How the city keeps buildings in Tyler safe - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

How the city keeps buildings in Tyler safe

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TYLER (KYTX) -  May is national Building Safety Month.

From homes to skyscrapers, this is a time to teach Americans about ways to keep themselves safe in buildings filled with potential hazards.

This week focuses on fire protection.

The city's fire department and Fire Marshal's Office do fire safety inspections of every commercial business in Tyler each year. That's roughly 6,000 buildings!

Inspectors check things like fire extinguishers to make sure they're working properly, and they're following codes. An example of one of those codes is that people inside the building shouldn't have to travel more than 75 feet to reach an extinguisher.

There is much more to regulation than just these codes.

"Fire protection systems, exits, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms."

Tyler Fire Marshal Paul Findley says while those are precautions you should take in your home or a business, efforts to keep you safe from fires start way before buildings are built.

"That starts in the plan review process. The Fire Marshal's Office and Fire Department, are closely involved with that as well as Development Services and engineers. All of these city organizations start with sheets of plans when thinking about fire prevention.

"Before dirt is ever turned, we're looking for things that have to do with egress, exits, whether a building has to have some type of fire protection system, and there's codes that govern a lot of that," Findley said.

Assistant Fire Marshal Brandon Davis says he always makes sure plans allow enough space for fire trucks in case there is an emergency.

"One of the things we're looking for is that our trucks can make all turns," Davis says while pointing out building plans.

Fire protection planning continues during all construction phases.

"During construction we're checking fire safety issues regarding access, regarding water, those buildings that have fire protection systems, we ensure that they're being installed correctly," Findley said.

Even when a building's finished, the inspection continues.

"When we're inspecting a fire alarm system, basically what we're doing is ensuring it has a current tag stating that a certified technician has done the inspection and made sure that all the appliances and everything work," Davis said.

Both Davis and Findley say teaching the public about fire safety saves lives every year.

"Our hope is that we can fight fire before it starts by having good codes and keeping up to date on them and make sure the buildings in the city are built and maintained," Findley said.

There has been a recent change in a law regarding the smoke detectors in your home. You have to have one in every room someone sleeps in, as well as the hallways that connect those rooms.

If you need a smoke detector for your home, the City of Tyler actually has some that they give away for free if you live in the city limits and own your own home. They'll even come install one for you.

Also, if you need advice on where to place fire alarms or fire extinguishers in your home or business, or to get an inspection, you can call the Fire Marshal's Office.

Next week is Building Disaster Safety week, followed by backyard and pool safety, and green building.

 

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