- About Fire Prevention
- Open Burning Permits
- Fire Code - Plan Review
- Life Safety Systems - Plan Review
- Public Education
- False Alarms
- Fire Investigation
- Fee Chart
What Does the Fire Prevention Bureau Do?
From the very beginnings of our country, destructive fires have impacted the development of communities and the lives of their people. The Jamestown settlement in Virginia suffered devastating fires in 1608 and again in 1623. As a response our country began establishing regulations to limit these destructive forces as early as 1692 with “An Act for Building with Stone or Brick in the Town of Boston, and Preventing Fires”. This act called for stone and brick construction, the enlargement of streets and lanes, and the presence of ladders, a cistern, a night watchman, and other protection devices.
Effective fire prevention programs include all activities that reduce the incidents of unwanted and uncontrolled fire while also ensuring a reasonable degree of fire and life safety for the occupants of structures should a fire occur. This process begins with performing plan reviews related to new construction, additions, renovations, and fire safety systems. Pre-construction meetings are offered by Durango Fire & Rescue Authority in an effort to provide the developer, renter or purchaser with valuable information so that they are aware of the potential requirements of the development of a particular site and use of that site. It is much less expensive to make changes to plans prior to submittal.
The Planning/Community Development Departments within the City and County become involved as the developer, renter or purchaser submits the project (generally a conceptual plan). The project is then officially submitted to the Fire Prevention Bureau for review. The Fire Prevention Bureau makes comment on the project including items such as fire department access, water supply, wildfire mitigation and any life safety systems that are required in that particular type of facility. Numerous other departments and organizations are involved in the process and make comment as well. A final site plan is submitted towards the end of this portion of the process. Once again, it is reviewed by the Fire Prevention Bureau for compliance with the adopted fire code.
Once the site plan is approved by planning and all other referrals, the building construction documents are submitted to the Building Department and the Fire Prevention Bureau for building and fire code review. Depending on the scope of the project this may be a one hour review or a multi-day review. Comments are sent back to the developer, renter or purchaser and then re-submitted once the comments are addressed. At this time the building permit is issued. Life safety systems are generally not submitted in conjunction with the building plan other than a note stating that they will be installed.
Life Safety Plans such as automatic fire sprinkler systems, fire alarms, kitchen hood suppression systems, clean agent systems, etc. are submitted once the general contractor has been hired and the building permitted. Once again, the plan review and permitting of each of these plans may require only one hour or many days depending on the complexity of the project. Once permitted the sub-contractor begins the installation.
Fire inspections are the next involvement of the Fire Prevention Bureau. Fire inspections will be performed on the facility for the life of the structure. The purpose of fire inspections is to provide appropriate assistance to contactors, building owners and occupants with the goal of achieving compliance with applicable and adopted fire safety laws, codes, regulations, and standards. Educated and informed owners and occupants are much more likely to maintain fire safety levels and conditions between formal fire safety inspections. Upon conclusion of the inspection; building, facility owners, or managers are informed of any code violations and corrective actions to be taken. All fire code violations must be documented and maintained as part of the building or facility records. All identified violations must be corrected in a timely manner.
When an unwanted or uncontrolled fire does occur the fire department responds and takes appropriate action to extinguish the fire. The fire will then be investigated for cause and origin by the Fire Prevention Bureau. Understanding the cause and origin is important for the community and public education efforts as well as identifying changes that need to occur in the codes that protect the community. Historically, fire code changes are a direct response to fires with a loss of life or significant cost to the community.
Public Education is an ongoing process of informing the public on how to prevent fires and what to do in the event of a fire. Most individuals today can remember the fire department in their school classroom teaching them to crawl low and the famous “stop, drop and roll”. Today, education extends beyond the classroom and into the homes and businesses. We provide fire extinguisher training, work with the elderly to ensure smoke detectors are operational, train dorm staff at the college on their roles to prevent fire, read stories to children at the library, and provide a juvenile fire setter program as well as many other activities. The public education program opens the door for long term relationships with our community.
