Monthly Report from the Chief


March 2017
TO: President and Board Members, Kensington Fire Protection District
FROM: Lance Maples, Fire Chief
SUBJECT: Fire Chief's Report

2016 Fire Prevention DivisionUpdate
In 2016, the El Cerrito-Kensington Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division continued to have a busy and very successful year. Major programs in the Division include: mercantile fire safety inspections; new building construction which includes plan reviews and field inspections; public education and the weed abatement program. These four programs keep the Prevention Division extremely busy throughout the year and provide the Division with its greatest challenges and rewards.

Fire Safety Inspections
Kensington and El Cerrito have over 500 businesses that are inspected annually by on-duty engine companies. There are six types of inspections engine companies conduct, being: general fire safety inspections, educational facilities, fire sprinkler inspections, fire alarm inspections, hazardous occupancy inspections and commercial cooking fire suppression (hood & duct) inspections. Many of the businesses that are inspected by engine companies receive multiple inspections concurrently (e.g. fire safety, fire sprinkler) and some require all six inspection types to be conducted. Of these 500 plus businesses, the Department attained a 97% completion rate. The businesses that do not comply are forwarded to the Fire Prevention Officer to ensure Fire Code compliance is met. The Department's comprehensive Fire Safety Inspection Program achieves one of the lowest fire losses in commercial occupancies in the state.

New Building Construction Inspections
New building construction includes plan review, onsite inspections and final inspections. In 2016 the Division completed 82 El Cerrito-Kensington plan reviews and more than 142 El Cerrito-Kensington construction site inspections. Compared to 2015, the overall number of new construction inspected increased due to the overall economic improvement statewide. Construction site inspected conducted by the Prevention Division mainly focus on Life Safety Systems. The majority of these site inspections include fire sprinkler, fire alarm system installation and acceptance, water supply and hydrant spacing, commercial cooking facility fire suppression systems, and emergency exiting and lighting.

Public Education
The car seat installation public education program continues to evolve. The infant car seat installation and training program is a great success. The success of this program can be measured by the reduced number of car seat installations required to be completed by the Fire Department. As more Kensington and El Cerrito residents are trained to safely install their own car seats, the number of car seat re-installations by the Fire Department for newly purchased car seats or car seats being moved from one car to another is not needed. This also goes for second, third or more children being brought into the home, the parents are able to install their own car seats.

Because of the success of this program there were 48 car seats installed for El Cerrito and Kensington residents in 2016 resulting in a slight drop in the total number of car seats installed by the Department compared to 2015.

The Fire Safety Trailer continues to be a great success in public education. This year the Department conducted fire safety education for more than 2,600 people of all ages. The Fire Department has been extremely active in seeking opportunities to educate the public in fire safety such as fire station tours, going to public and private schools, and other public events like Tri-City Safety Day and Fourth of July. The Fire Safety Trailer has been used at several City-sponsored events as well as business-sponsored events and draws large numbers of participants.

In addition, the Department conducted six CPR/First Aid classes for the public that drew 100 students. The residents of Kensington and El Cerrito are excited and eager to seize every opportunity to learn about fire safety.

Weed Abatement Program
The Weed Abatement Program remains the Department's most challenging and time consuming program, consuming hundreds of labor hours. The program consists of inspecting every property within Kensington and El Cerrito, identifying fire hazards, and having those fire hazards removed or brought into acceptable levels. After every property is inspected, a letter of non-compliance is sent to those properties and property owners that do not comply with the "Vegetation Management Standards". In 2016, the Department sent out notices of non-compliance to 360 property owners in El Cerrito and 69 properties in Kensington. All but two of the El Cerrito and one of the Kensington properties were brought into compliance voluntarily. This was achieved through the hard, diligent work of Prevention Division personnel who made hundreds of phone calls and numerous site visits to educate property owners about risk and standards they are required to maintain.