Coopersburg Fire Chief: We Need Commercial Building Inspections, Permits
A joint-effort could take the place of current borough run program, and could include fire inspection and permitting for commericial buildings
Coopersburg Fire Chief Kevin Farnish wants fire inspections and permits issued for commercial businesses using hazardous materials.
The Coopersburg Public Safety committee, which includes Tim Passhaus and Jon Walters discussed the issue at the April 2 meeting. Passage could include possible fire inspections and permitting, as well as oversight of the inspections and citations, for commercial buildings in the Borough on Monday night.
Farnish, a Bucks County Community College-certified Fire Inspector, conducts inspections for Emmaus. “Because I'm involved in Emmaus, I thought a program [would be a huge asset for Coopersburg],” Farnish said.
An international fire code, adopted by Coopersburg in 2009, sets parameters on inspecting and permits for commercial buildings, and would be the foundation of any program implimented.
Coopersburg and the fire company are separate entities, so oversight for the program needs to be discussed, said Tim Paashaus. “What isn't clear yet is who oversees it and how that entity would be accountable."
If the inspections follwed the Emmaus model, inspections could be conducted on fire extinguishers, commercial use of gases, and emergency lighting for exit signs. Permits could be used to catalog the types of materials in commercial structures, a huge asset during a crisis. "Its informational for us to know were the different things are,” Farnish said.
Citation amounts could be a point of contention, says Paashaus. Howeer Farnish says citations are few and far between. “In five years of doing this I’ve never given anybody a citation,” Farnish said.
Information gathered could be used by the fire company in emergencies. “It’s advantageous to know what it is you’re up against,” said Farnish.
Though the process of formalizing permits could take some time, Farnish would like inspections to begin sooner than later.
"Whether we get a permit program or not I would like to have inspections,” said Farnish.