The review of construction plans is an essential part of fire prevention. During 2011, 3105 plans for new construction were reviewed. An inspector follows the project from the first plan presented to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
The division coordinates all hazardous materials review and permitting as required by City ordinance. One inspector is assigned this duty which requires specialized training and knowledge. A Deputy Fire Marshal is trained and serves as the back up to this position. SPFR, through City Ordinance, requires that a Fire Inspector(s) be “on site” when greater than 600 people gather for an indoor assembly (excluding religious service). The number of inspectors required is based on a sliding scale that considers the type of event and the audience in attendance. A Deputy Fire Marshal coordinates these events. The process starts with a floor plan review and progresses to the permit (which could involve an additional permit for pyrotechnics), Fire Inspector scheduling, overtime billing, and ends with a post event critique. The Deputy Fire Marshals also supervise Division Inspectors, serve on numerous committees, administer the False Alarm Ordinance, and oversee Fire and Arson investigation.
For more information contact the Fire Prevention Division at 727-893-7064.
The Mission of the Prevention Division is to provide quality education, inspection, and investigative services to the citizens of St. Petersburg to prevent injuries, property damage, and improve the quality of life for our community.
Our efforts to meet this mission are focused on educating the community about awareness of incident potential and avoidance, as well as corrective action following those cases in which proactive efforts were unsuccessful. The fire safety education function is the responsibility of the Fire Marshal and is under the direction of a Deputy Fire Marshal who coordinates the public education activities of the Fire Safety Education Specialist and over three hundred members of our Fire Suppression forces. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue strongly believes that fire safety is every member's responsibility.
The continued success of our Prevention programs would not be possible without the individual efforts of every member of the Division and the combined efforts of every member of St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. Long term programs focusing on injury prevention and reducing fire occurrence are essential to the well being of our community. Our organization is committed to improving the safety of our citizens.
Inspectors conduct on-site visits as various fire protection equipment and systems are installed within a structure. This is to ensure that the completed system was installed as designed and is functioning properly in order to afford the greatest level of life safety for the building occupants. Further testing and maintenance is the responsibility of the system's owner and must be verified to the Division. The installation and removal of underground storage tanks also falls under the Division's supervision.
Members of the Division provide a broad array of general and specific technical information to the public, developers, contractors, architects, and engineers within the City.
In order to ensure that all applicable Fire and Life Safety Code requirements are met, the Division reviews construction plans for codes compliance, making any necessary recommendations prior to the actual expenditure of construction funds. This begins with the examination of the general site plan, structural details, and the review of submitted changes during the construction project.
The Division is responsible for inquiry into the circumstances of suspicious, incendiary, and fires of undetermined cause that occur within the City. Investigators assist Operations personnel in the study of fires without an obvious cause.
A multifaceted Arson Task Force is supported by the Department and is called upon to assist with fires resulting in deaths, injuries, and large dollar losses. It is composed of members from SPFR, St. Petersburg Police Department, the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office, and the State Attorney's Office. Anti-arson efforts include the inspection of closed and vacant properties along with an open exchange of information between various agencies regarding the activities of known and suspected arsonists in the area.
The success of the arson detection and prosecution program is a result of a Police Detective being assigned to SPFR to team with our arson fire investigator. This dual approach now provides the one-two punch which has resulted in a substantial increase in our arson fire closure rate and a marked decrease in the number of arson cases. In order to provide a prompt response to working fires and to direct the origin and cause determination, four fire investigators rotate on-call on a weekly basis providing 24 hour coverage to assist the Fire Operations officers.
The Division is frequently called upon to assist development interests in determining occupancy appropriateness, fire safety requirements, and fire codes compliance on properties under consideration for development or purchase.
Upon completion of any commercial construction project, a Certificate of Occupancy Inspection must be conducted prior to opening for business. SPFR is responsible for conducting this inspection in order to ensure that the new or remodeled structure meets the required Fire and Life Safety Codes of the specific occupancy for which it was built.
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue is committed to serving the community and each other by protecting and improving health, safety, and quality of life through exceptional emergency service and education.
In 2013, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue’s Public Education and Fire Prevention efforts reached 81,433 citizens.
- Fire Prevention Week (October 6-October 12, 2014) St. Petersburg Fire Rescue is proud to present a variety of fun and educational activities during Fire Prevention Week. Our fire safety messages are highlighted through a variety of family-oriented events including: city wide elementary school fire drills, Fire Station open houses, the Annual Fire prevention Block Party, and the Haunted Fire House.
- Fire Station Tours St. Petersburg Fire Rescue firefighters will guide groups around their “second home,” highlighting the fire engines and other apparatus. Groups will have an opportunity to ask questions, and hear about a day in the life of a firefighter. Station Tours are recommended for ages 4 and up.
- Fire Truck Display Fire and/or Rescue trucks can be scheduled to visit any public setting (non‑retail), for educational purposes. Firefighters display their equipment and will answer fire related questions. Supervised children are able to climb aboard to get a first‑hand look at the fire truck. Please note: Birthday Parties are considered an entertainment purpose and does not qualify as an educational purpose.