La Plata County Fire Chiefs Association
Open Burning Permit System Instituted
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The La Plata County Fire Chiefs are rolling out an open burning permit system. The new system is in response to numerous calls that local fire departments take each year regarding “controlled burns” that have gone “out of control” or “smoke reports” only to find that it is a “controlled burn” that someone neglected to call in to the Dispatch Center. These types of 911 incidents place the fire department’s valuable resources in a situation where they are unavailable to respond to emergency calls, and could cause a delayed response to the next “emergency.”
The Burn Permit Program is designed to first and foremost educate those who will be performing open burning. The goal is to ensure that the burn is done safely and that it does not endanger a resident, their property, their neighbors’ property, or the community. The burn permit program will require the person burning to contact their local fire department and request an open burn permit, and that is where the education will begin.
Goals of the open burn permit program are to:
- Educate the public regarding how to safely use fire as a tool to dispose of unwanted slash or approved debris, thereby reducing the potential for property damage and injuries.
- Assist in the reduction of hazard fuels on private property which will result in safer conditions for residents and emergency responders.
- Reduce the number of false or nuisance calls related to open burning.
- Reduce the number of “Out of Control” burns in La Plata County.
The Burn Permit Program will go into effect on June 4th, 2012. There will be further information and public education on this new program prior to this effective date. Permits for the first year will be free of charge and there will not be any citations issued for infractions (unless there is willful and wanton misconduct). The permits will be issued by each respective fire agency following their specific guidelines and hours of operation. Most permits will be issued for a single event or a series of small events. Permits may be picked up at each agency or downloaded from their fire department’s Web page.
Burning will not be allowed on days when the fire danger is high or a Red Flag Watch or Warning has been issued. A “RED FLAG DAY” is one where there is a high potential for rapid fire growth due to high temperatures, high winds, and low humidity.
After a burn permit has been issued – and prior to burning -- the permittee must call the Communications Center at 385-2900 to notify them of their plans. Permit holders in the Ignacio area should call 563-4401. Information such as name and location will be logged so if a 911 call is received, Central Dispatch will be able to relay information about the burn being conducted or contact the responsible party.
Fire is a part of our ecosystem and should be encouraged, but it is vitally important to burn safely. Residents must communicate open burning, maintain control of any open burn, and assure that they do not allow any harm to their property, their neighbors, or the community.
Fire Code Plan Review Process
Durango Fire & Rescue Authority is responsible for enforcing the adopted fire code(s) and referenced code(s) in the City of Durango and that portion of La Plata County within the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority District. Currently the City of Durango and La Plata County have adopted the 2003 International Fire Code and the codes and standards referenced within the fire code. The fire code plan review is performed for new construction and existing building expansion/renovation on all structures other than those governed by the residential code. The purpose is to ensure that the construction is done per the fire code and the drawings are correct prior to construction thereby reducing on-site corrections and construction cost.
Step 1: Submittal includes the following documentation:
- Application and fee payment,
- Contact information for owner/developer, project manager and general contractor,
- Site Plan (location of building on site, access including manual and automatic gates, water lines, electric line are some examples), and
- Construction Plans (building data summary, architectural drawings, mechanical drawings, electrical drawings, plumbing drawings, structural drawings). Drawings may be in pdf format and provided on a disk.
The above items shall be submitted to the Fire Prevention Bureau at 104 Sheppard Drive prior to building permit issuance. If the project does not require a building permit, please schedule an appointment with the Fire Prevention Bureau prior to construction to determine what items will be needed for a review.
Step 2: The plans will be reviewed and returned within two weeks.
Step 3: Corrections to the plans are required to be submitted back to the Bureau for acceptance prior to construction.
Step 4: Corrections are reviewed and accepted; the plans are stamped as “final and accepted”. Additional fees may be assessed if plans are not complete and correct at this time.
