Fire Marshal: Jim Williams
Phone: (269) 337-8285
Fire Marshal: Scott Brooks
Phone: (269) 337-8260
The Department of Public Safety Fire Marshal’s Office is located in the Headquarters Building at 150 E. Crosstown Parkway, which is situated near the intersection of E. Crosstown Parkway and S. Burdick Street. The Fire Marshals are Jim Williams, who has been the Fire Marshal since October of 2008, and Scott Brooks, who has been the Fire Marshal since October of 2018.
The Fire Marshals oversee the management of the Department’s 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 assigned to our five (5) different fire stations throughout the City. The Fire Marshal’s Office also has a role in the following processes within the City:
Liquor Control Commission license transactions: Persons, entities, and corporations who request a liquor license or liquor license transactions can have technical inspections conducted of the facility at the location where the license will be held.
Site Plan Reviews: The Fire Marshals review 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 Marshals annually inspect all facilities which apply or hold a salvage or recycling license within the City of Kalamazoo.
Technical Inspections: These are conducted in conjunction with the Building Official, Electrical Inspectors, Zoning Inspectors, Mechanical and Plumbing Inspectors, and Building Inspectors from Community Planning & Development. These inspections are conducted at the property owner’s request, referral from basic fire inspections, and via citizen complaints of building hazards. Inspections are conducted to determine suitability of a building for use and occupancy.
Origin and cause determination of fires that occur in the City are conducted by the Fire Marshals 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 (whether that is a medical emergency, a smoke/odor investigation, fire, sprinkler flow, or fire alarm activation) twenty-four hours a day. Officers many times are not able to immediately gain access to render care or mitigate the emergency, and on some occasions, 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.
To purchase a Knox Key Vault, simply click the “online purchase” icon on the right side of the web page. Enter the zip code for the area of the City that 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, or a master key that will open all areas.
Once you have received your vault, please mount it in an accessible, non-concealed location on your business. The vault shall be mounted approximately five feet off the ground near a primary door. The vault can also be mounted near an exterior door that serves the commercial fire alarm panel, if you have one.
Facilities which are secured by gates either electronically controlled or lock and chain may require an additional Knox electronic key switch or Knox exterior pad lock to allow entry.
After the vault is mounted and keys are available to be put inside, please call (269) 337-8123 to schedule for an on-duty fire crew to come and secure the vault.
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, charcoal, and charcoal starting fluid is prohibited.
Outdoor Recreational Burning
The City of Kalamazoo allows outdoor burning for 1 and 2 family residential homes within the City of Kalamazoo without a permit; however, 3 family residential units or commercial properties must have a permit issued through the City of Kalamazoo. Permits can be submitted using the Recreational Fire tab.
The City of Kalamazoo allows outdoor burning in a commercially produced outdoor fireplace. Some of the restrictions are as follows: the fire is restricted to 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. The fire must be 15 feet from a structure or combustibles, must always be attended, and must have a water supply at hand or a 4A rated extinguisher present. Most importantly, an ember protective screen MUST be in place to keep embers from floating into the atmosphere.
Burning which creates offensive or objectionable smoke or odor emissions may subject to a Public Safety Officer having to extinguish the fire. 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 feet x 3 feet or in a commercial or approved fire place are prohibited.
Built for Life Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition
Kalamazoo Public Safety is an advocate of residential sprinklers. Working smoke alarms are known for having saved many people’s lives by providing early detection of fires within their homes. However, it is essential that you check your batteries on a bi-annual basis (say, at the daylight savings time change) to ensure your smoke alarm will work when needed as it is unfortunate that many people have succumbed to death in homes despite having smoke alarms present but not operating due to a dead battery.
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 is ready and waiting to quickly put out a fire. In most cases, only one sprinkler head will activate in order to put out a fire.
The furnishings in our homes now compared to past decades are so much more combustible and give off gas resulting in voluminous amounts of combustible smoke. The synthetic plastic-based material composed of petroleum products cause the fires of this decade to burn so much faster and hotter that it has been found 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 this 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 behind 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, leading to a lifelong injury or death. 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 have killed students. These acts though thought to be simple and harmless may lead to imprisonment and or dismissal from school.