New Fort Wayne fire protection rules start on January 2nd 2020

I am not an expert regarding fire protection rules; however, a couple of my clients are.  The City of Fort Wayne passed some ordinances that will change how fire code is enforced within the city limits of Fort Wayne and in the unincorporated portions of St Joseph Township.  These changes will be significant and will do all of the following:

  1. Bring in new fees to the City of Fort Wayne.
  2. Bring in even more money to the companies who inspect and repair/replace fire suppression systems including exit lights and fire extinguishers.
  3. Businesses will see their costs increase for annual inspections and many will have a lot of deficiencies they will have to resolve.  Over time many more businesses will have to pay for annual inspections.
  4. This new program will take four years or more to implement fully and once implemented it likely will save lives.

The City of Fort Wayne has met with the companies who do annual fire inspections in Fort Wayne.  They have emphasized to them:

  1. The new rules.
  2. The penalties that can be imposed on the fire inspection companies if they do not follow the new rules.
  3. The fact that the City of Fort Wayne is working on creating a list of all businesses that should be getting annual fire inspections.

The new rules effect all structures and premises other than single family dwellings and multiple family dwellings.  Basically this means it will effect all businesses within Fort Wayne (and those in the unincorporated portions of St Joseph township that are now under the purview of the Fort Wayne Fire Department).  Up until this point all were required to get an annual fire inspection and that annual inspection was handed to the business owner.  In some cases the business owner did not resolve the deficiencies.

What the new rules will mean to Fort Wayne businesses (and those in the unincorporated portions of St Joseph township that are now under the purview of the Fort Wayne Fire Department):

  1. The inspectors now have to file the reports online with the City of Fort Wayne and they have a short window of time to file the reports.
  2. The Fire Department will contact each business with a deficiency or violation and ensure those are resolved.
  3. There are stiff penalties that can be imposed on non compliant locations.

These changes will cause some businesses located in older buildings to spend a large amount of money to comply with fire code.  It is likely some of these businesses will close rather than comply with fire code due to the costs.

Please give Mike Sylvester a call at 260-407-5000 if you have questions about these new rules and I can put you in contact with a local fire protection company if necessary.

Mike Sylvester, CPA/ABV, MBA

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