Fees are based on the International Code Council Building Valuation Table of August 2011. Included in the fee is the fire code plan review, review of the corrected items identified in the fire code plan review, building inspection and one re-inspection. Additional reviews and inspections are subject to additional fees. Examples of where the additional fees may occur include not addressing the original concerns identified in the review or large change orders.
Life Safety System Plan Reviews
Life Safety System Plan Reviews include automatic fire sprinkler systems, standpipes, fire pumps, specialized suppression systems such as clean agents, commercial cooking fire suppression systems, and fire alarms. The life safety system plan review is performed for new construction and existing building expansion/renovation of structures. The purpose is to ensure that the construction is done per the fire code and National Fire Protection Association standards and that the drawings are correct prior to construction thereby reducing on-site inspection corrections.
Step 1: Submittal includes the following documentation:
- Application and fee payment;
- Contact information for owner/developer, project manager, general contractor, and sub-contractor;
- Drawings associated with fire suppression systems (including standpipes and fire pumps) and fire alarms shall be designed by a current NICET III at a minimum;
- Complete set of drawings for fire suppression system includes layout, hydraulic calculations, and specification sheets;
- Complete set of drawings for fire alarm system includes layout, battery calculations, matrix, and specification sheets;
- Complete set of drawings for commercial kitchen hood suppression systems includes layout, temperature ratings, and specification sheets;
The above items shall be submitted to the Fire Prevention Bureau at 104 Sheppard Drive. The plans will be reviewed and returned within two weeks.
Step 2: Any corrections to the plans are required to be submitted back to the Bureau for acceptance and permitting. No construction in relation to the permitted item shall be done prior to permitting.
Step 3: Permit issued
The permit is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance. If work is not completed within the time frame an extension can be requested for up to 6 months (a fee is associated with this).
Step 4: Inspection(s) as identified on the permit.
Inspections must be scheduled 48 hours in advance. If the work to be inspected is not complete at the time of the scheduled inspection or the work is incorrect, a re-inspection is required and a re-inspection fee is assessed. The fee must be paid prior to re-inspection scheduling at 104 Sheppard Drive.
Step 5: As-builts provided to property owner/representative and the fire department.
The City of Durango’s and La Plata County’s adoption of the International Fire Code authorizes and requires the Fire Department to inspect all commercial properties subject to fire regulations. A fire prevention inspection program has been developed to meet this requirement. Inspections are divided into four categories: general, business license, liquor license, and medical marijuana licenses.
The goal of the Fire Prevention Bureau is for all businesses, operations, occupancies, and events of the City of Durango and La Plata County to be safe, successful and in accordance with the codes. Fire Inspections play a key part in meeting this goal. All Durango Fire & Rescue Authority Fire Inspectors perform business inspections as well as construction inspections as required by code.
The scope of these inspections is identifying fire hazards (i.e. electrical cords, combustible storage, blocked exits and hazardous conditions). Violations are written by the Fire Inspector and require a re-inspection to ensure compliance with the code requirements. Non-compliance may generate fees and legal action. The fee for re-inspection is $100.00 per re-inspection. On occasion it may be beneficial to the business owner to request that inspections occur before 7:30 am or after 4:30 pm. This can be accommodated but does require a payment of $38.50 per inspector per hour.
A business owner or developer may request a modification or variance waiver for a particular non-compliant scenario. An application form for this can be found in Appendix B. The applicant shall complete the application and submit it to the Fire Prevention. The inspector involved in the inspection shall submit their comments on the form and the completed application will then be submitted to the Fire Marshal for review. The Fire Marshal may grant or deny such request. If the business owner or developer would like to pursue this to the next level, both the City of Durango and La Plata County have a Board of Appeals to address these issues. Contact the City or County for fees and process.
