The Mission of the Upper Macungie Township Bureau of Fire is to provide the highest level of life safety and property protection to all the residents, businesses and visitors of Upper Macungie Township and the neighboring communities. The Mission, at all times, is to provide assistance to the best of its abilities to limit the loss of life, property, the protection of the environment and safety of the fire personnel. This Mission will be accomplished through the extension of fire prevention with annual fire inspections for businesses, fire control, emergency medical care, crisis intervention, and public education.
Fire Safety Inspections: Saving lives and property by helping to stop fire and unintentional injuries from happening.
Upper Macungie Township Ordinance 2020-11 authorizes and requires the Upper Macungie Township Bureau of Fire to inspect all commercial properties subject to fire regulations.
A major responsibility of the Bureau of Fire’s operations is fire prevention. One method employed to reduce the number of fires is to enforce the fire codes and regulations. This can best be achieved through a fire and life safety inspection program. Therefore, a fire prevention inspection program has been established for all properties in the township subject to fire regulations. This program will not include 1 and 2 family dwellings. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and property loss from fire, in order to enhance the public health, safety and welfare.
Summer Time Grilling Safety Tips:
Summer is the season of vacations, pool parties, and backyard barbecues. If you aren’t careful, however, a fun family cookout can turn tragic in a split second. Every year there are an estimated 8,900 grill fires at U.S. homes, leading to an average of $110 million in damage to property. While 5,100 of the fires are contained outside, 3,900 of them involve a house or other structure. In addition, grill fires are responsible for about 160 injuries—and 10 fatalities—every year.
Grill fires can get out of control very quickly, so the number one tip for grilling safety is: watch your grill constantly while it’s in use. Beyond that, the following grill safety tips will keep a grilling injury or grill fire from messing up your summer fun.
Types of Grill:
There are three main types of grills, and each has its own set of safety issues:
• Charcoal — Uses fire to cook food by burning charcoal briquettes for fuel.
• Gas – Also involves fire. Uses natural gas (often from a permanent gas line) or propane (usually from a portable tank) for fuel.
• Electric – Does not involve fire but does involve electricity. This type of grill cooks food by using grill plates heated by electricity.
Safe Use Tips for Grills:
Naturally, most safety tips regarding grills involve fire safety. But grills add grease, explosive gases, and proximity to a house to the mix, so it’s important to be aware of the particular risks and strategies for avoiding these added dangers.
• Place your grill away from your house, porch, garage, awning, deck railing, and landscaping. Never grill inside or in an enclosed area such as a garage, as both charcoal and gas grills produce potentially deadly carbon monoxide gas.
• Don’t wear loose clothing while grilling. In addition, wear oven mitts that extend far up on the forearm as well as a heavy apron. This will provide some protection from burns. And use long handled grilling tools to keep your hands a safe distance from the lit grill.
• Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill while it is in use.
• Only use lighter fluid that is made for grilling. Do not use any other flammable liquids such as gasoline. If using a charcoal chimney to ignite your charcoal, avoid burns by using a long match.
• Once the fire has started, do not add more lighter fluid. And once the grill is lit, do not try to move it.
• Make sure you have a fire extinguisher within easy reach, and that you know how to use it.
• Never leave your grill unattended.
Cleaning the Grill and Removing and Disposing of Grease:
Staying safe while grilling isn’t just a matter of taking care while the grill is in use. Lower the risks of grease fires and other potential problems by taking care of your grill between uses.
• After you have finished grilling, the grill will still be hot for a while. Never try to store or cover your grill while it is hot. Wait till it has cooled before putting it up.
• If you’re using a charcoal grill, always use water to soak your coals before you dispose of them.
• Remove fat build up and grease in the trays under the grill as well as on the grill itself.
Gas Grill Issues:
Because propane grills involve highly pressurized flammable gas, you’ll want to be aware of some additional safety issues.
- Propane tanks should be stored outside and away from your home.
- Valves on propane tanks should always be tightly closed when not in use.
- Before every use, check grill hoses for brittleness, holes, and cracks. Check and clear any blockages from the hoses before use. If you find a problem with your hose, don’t panic, and don’t disregard the issue. Most grill hoses can be swapped out with replacement hoses commonly available at hardware stores. If you need help choosing the right one, be sure to ask.
- Check the elements running along the bottom of the grill (where the fire comes out) to make sure there are not cracks or rusted areas that could break.
- If you smell gas while the grill is not lit, turn off the grill and propane tank.
- If you smell gas while the grill is lit, or while cooking, quickly move away from the grill and get everyone a safe distance away, then call the fire department.
Commercial Property Inspections:
The Upper Macungie Township Bureau of Fire will conduct inspections for commercial and institutional properties. The official fire safety inspection will occur once every year. Larger and more complex occupancies, such as warehouse buildings and high-rise buildings (where fire suppression and detection systems, and common area egress components generic to the entire building), factories, hospitals, schools, theaters, etc., will require inspections containing specialized testing for fire and smoke detection systems, alarm systems and much more. Licensed Institutions will also require an annual inspection.
Fire Code Enforcement Inspections Program:
A fee will be charged for the commercial fire safety inspections. A letter is sent to property owners. Included with this letter is basic information about the kinds of fire safety inspections and what you, as the property owner or manager, can expect. The fire inspections will adhere to township accepted international standards set forth in the International Fire Code- 2018 edition and the International Building Code-2018 edition.
Please Note: We know that you, as the property owner or manager, care about the level of safety in your building and on the premises. When the Township Fire Inspector visits, we strongly encourage you to accompany the inspector. This mutual assistance in the inspection of buildings and premises can greatly enhance the level of life safety for the general public.
Fire Inspection Fees:
The fee for your fire safety inspection is based upon a fee schedule that takes into consideration your occupancy type, usage, and square footage. For a copy of the current fee schedule, or any questions regarding the fee structure, contact the Upper Macungie Township Bureau of Fire at 610-395-4892 ext. 145 between 8:00am and 4:00pm.
If the fire inspection finds any fire code violations, they will be noted and you will be given a period of time to correct the discrepancies and a follow-up inspection (“re-inspection”) will be scheduled to confirm that the violation has been corrected.
You will receive an invoice for the inspection fee within 15 days of the first fire safety inspection.
How Does the Fire Safety Inspection Program Work?
Prior to an annual inspection, each occupancy will be called by phone giving notice of our intent to inspect your business. Included in this section is a list of the most common found code violations. The occupant will be asked to correct these violations (if any are found by the occupant prior to the inspection).
Failure to correct these types of violations shall result in an additional fee for violations, as set forth in Upper Macungie Township Ordinance 2020-11 While not necessary, you also have the opportunity to schedule an appointment for a convenient time to meet with the Fire Inspector.
The inspector will conduct a thorough inspection to ensure satisfactory life safety conditions on your property, examining such items as:
- Conditions of exits
- Condition of interior finish
- Operation of exit doors
- Emergency lighting
- Exit signs
- Components of fire-resistive separation
- Maintenance of fire department apparatus access roadways
- Maintenance of fire lanes
- Proper addressing of the building
- Fire extinguishers available, inspected and placed properly
- Building exit discharge area
- Records of testing for fire alarm and fire protection systems
- Test records for smoke control system (if required)
- Make sure that there is evacuation plan in place (if required)
If any conditions are found that violate the International Fire Code (2018 IFC) and International Building Code (2018 IBC), or that could cause fire or endanger life or property, the inspector will notify you and issue an inspection report requiring that the condition be corrected immediately. A re-inspection will be scheduled on or after an established time period to correct the violations. Any requests for an extension of repairs must be approved by the inspector of record.