Fire Department self-inspection program lowers business costs

Fire Department self-inspection program lowers business costs
Posted on 07/20/2016

The Redlands Fire Department conducts fire and life safety inspections on an annual basis to ensure that businesses adhere to the requirements of the California Fire Code. As an additional option for certain business types, the department is launching the Business Occupant Safety Survey (BOSS) occupant performed fire safety assessment program.

The Redlands City Council approved the BOSS program in an effort to reduce the impact of government fees on small businesses within Redlands. Traditional Redlands Fire Department inspections have a fee starting at $135. The BOSS program allows qualifying business types to save money over a two-year period.

Eligible businesses may now elect on alternating years to participate in the BOSS program by completing three simple steps. First, when the BOSS form comes in the mail, identify their business type from the list on the fire safety survey. Second, complete and sign the fire safety survey form. And finally, mail the completed survey in the enclosed self-addressed envelope to the Redlands Fire Department along with a check for only $22.

The BOSS Program is intended to be an educational program for small businesses and building owners. It equips them with critical knowledge they need to keep their employees, customers, and property fire safe under the requirements of the California Fire Code. Educational materials combined with a fire safety survey checklist, allow the business owner and their employees to be familiar with the safety inspection process from start to finish. The BOSS checklist will be mailed every other year depending on address to verify that hazards do not exist within your business or building.

The Redlands Fire Department’s BOSS program targets small, light hazard, commercial occupancies that do not normally have a high occupant load. Light hazard occupancies are locations where there is a relatively low amount of combustible materials within the occupied space, including furnishings, decorations, and other contents. These occupancies may include: small businesses or professional offices, small retail shops, and small personal service shops such as barber shops, beauty shops, or nail salons. If a business fits into this category, it may be eligible to conduct its own fire safety survey. Occupants may elect to complete the safety surveys more often; however, a reminder will be mailed and e-mailed to qualifying businesses every two years.

Business owners completing the survey can access a web link for additional information about the checklist at: http://www.cityofredlands.org/fire/prevention

The Redlands Fire Prevention staff is available to answer any questions at (909) 798-7601. Businesses may also elect to opt out of the BOSS program and ask for a regular fire inspection.

Here is a partial list of businesses types that under normal conditions MAY be eligible:

  • Ambulatory health care facilities serving five or fewer patients 
  • Animal hospitals, kennels, and pounds
  • Banks
  • Barber and beauty shops
  • Car washes
  • Clinic and outpatient offices
  • Dry cleaners and laundromats with pick-up and delivery stations, and self-service
  • Smaller educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade
  • Electronic data processing offices
  • Motor vehicle showrooms
  • Post offices
  • Print shops
  • Professional services (architects, attorneys, dentists, physicians, engineers, etc.)
  • Radio and television stations
  • Training and skill development not within a school or academic program

Businesses that are ineligible for the “BOSS” Inspection program which include those businesses that present a larger potential for life and/or dollar loss, will be inspected by Redlands Fire Department personnel. These inspections include schools, hospitals, large care facilities, hazardous occupancies and assembly occupancies such as restaurants, movie theaters, and auditoriums.

Based on individual conditions, history of fire code violations, construction type, the presence of other hazards, and/or activities that require permitting, the Fire Department retains the right to require a Fire Department staff conducted inspection.

 “This is a partnership with our business community,” said Fire Chief Jeff Frazier. “For the BOSS program to work, we need the business owners to take the safety survey process seriously and return the completed form to the Department.” 

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce applauds the program for its cost savings benefit.

“The Chamber of Commerce is delighted that the Fire Department has implemented the BOSS program and encourages the business community to embrace it with enthusiasm,” said Chamber Executive Director Kathie Thurston. “Anytime there is an opportunity for the business community to experience a reduction in fees, it’s time to celebrate.” 

Thurston commends the Boss program for being simple for businesses to complete. “The Chamber has worked with the Department to refine and simplify the survey, making it user friendly and easy to do. This is another example of business and government working together to become more efficient and effective.”

The BOSS inspection program launched July 1.