Fire Marshal: Jim Williams
Phone: (269) 337-8285
The Department of Public Safety Fire Marshal Office is located in the Headquarters Building at
150 E Crosstown Parkway at S. Burdick Street. The Fire Marshal is currently Jim Williams who has been the Fire Marshal since October of 2008.
The Fire Marshal oversees the management of the Departments Fire Inspection program as well as the origin and cause investigations of fires in the City.
The City of Kalamazoo has over 3000 businesses, multi-residential housing and other commercial properties which are inspected or have pre-incident surveys conducted on an annual basis. The majority are conducted by the 30 Officers which are assigned to our five different fire stations throughout the City. However the Fire Marshal Office has a role in the following processes within the City:
- Liquor Control Commission license transactions: Persons, entities, corporations who request a liquor license or liquor license transactions have technical inspections conducted of the facility at the location where the license will be held.
- Site Plan Reviews: The Fire Marshal reviews all plans of new businesses or a change in use of a business. This is to ensure that fire prevention and life safety measures are implemented to protect the public and employees.
- Salvage and Recycling License Inspections: The Fire Marshal annually inspects all facilities which applies or holds a salvage or recycling license within the City of Kalamazoo.
- Technical Inspections: Conducted in Conjunction with the Building Official, Electrical Inspectors, Zoning Inspectors, Mechanical & Plumbing Inspectors and Building Inspectors from Community Planning & Development. These inspections are conducted at the property owners request, referral from basic fire inspections, and citizen complaint of building hazards. Conducted to determine suitability of a building for use & occupancy.
Origin and Cause determination of fires which occur in the City are conducted by the Fire Marshal when there are suspicious circumstances, high loss, injury/fatality and when the cause is not obvious to the Incident Commander.
Knox Key Vault Program
Public Safety Officers respond to emergencies twenty-four hours a day Medical emergencies, smoke / odor investigations, fires, sprinkler flow or fire alarm activations, etc. Officers many times are not able to immediately gain access to render care or mitigate the emergency. Many times the door has had to be forcibly entered.
These examples are why the Kalamazoo Fire Prevention Code section 506 requires the installation of key vaults at commercial occupancies. The City of Kalamazoo has subscribed to the Knox Rapid Entry System.
Purchasing a Knox Key Vault is simple through the Knox web site at: http://www.KnoxBox.com
Click the “online purchase” icon on the right side of the web page. Enter the zip code for the area of the city the vault will be installed. Select “Kalamazoo Dept P/S” for the City of Kalamazoo.
The minimum size vault allowed in the City of Kalamazoo is the 3200 series vaults. This vault will hold up to 10 keys. A key for every secured area in the business should be placed in the vault.
Once you have received your vault it should be mounted in an accessible, non-concealed location on your business. It is recommended that the vault be mounted approximately five feet off of the ground near a primary door or one that serves the commercial fire alarm panel if you have one.
Facilities which are secured by gates either electronically controlled or lock & chain may require additional Knox electronic key switch or exterior pad lock to allow entry.
Bar-B-Que Grills and multi-occupancy Housing
Section 308 of the Kalamazoo Fire Prevention Code prohibits gas or charcoal grills within ten feet of combustible construction or on balconies and decks of multiple residential housing. The storage and use of propane and charcoal starting fluid is prohibited.
Outdoor Recreational Burning
The City of Kalamazoo allows outdoor burning in a commercially produced outdoor fire place. The fire is restricted to 3′ wide and 3′ high. The fire must be 25′ from a structure or combustibles, always attended, have a water supply or a 4A rated extinguisher present.
Outdoor recreational fires are restricted to one & two family dwellings on a single lot.
Burning which creates offensive or objectionable smoke or odor emissions may subject a Public Safety Officer to have the fire extinguished. The burning of garbage or waste material is prohibited.
Fires are prohibited on any ozone action day, high fire risk by the DNR or burning bans imposed by the State or City of Kalamazoo.
Outdoor fires other than 3′ x 3′ or in a commercial or approved fire place are prohibited.
The City of Kalamazoo allows outdoor burning in a commercially produced outdoor fire place. The fire is restricted to 3′ wide and 3′ high. The fire must be 25′ from a structure or combustibles, always attended, have a water supply or a 4A rated extinguisher present. Most importantly…an ember protective screen must be in place to keep embers from floating into the atmosphere and then land to start a fire.
Built for Life Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition
Kalamazoo Public Safety is an advocate of residential sprinklers. Working smoke alarms are known for having saving many people’s live by providing early detection of fires within their homes. However it is also known that many people have succumbed to death in homes with smoke alarms which unfortunately they were not working because the battery was dead.
A residential sprinkler system does not need batteries. The system is waiting for a fire 24/7. No batteries, no electricity, no human involvement….it’s ready and waiting to quickly put a fire out. In most cases only one sprinkler head will activate to put out a fire.
The furnishings in our homes now compared to past decades are so much more combustible and off gas voluminous amounts of combustible smoke.
The synthetic plastic based material composed of petroleum products causes the fires of this decade to burn so much faster and hotter that residential sprinklers are the best tool to suppress them.
More information can be found at www.homefiresprinkler.org.
Great Lakes Burn Camp
Kalamazoo Public Safety is proud to be a sponsor of the Great Lakes Burn Camp. The Great Lakes Burn Camp provides a unique camp experience that promotes healing, self-esteem, confidence and general well-being for burn injured children between the ages of 7 and 18. The camp provides a winter and summer session.
Burn survivors attend the camp entirely cost free. The camp is entirely non-profit. Donations from generous supporters, golf outings, motorcycle runs and other events allow the Camp to exist.
More information can be found at www.greatlakesburncamp.org.
Campus Fire Safety
Alcohol and Fire are a Lethal Mixture. In most cases where fire fatalities have occurred on college campuses, alcohol was a factor. Approximately 25 percent of all campus fire fatalities follow a party. There is a strong link between alcohol and fire deaths. Intoxication impairs judgement and hampers evacuation efforts – you may sleep through a smoke alarm or not react quickly enough to escape.
Fires often start because people who are drinking fall asleep or are not careful while smoking. Smoking combined with alcohol abuse exacerbates the risk of fires, fire injuries and fire deaths. ****
Arson is the second leading cause of campus fires following cooking. Over half of campus arson fires are in on-campus residential buildings and most of these are set in hallways and corridors. Campus arson often starts as a prank but pranks can turn deadly, as all big fires start small.
There are serious consequences to arson! The Life and health consequences are tremendous, then can easily cause death or a lifelong injury. Setting a poster on fire outside a classroom and tossing firecrackers under a sleeping student’s bed are just two examples of recent pranks that killed students. These acts thought to be simple may lead to imprisonment and or dismissal from school.