Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

E. Scott Dunlap

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Abstract

This research paper will evaluate the value of conducting fire prevention inspections within the commercial occupancy and the associated reduction in the occurrence of fires. While the fire problem within the United States has experienced a decline in the number of fires and fire related injuries, the reality is that the nation continues to experience significant fire loss. With the introduction of more comprehensive codes and standards, the enforcement of fire regulations becomes paramount in maintaining a fire safe community. Typically, fire prevention enforcement is accomplished through annual fire inspections performed by the fire department. While personnel within the fire prevention division have primarily performed fire inspections, increasingly more and more departments are utilizing firefighters to perform fire inspections in order to meet the increasing demand for inspections. The ideal solution for determining the effectiveness of fire prevention activities would be to measure the number of fires abated by the efforts of fire prevention inspections. However, directly measuring what has not occurred is not a reasonable means of evaluating fire prevention effectiveness. A reasonable methodology is found in evaluating the reduction in the number of fires for a defined population through the efforts of fire prevention. This research demonstrates the positive impact that annual fire prevention inspections have on reducing the occurrence of fires in the commercial occupancy. As the demand for community dollars becomes increasingly more competitive, the need to justify and account for each dollar are substantially escalated, and the efforts of fire prevention are often the victim of budgetary reductions imposing an unintentional impact to the community.

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