- Fire and Life Safety Programs St. Petersburg Fire Rescue provides a variety of Fire and safety programs for individuals off all ages. These programs include: Fire Safety, Water Safety and Drowning Prevention, Seasonal Holiday Safety, Firework Safety, Fall Prevention, Juvenile Fire setting, Safety programs for children are recommended for ages 3 and up. A minimum notice of two weeks is required for all presentation requests.
Free Smoke Alarm and Installation Hotline:
If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, please contact:
Public Education Specialist
Fire Safety Tips
- Remember to change your smoke alarm battery, when you change your clock on daylight savings day.
- Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
- Create a home escape plan, and frequently practice it as a family.
- Know two was out of every room.
- In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1
- Never leave food cooking on the stovetop unattended.
- Replace or repair any electrical device with a loose, frayed, or broken cord.
- Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach.
- Space heaters should be at least three feet away from combustibles.
- If you or your clothes catch on fire remember to: Stop, Drop, and Roll.
- Never forget that fire spreads rapidly. Your first priority should always be to get out of the house/building, and to stay out.
- Do NOT waste time getting your favorite belongings. Get out, and STAY OUT!
- Drop low to the floor and crawl to the door. Then feel the door knob and door before opening it. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use the second way out.
- When you get out of the house, go straight to your meeting place and wait for your family.
- NEVER go back into a burning house or building!
Free Smoke Alarm Hotline: 727-893-SAFE (727-893-7233)
In 2013, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Free Smoke alarm installation Program touched 213 single family home owners by installing 335 alarms. Requests for new smoke alarms or batteries for existing alarms are captured on the automated Home Safe Hotline at 893‑SAFE. Messages will be checked twice a month; requests are then dispatched to the fire station closest to the residence. Residents will be contacted by our firefighters for appointments to be scheduled. Safety and Pool Checks are also available upon request.
363 days of the year we teach children not to play with matches and lighters. During the July 4th Holiday Season, many parents hand their children matches/lighters to have fun lighting fireworks! This results in many needless injuries and accidents to children.
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Prevention Division asks that you follow the labels on fireworks that state, “Use only under adult supervision.” Most injuries occur due to lack of supervision and misuse of fireworks. We urge all parents to supervise their children during the July 4th Holiday Season, and whenever fireworks are being used.
Here are some safety tips to follow when using fireworks.
- Always keep a water source available, either a garden hose or a large bucket of water.
- Select and use only legal fireworks. Check with the Fire Prevention Division at St. Petersburg Fire Rescue to determine what is legal.
- Never shoot, or throw fireworks toward another person or property.
- Never use, or make homemade fireworks. They are deadly.
On average, 42 home candle fires are reported every day. These home candle fires are responsible for an estimated 1,289 fire injuries and 166 fire deaths each year.
- 20% of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.
- Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths.
- One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am.
- Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
- The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.
- More than half of all candle fires start when things such as furniture, mattresses, curtains, and decorations are too close to the candle.
- 36% of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.
- In December, 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
- Consider using battery-operated or electric flameless candles.
- If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
- Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
- Set a good example by using matches, lighters and fire carefully.
- Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.
- For emergency lighting, always use a flashlight, never a candle.
- NEVER leave burning candles unattended.
A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire, or containing it until the fire department arrives. Portable fire extinguishers do have limitations; you have to remember that fire spreads rapidly. The number one priority is to get out of the building, and to stay out! Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan, and working smoke alarms.
When using a fire extinguisher use the word “PASS” to remember the steps:
Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
Aim low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (hose) at the BASE of the fire.
Squeeze the lever: The lever is found above the handle, this discharges the extinguishing agent. Continue to squeeze the lever; releasing it will stop the discharge.
Sweep from side to side: Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Continue toward your exit and remember to never turn your back to the fire.
Fire Extinguisher Training
St. Petersburg Fire Rescue offers a fire extinguisher class that includes an educational presentation, and hands-on experience using a fire extinguisher on a live fire. This training gives employees the knowledge and confidence it takes to successfully use a portable fire extinguisher. This program costs $130 per group of 25 adults, with a minimum of 10 adults to secure a program.
To schedule a training class contact:
Public Education Specialist
Juvenille Fire Setters
Each year in the United States, fires set by children and adolescents are responsible for: hundreds of deaths, thousands of painful burn injuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.
Approximately 60% of juvenile fire setting involves curiosity. If fire play activity seems to be a common occurrence with your child, help is needed. Fire play activity can be deadly; please do not be afraid to ask for help. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Juvenile Fire Setters Program provides assistance to children who are involved in fire related incidents. Parents/guardians and siblings are required to participate in this program. Our Juvenile Fire Setters Program consists of assigned course work, educational classes and letters of apology. This program may enable a child to be diverted away from the criminal justice system, preventing a criminal record and entry into the juvenile justice system.
What can parents do to prevent Juvenile Fire Setting?
- Educate children at an early age about the proper use of fire.
- Keep all matches and lighters stored in a safe secure place away from children.
- Teach young children that matches and lighters are tools NOT toys.
- Establish a strict DO NOT TOUCH and TELL AN ADULT policy for children.
If you have any questions, or would like to set up an appointment contact:
Public Education Specialist