Colorado Department of Public Safety
Division of Fire Safety
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Division of Fire Safety Mission Statement
The Division of Fire Safety (DFS) was created in CDPS in July 1, 1984. Its mission is to protect those that live, work and play in Colorado, by reducing threats to lives, property and the environment. It does this by preventing threats through code enforcement and by strengthening emergency response capabilities to those incidents that cannot be prevented.
To help achieve its mission, the Division:
- Ensures that the building code is enforced during school construction projects, and that new and existing school buildings are maintained in accordance with the fire code;
- Ensures that fire suppression construction projects comply with the fire code and referenced national standards;
- Assists units of local government in coordinating their fire safety and emergency management activities with the state and federal agencies;
- Encourages and assists in cooperative efforts among local fire departments to solve common problems;
- Provides technical assistance in developing solutions to local fire and life safety problems;
- Serves as a clearinghouse for fire safety related information; and
- Advises the Governor and General Assembly.
- Last calendar year, there were an estimated 17,000 fires in Colorado. Fires caused 31 civilian fire deaths and 360 hospitalizations due to burns or smoke inhalation. Four firefighters were killed in the line-of-duty and another 334 were injured. Additionally, fires resulted in approximately $174 million in direct property loss.
- On a given school-day, there are over 818,000 children and over 55,000 teachers and administrators occupying Colorado public school buildings.
- Of the approximately 418 fire departments in Colorado, 62 percent are all-volunteer, 27 percent are combination volunteer and career, and 11 percent are all-career. There are approximately 5,670 (38%) career firefighters and 9,220 (62%) volunteer firefighters in the state.
Programmatic Priorities for the Division of Fire Safety
Public School and Junior College Construction and Inspection Program
Under HB09-1151, the public school construction and inspection programs within both the Division of Fire Safety and the Division of Oil and Public Safety, within the Department of Labor and Employment, are being consolidated within the Division of Fire Safety on January 1, 2010. Consolidation of the programs will create a “one-stop shop” for school districts and their contractors; improve communications; and expedite plan reviews, inspections, and issuing certificates of occupancy.
The Division’s priority for the school construction and inspection program is to successfully consolidate the existing programs and apply the resources necessary to enforce applicable codes during plan review, construction and through annual fire inspections. In addition, the Division will improve code compliance through increased public outreach to inform public school officials, local fire officials and design professionals about the program’s requirements.
Certification Programs – The Division of Fire Safety is responsible for several different certification and licensing programs including:
- Hazardous Material Emergency Responder
- Medical First Responder
- Public School Fire and Life Safety Inspector and Plan Reviewer
- Pyrotechnician (fireworks shooter)
- Fire Suppression Systems (fire sprinkler systems)
- Colorado Type III Incident Management Team
- Federal National Incident Management System
The Division’s core certification programs are the firefighter, hazardous material emergency responder and medical first responder programs. Currently, the Division has records of approximately 28,000 Colorado emergency responders in its system. The Division issues approximately 600 certificates per month for these emergency responder certifications.
The Division’s Firefighter and Hazardous Materials Emergency Responder certification programs are accredited through both the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board). The Division’s programs are among the few that have been awarded both IFSAC and Pro Board accreditation.
While the Division’s Firefighter and Hazardous Materials Emergency Responder certification programs are “voluntary,” certification is no longer truly voluntary. More and more fire departments require certification for employment and promotion. The Division’s Fire Suppression System, Inspector Public Schools Fire Inspector, and Pyrotechnician certification programs are not voluntary; people involved in these activities are required by law to be certified and or licensed.
Emergency Resource Mobilization – Pursuant to H.B. 02-1315, the Division is responsible for developing and administering a statewide plan for the allocation and deployment of resources in the event of a disaster or local incident that requires more resources than those available locally. The Colorado Emergency Resource Mobilization Plan underwent a major revision and the revised plan was approved and published in July 2009.
At this time, a total of 416 fire departments (99%), 318 law enforcement agencies (95.9%) and 78 ambulance service providers (81.7%) provided resource data for inclusion into the resource mobilization database. 7,957 Resources, such as fire engines, ambulances and hazardous materials teams, have been cataloged. The next resource agencies to be addressed are public works, search and rescue, and public health organizations.
Other Programs – As part of its statutory mandate, DFS manages several other fire safety programs. A summary of these programs includes:
- Colorado All-Risk Incident Reporting System – Pursuant to HB02-1315, the Division is responsible for administering a uniform statewide reporting system for fires, hazardous materials incidents, emergency medical services incidents, and other incidents to which fire departments respond. Significant progress has been made toward the statewide implementation of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) an all-incident reporting system for fire departments. Participation in NFIRS has increased to 278 fire departments, which protect about 93% of the State’s resident population.
- National Incident Management System (NIMS) - The Division of Fire Safety and the Division of Emergency Management (within the Department of Local Affairs) have been designated with the joint responsibility for implementing the National Incident Management System (NIMS), pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive #5. Last year, the Division of Fire Safety coordinated a total of 83 NIMS or NIMS Incident Command System (ICS) courses, delivered to a total of 1,695 responders.
- Emergency Services Responder Education and Training – Through this program, the Division provided a broad range of emergency service education and training programs to 894 students.
- Fire Suppression Program – This program ensures that fire sprinkler systems installed in commercial and residential occupancies are installed and maintained properly, according to nationally recognized codes and standards.
- Colorado Fireworks Act – This program establishes minimum requirements for the sale and use of fireworks in Colorado.
- Fire Safety in Limited Gaming Establishments – The purpose of this program is to ensure minimum standards are met for building construction and fire and life safety systems in Colorado’s limited gaming establishments.
- Regulation of Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes – The Division enforces the Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity Standards and Firefighter Protection Act, which establishes flammability standards on cigarettes sold in Colorado.
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