The addition of two fire-prevention officers to the Bellevue Fire Department has made a positive difference in the city, according to documents shared at the Jan. 13 extended city council study session.
In part because of the hires, who were implemented last year after a 2018 authorization from the council, Bellevue fire completed all of its assigned fire-prevention maintenance inspections (1,452 buildings/4,966 tenants), according to meeting documents.
The numbers show an increase from previous years. In 2018, 1,213 fire-prevention inspections were completed out of 1,423 assigned buildings (about 85 percent completion). In 2017, 1,028 of 1,375 assigned building inspections were completed (about 75 percent).
Added personnel also helped, according to the meeting agenda item: “The ability to conduct extensive customer outreach regarding the upcoming fire-inspection fees and allowed staff to address countless fire-code violations.”
The inspection fee, which was put into effect Jan. 1 of this year, will support the fire-inspection program. According to the city of Bellevue’s website, the fee is established for a specific space based on three factors: a $180 base rate, the amount of square footage of a property and how the residence is classified.
Fire-code violation examples include exit doors being blocked and/or unable to be opened without a key code, flammable decorations in hallways, and outdated sprinkler heads.
As part of fire-prevention efforts, Bellevue fire also put into place on Jan. 1 a new software called Streamline. Used while the department inspects buildings and its tenants, the system provides self-certification features, automatic receipts and a more streamlined tool for staff to collect inspection information.
There is no fiscal impact to the city as a result of the fire-prevention program, according to meeting documents.
The meeting agenda item notes that the need for updated fire prevention practices is in part due to growth in Bellevue.
“In the past five years, over 10 million square feet of new construction has been added to the built environment,” it states. “Every existing building in Bellevue and our contract cities and each subsequent building that comes online becomes the responsibility of Fire Prevention to ensure that all life and safety features of the buildings are maintained for both the occupants and our emergency responders.”
For more on the update, go to the Jan. 13 extended study session meeting agenda item (https://bit.ly/2RofE9d). To learn more about fire-prevention inspections, go to the city of Bellevue’s website (https://bit.ly/2FYUs4r).