Fire inspectors play a crucial role in protecting both people and property from potentially catastrophic fires. At Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR), newly promoted inspectors Brian Butts and Pete Jordan work tirelessly in the field to search for fire hazards in the St. Peters community.
A day in the life of a CCFR fire inspector includes examining public buildings to ensure that local, state and federal fire codes are being met. They also perform annual safety inspections, test equipment and oversee fire drills at local schools, among other things.
“Our main goal is for everyone to be safe,” Jordan says. “Providing our residents with the tools they need for fire prevention — through inspections, permits and community education — is one of the district’s most important roles.”
“Firefighting is reactive, but inspectors are more of a proactive way of keeping our citizens safe,” Butts says. “I find that inspections can be a good reminder to our businesses of the safe practices we should be doing to prevent fires and accidents.”
Both Butts and Jordan say their experience as firefighters in the district — Butts since 1986 and Jordan since 1999 — give them insight into the worst types of emergencies and accidents CCFR’s crews respond to, and which ones might have been avoided with a greater focus on fire prevention.
Fire inspectors follow a nationally recognized code and while many of the items they look for may seem like common sense, they are often things that are easy for someone to overlook when they’re busy running a business.
“The biggest misconception I feel is that businesses sometimes feel safety inspections are an intrusion,” Butts says, adding that an inspector’s role is to ensure safety in public places where people are at the mercy of the building’s owner. “The codes we follow were all developed unfortunately as a result of a catastrophic loss of life or property. Our job is prevent such a loss from happening in our community.”
After all, St. Peters isn’t just where they work.
“I have seen this area grow up from gravel roads and have been fortunate enough to see most of this area being built,” Butts says “Having a sense of its history and being part of this community for such a long time, it is home.”