Friday, April 19, 2024

State Fire Marshal’s Office Outlines 2023 Performance

by Stacey Tinsley
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State Fire Marshal Bryan J. Adams is announcing the agency’s 2023 performance outcomes which show another solid year of services to and protection for the people of Louisiana heading into a transition of leadership at the start of this year.

“On Day 1, I walked into the doors of the State Fire Marshal’s Office to join a top-notch team that has served this state with dedication and passion,” said Adams, “I am so encouraged to take this team and this agency into the future with the solid foundation I inherited it with.”

The state’s strong economy shone brightly in the number of plan review submittals for new commercial construction and/or significant renovation projects. In 2023, there were more than 19,000 submittals, in line with the previous year. The estimated total value of projects submitted in 2023 reached more than $12 billion compared to just under $10 billion in 2022. The agency’s plan review team addressed 50% of submittals within five days of their entry into our Information Management System (IMS.)

Enforcement deputies conducted 5,000 more final inspections of new commercial buildings opening across the state as well as compliance inspections of existing commercial buildings for a total of more than 60,000. In addition, deputies inspected hundreds of fireworks stands and displays, confirmed safety standards in in-home daycares, and responded to thousands of impairment reports on life safety and property protection systems in commercial businesses.

For another year, SFM deputies were requested to investigate more than 700 fire incidents, mostly residential. Of those fires, around 200 were classified as incendiary continuing the downward trend from the previous year. However, the agency’s arrest rate climbed to 56% from several years in the 40-percentile range which exceeds the national average (21% in 2020).

And while even one life lost to home fires is one too many, Louisiana’s fatal fire figure for 2023 was one of the lowest in the past five years. Of the 60 victims, only five were in homes with working smoke alarms at the time of the fires. The most common causes deputies were able to determine in these fires were electrical and heating-related.

In addition, the SFM continued to license thousands of individuals and firms as well as issue more than 3,100 permits, and log more than 1,844 registrations in 2023, bringing in more than $1,523,800 million in revenue. Those licenses, permits, and registrations apply to a host of industries including life safety & property protection businesses, amusement ride operators, conveyance devices, fireworks professionals and retailers along with boiler systems.

Two years after the state’s Fire and Emergency Training Academy came under the State Fire Marshal umbrella, it has improved the customer experience by establishing a new course registration and certification process, prioritizing communication about training opportunities, and improving the quantity, quality, and accessibility of training for all of Louisiana’s fire service agencies and their members.

The agency’s Emergency Services division continued its work to help in the wake of disasters including Louisiana’s unprecedented wildfire emergency. An Incident Management Team that worked in tandem with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry coordinated dozens of wildfire specialists and resources from across the country to assist local fire departments in not only containing and stopping the wildfires but connecting those local departments hardest hit with manpower and asset relief from fellow Louisiana fire departments.

Lastly, the State Fire Marshal’s Office continued its fire safety and prevention mission which includes the ongoing efforts of its partnership with local fire departments to offer the Operation Save-A-Life program which installs smoke alarms for free for families most in need. Once again, the agency received a sizeable grant from FEMA to obtain 15,000 alarms that will hopefully all be protecting families across Louisiana by the end of 2024.

“With 43 years of involvement in the Louisiana Fire Service, I eagerly anticipate the challenges that lie ahead. I am wholeheartedly dedicated to elevating both the office and the Louisiana Fire Service to new heights,” said Adams.

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