulbs or batteries.
7. Fire sprinkler or fire alarm systems need annual service or repair.
8. Cooking hood suppression systems need biannual service or repair.
9. Open electrical wiring needs to be covered.
10. Electrical panels and shut-offs are blocked.

Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue’s goal is to inspect all businesses for fire safety at least annually to help maintain and improve the level of safety in our community for our citizens and emergency responders.

We are able to accomplish this by employing expertly trained fire marshals, using robust computer systems and software, and working as a collaborative partner with our cities and business owners.

For more information on our fire marshal services, request an inspection, or to file a citizen fire code complaint please call (360) 794-7666 or email us at RiskReduction@SnoFire7.org.

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