The fire inspector came this morning to inspect our home. Just getting to this point was a major challenge – I think I had a total of 11 phone calls to schedule this inspection, most of which resulted in me leaving messages for people and never getting a return call. About 10 days ago, I finally got a hold of the right person in the Fire Marshal’s office and he told me that they needed a letter from the adoption agency stating that we need a fire safety inspection. Our contact at the agency faxed it right over. I didn’t hear anything from the inspector, so I called again a few days later. He gave me the name and cell phone number of the inspector who would be handling our inspection. (Interestingly enough, the inspector still doesn’t have this letter, so I have to ask to have it faxed over again. Grrr.)
I called the inspector that morning. He was away from his calendar and asked me to call him at 5:00pm when he’d be in the office. I did that, and we scheduled our appointment for 8:00 this morning. He did ask me to call him this morning around 7:00 to remind him of the appointment, which I thought was a little odd (but of course I complied with his request). I then asked him what he would be looking for, so that we could make sure we were ready for the inspection. He wasn’t able to talk then, so he asked me to call him back around 10:30pm, at the end of his shift. I called him at that time, but he didn’t answer the phone, so I left a message. He called me back at 6:10am the next morning, and I was so glad that I had left my phone in another room – otherwise I would not have appreciated the early wake-up call. He left a message with a list of things that he would be checking. From his list, we figured out that we really only needed to do two things to prepare for the inspection: 1) Acquire 3 more fire extinguishers and 2) Do some reorganizing of our storage areas in the basement that house the furnace and water heater.
So, this weekend I bought more fire extinguishers. We are now the proud owners of five – count them, FIVE – fire extinguishers for our 2000 sq. ft. home. This seems excessive to me, but we had to have one for each floor of the house (and we have four, including the finished basement and the finished attic), and it turns out that one that we already had was not a big enough model to meet the requirements.
I also worked on removing some things from our laundry room (which also houses the water heater) and the furnace room, making sure there was at least 24″ clearance around the units. Now, he didn’t tell us what amount of clearance was required, but I thought that 24″ sounded like a safe clearance. I will admit that we had gotten sloppy in this regard and I had at times thought to myself, “I wonder if this is safe?” So I didn’t mind this reorganization project, even though it made for quite a mess in the basement as I tried to find new homes for things. The problem with a finished basement is that you don’t have much storage space!
Well, Inspector B came out this morning and everything was fine, except he said that our furnace room has to be completely empty, and that basically our laundry room has to be empty except for the water heater, washer and dryer. He actually said that builders do homeowners a disservice by making utility rooms larger than the furnace/water heater equipment, because you’re not supposed to have anything else in them. I have no idea what we’re going to do with the shelving unit that houses our tools, etc. in the furnace room. I guess we’ll have to move it out into the finished basement space. The same goes for our recycling bin – which I really don’t want sitting on the carpet (and preferred to have on the tile in the laundry room). Oh well. It is what it is.
All in all – he has to come back when we’ve moved those things to sign off on the paperwork. He actually said he could have issued me a citation for the shelves in the furnace room, which are at least 36″ away from the furnace. Thankfully, he didn’t, or that might have pushed me over the edge!
A funny note on the fire extinguishers – he asked me if we had them on all floors but only asked to see the one in the kitchen. Then he told me that the Fire Marshal only cares that we have the extinguishers, but to expect the Health Department inspector to insist that they are mounted on walls in central, visible locations. Thankfully our health inspector didn’t comment on that, because I think I might have really flipped out if I had to have four gigantic, ugly fire extinguishers mounted throughout my home in conspicuous locations. I don’t mind having them (frankly, after our neighbors had a fire two summers ago, I am glad to have them), but I think they’re just fine in cabinets or closets, as long as we know where they are and they’re easily accessible.
Darn it, I wanted to be able to check this item off the list, and I can’t do it quite yet!