How the Howard County Fire Department Ensures Safety and Compliance

The Howard County Fire Department (HCFD) is dedicated to providing a safe environment for its citizens and employees. To ensure this, they regularly review their policies and procedures to make sure they are compliant with all relevant regulations and standards. The HCFD's requirements cover a wide range of safety issues, from fire protection systems and equipment to occupant safety in both new and existing buildings. This includes the process of evacuation in the event of a fire, smoke, or utility emergency.

The Fire and Construction Code Plan Review Office of the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections is responsible for enforcing sprinkler laws, while the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code is designed to protect lives and property by regulating fire and explosion hazards. The Fire Marshal's Office and the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections also enforce laws related to carbon monoxide alarms. Chapter 13 of the Fire Code regulates the Fire Department's access to fire protection systems and the design of fire protection systems. The Inspection and Appeals Department requires compliance with the State Fire Code for assisted living facilities, as well as providing information on open fire regulations and permits, such as leaf burning, bonfires, agricultural burning, campfires, and small cooking fires. The Baltimore County Fire Marshal's Office (BCoFD) enforces the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, which is very similar to the Maryland Fire Prevention Code but tailored to meet the needs of the county. Howard County employees who hold eligible full-time positions are eligible for a range of benefits.

The installation of fire alarm systems must comply with state and local fire codes; they require permits from the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections. Additional details can be found in the Employee Handbook or in summary descriptions of plans available in the Office of Human Resources or on the Howard County Government benefits website. The Office of Emergency Management and Risk Assessment (HIRA) of the Howard County Office of Emergency Management conducts comprehensive analyses to identify potential hazards. Construction documents for certain projects must be submitted to the Building Code Office for plan review unless they have been submitted to a local department approved by the State Fire Marshal Division. The Staff Captain is responsible for implementing emergency operations plans (EOP) for HCPSS.

The Howard County government does not sponsor employees who apply for an H-1B visa or provide an extension of an existing H-1B visa. In emergency incidents, protective action is taken to ensure the safety and well-being of those involved. This may include closing a school or support center, modified lockdown, on-site sheltering, evacuation, etc.

Constance Kaukola
Constance Kaukola

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