Do-it-yourself fire inspections?
Business owners, particularly owners of small businesses, have got to love this idea: Do your own fire-safety inspection, based on information and guidelines supplied by your local fire-safety experts.
That's what Sandusky Fire Department wants to do. It'll save the department time and money -- it costs plenty of both to send firefighters around to businesses to see if they comply with fire-safety rules -- and it'll save business owners time, in that you don't have to wait for the firefighters to come around to your place.
The obvious hangup, of course, is how well anyone can be trusted to not just fill out the form that says, OK, we're all good, we comply. Somehow the key to making this program work is to make certain:
n EITHER the owner performs the inspection AND corrects the problems;
n OR the fire department makes the inspection.
We fear that some locations most in need of the review might just be those that are least interested in doing anything about the problems.
There's a self-correcting answer to that, though, and it lies in the self-interest of the insurance industry. How willing are some insurers to have policy holders certify themselves as fire-safe? We suspect many insurers will insist on firefighter-conducted inspections.