Business Licenses are initiated at the Office of the City Clerk. A copy of the application is submitted to the fire department. The fire department will contact the applicant upon reception of the application to schedule the inspection. The applicant shall pay the fire department fee for the business license inspection prior to performing the inspection. The fee shall be paid at 104 Sheppard Drive. At this point, the inspection process shall perform as shown in the flow chart. Business license sign off requires correction of all violations identified during the inspections. On occasion the business license inspection will identify changes to the building or addition of processes that previously were not reviewed for code compliance. This may or may not require a fire code plan review.
Liquor Licenses are initiated at the Office of the City Clerk. A copy of the application is submitted to the fire department. The fire department will contact the applicant upon reception of the application to schedule the inspection. The applicant shall pay the fire department fee for the business license inspection prior to performing the inspection. The fee shall be paid at 104 Sheppard Drive. At this point, the inspection process shall perform as shown in the flow chart.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Grow Licenses require annual inspections. The fire department annual fee for these licenses must be paid prior to inspection. Once paid, the fire department will schedule the inspection. Sign off on the annual license requires correction to all violations identified in the inspection.
General/regular inspections are performed according to the flow chart .
All of the Fire Inspectors are certified through the International Code Council and take continuing education classes to maintain their skill level and certification. For any questions regarding the inspection program or violations, please contact us (970)382-6000 and ask for the Fire Prevention Bureau.
Durango Fire & Rescue Authority offers various education programs such as:
Durango Fire & Rescue Authority offers fire extinguisher training to our community. The training includes classroom and hands on activities. The training is scheduled by contacting the Public Education Coordinator at 970-382-6000. The fee for the training is $50.00 for twenty or less students and $75.00 for twenty-one or more students.
The fire safety trailer was purchased with the use of funding from a grant. The trailer can be used to educate children and adults on items such as escape out of a window, crawl low in smoke, how automatic fire sprinkler systems work, etc. Contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 970-382-6000 for scheduling of this great opportunity.
False and Nuisance Alarms
For the purpose of this document, the following definitions shall apply:
- False Alarm shall consist of an automatic alarm system malfunction that for any reason calls the Central Alarm company that monitors the alarm system which dispatches Authority personnel or equipment after failing to contact the responsible party;
- Nuisance Alarm are alarms in which the Authority is requested to respond by a central security alarm company when no emergency exists. Examples include, but are not limiting to; cooking, demolition, bug bombs, and internal activation;
- Responsible Party shall mean that person including individuals, corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships or any other legal entity who is responsible for the operation or maintenance of an automatic alarm system.
For each false or nuisance alarm occurring within a calendar year, beginning January 1 through December 31, the following schedule of fees is enforced:
- For the first two false/nuisance alarms Written Warning
- For the 3rd false/nuisance alarm $200.00
- For the 4th false/nuisance alarm $300.00
- For the 5th false/nuisance alarm $500.00
- For each additional false/nuisance alarm thereafter $500.00
Fees shall accrue interest at the rate of 18% per annum, which shall be charged for all penalties which are not paid within 30 days. The fees and accruing interest shall constitute a perpetual lien on and against the property served and may be foreclosed in the manner provided by the laws of the State of Colorado for foreclosure of mortgages.
The responsible party or their representative shall repair the automatic alarm system following any written warning. The responsible party or their representative shall notify the Authority and the Authority may inspect the system for the purpose of satisfying the Authority’s interests only. The Authority assumes no obligation to inform the responsible party of any inspection results and shall incur no liability as a result of its inspection or decision not to inspect any automatic alarm system. The Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, when responding to any alarm within the Authority’s District shall not reset any alarm system unless there is no responsible party available to reset the alarm.
