Self Inspection Pilot Program (SIP) Overview
In late 2011, the Fresno City Council directed the Fire Department to explore the feasibility of a self inspection pilot program for lower hazard commercial businesses as a result of the depressed economic conditions being experienced in the city. In keeping with the premise that government’s primary purpose is to protect its constituents, the Fire Department first studied communitywide risk to determine which occupancy groups may be able to complete self directed inspections. Fire Department staff also completed a substantial amount of research into other SIP programs in use (or evaluated) across the nation with specific attention to those in use within California.
Statistics show that the lowest fire risk occupancy group (based upon several factors) are office type buildings, (noted as occupancy group “B” in California), having no adjacent storage areas. This type of setting would typically include financial institution offices, lawyer or accountant offices, etc.
Once the potential SIP occupancy group was identified, a statistical analysis of the top five most commonly cited fire code violations identified by professional fire department inspectors within this occupancy group was completed. These statistics were compiled using local data, specific to the City of Fresno. The results were then used as the basis to create the questions found on the SIP questionnaire. In essence, the SIP questionnaire targets the most frequently cited violations found in these locations by fire department staff, within the City of Fresno, based upon historical records.
Phase one of the SIP project includes sending SIP postcards to specific group “B” occupancies. The responses generated by the “phase one” group are anticipated to lead to refinements both in the questionnaire, and in the processing of SIP related materials. Phase two of the SIP project will also include sending postcards to group “B” occupancies; however the number sent will be greatly increased to achieve a much better confidence interval.
As the results of phase one and phase two of SIP are analyzed, program changes may occur. If successful, the SIP may be expanded, which may include user participation fees for businesses. These fees however would be used to defray program service costs, and would include only users of the SIP program.