The Union County Fire Marshal’s Office has a primary responsibility of enforcing the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code. This code requires that all commercial occupancies be inspected on an arranged schedule. The schedule that is set forth by the North Carolina Fire Code ranges from one, two, and sometimes three year inspection frequency. In addition to performing the required fire inspection, the office also handles concerns about life safety issues that are reported by the public.
The North Carolina Fire Prevention Code is regulated by the Office of State Fire Marshal and is periodically updated or amended. The current code that is in use is the 2012 edition which affects buildings that were permitted since after June 1, 2012. Old fire prevention codes may be reviewed online through the Office of State Fire Marshal’s web site.
In addition to conducting fire inspections, this office also reviews building plans and all fire protection equipment required by the code. Fire protection equipment that is installed, but not required, is still reviewed through our office. The first step of obtaining approval for building permit is apply for a permit through the Union County Building Inspections Department. For a fire protection permit, two sets of plans must be submitted for review in addition to an application for a fire prevention permit. Once this application is obtained, fill it out to the best of your ability and return it by fax or mail. Once plans have been reviewed, approved, and an application is on file then the permit will be issued at no charge.
Fire investigation is an additional task that is carried out by this office. Structure and vehicle fires are majority of the types of fires that are investigated; however other types of fires can also be investigated. Certain fires require the use of outside resources that our office does not have. If outside resources are necessary then other agencies such as the Union County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearm’s & Explosives can provide those resources.
Burning Permits are not issued through our office; however they can be obtained online through the North Carolina Forestry Service. On occasion our office will receive complaints by the public of an individual who is burning questionable items. The North Carolina Division of Air Quality maintains regulations on what can be burnt. If someone is burning something that you feel is not allowed, you can review the North Carolina Open Burning Regulations which is where you can find the answer.
Public education programs are also offered through the county. Public education programs are offered to daycares, schools, and business throughout the county. These programs have a wide range of topic that they cover, and depending on the age range of the class will depend on what topics are taught.
The Fire Marshal’s Office is also a liaison with the 18 fire departments that are located throughout the county. The office is responsible for guidance on budgetary duties, service testing of apparatus, and any other issues that a department might need assistance on.