Durango Fire & Rescue Authority performs cause and origin fire investigations to identify the causes of fires within our community. Upon completion of the investigation, reports are generated that are available upon written request. Fees for the reports are as follows:
Minimum Charge (up to 5 pages) - $10.00
Each Additional Page - $1.25
Each Photo in the Report - $1.00
Each Disk - $10.00
All requests for reports shall be submitted to:
Fire Prevention Bureau
Durango Fire & Rescue Authority
104 Sheppard Drive
Durango, Colorado 81303
Effective January 1, 2012
Fire Code Plan Review
|$0.00 - $500.00||$35.00|
|$501 - $2000.00||$50.00|
|$2001 - $25,000||$75.00|
|$25,001 - $50,000||$150.00|
|$50,001 - $100,000||$300.00|
|$100,001 - $500,000||$500.00|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||$750.00|
|$1,000,001 and up||$1,000.00|
|*Project Valuation is based on the International Code Council Valuation Table|
Life Safety System Plan Review
|NFPA 13D/Combination System < 3600 Sq. Ft.||$100.00|
|NFPA 13D/Combination System 3600 to 6000 Sq. Ft.||$200.00|
|NFPA 13D/Combination System 6001 or > Sq. Ft.||$300.00|
|NFPA 13/13R Sprinkler System||$250.00 - Plus $2.00 per Sprinkler Head|
|NFPA 13/13R Sprinkler System Small Project||$50.00 - Plus $2.00 per Sprinkler Head Added, Deleted or Relocated|
(Small Project – less than 20 head remodel as defined by the State of Colorado)
|NFPA 14 Standpipes||$200.00|
|NFPA 20 Fire pumps for NFPA 13/13R Systems||$200.00|
|Commercial Cooking Fire Suppression System||$200.00|
|Other Fire Suppression System (i.e. clean agent)||$250.00|
|NFPA 72 Fire Alarm (new)||$200.00 - Plus $2.00 per device|
|NFPA 72 Fire Alarm (remodels/additions)||$100.00 - Plus $2.00 per Device Added, Deleted, or Relocated|
|< 6000 Sq. Ft.||$300.00|
|6000 Sq. Ft and >||$600.00|
Required State Inspections
|Assisted Living Facility/Nursing Homes||$38.50 per hour per inspector|
|Daycare/Childcare||$38.50 per hour per inspector|
|Amusement Buildings Operational Permit||$100.00 Annual|
|Carnivals and Fairs Operational Permit||$75.00 per Event|
|Explosives Operational Permit||$100.00 Annual|
|Open Burning Permit||$0.00|
|Pyrotechnic Special Effects Operational Permit||$400.00 per Event|
|Battery Systems Operational Permit||$50.00 Annual|
|Temporary Tent/Canopy <1000 Sq. Ft. Permit||$50.00 per Event|
|Temporary Tent/Canopy 1000 Sq. Ft. or > Permit||$100.00 Annual|
|High Piled Storage Operations Permit||$100.00 Annual|
|Hazardous Materials Operations Permit||$100.00 Annual|
|Solar Construction Permit||$50.00 Construction|
|After Hour Inspection Fee||$60.00 per Hour Per Inspector|
|Business License Inspection Fee||$35.00|
|Liquor License Inspection Fee||$35.00|
|Medical Marijuana License Fee||$35.00|
|Re-Issuance/Calculate Occupancy Load Signs||$35.00|
Public Education Fees
|Fireworks||Cost based on manpower and equipment needs|
|Fire Extinguisher Training (20 or less students)||$50.00|
|Fire Extinguisher Training (21 plus students)||$75.00|
|Safety Trailer Rental||$0.00|
Fire Investigation Fees
|Minimum Charge (up to 5 pages)||$10.00|
|Each Additional Page||$1.25|
|Each Photo in the Report||$1.00|
False and Nuisance Alarms
|False/Nuisance Alarm (first two)||$0.00|
|False/Nuisance Alarm (3rd Alarm)||$200.00|
|False/Nuisance Alarm (4th Alarm)||$300.00|
|False/Nuisance Alarm (5th or more Alarm)||$500.00|