Fire Protection Inspectors: The Backbone Of NYC’s Fire Department

November 30, 2020

By Silver Krieger

New York, NY – FDNY Bureau of Fire Prevention Inspectors are responsible for some of the most vital safety measures in the city. The Bureau consists of various units that work hard conducting highly technical and hazardous inspections throughout the year.

Testing and inspecting firefighting equipment is just one of their duties. They also pour over entire standpipes systems and sprinkler arrays citywide, making sure all are in working order in the event of an emergency. They maintain rooftop access for smoke-eaters to do their work, safeguarding bridges, tunnels, construction sites, residential buildings, commercial structures and the Subway.

Labor Press spoke to Executive Board Members of Local 2507 and Deputy Chief Inspectors Darryl Chalmers of the Construction Demolition and Abatement (CDA) Unit and Michael Reardon of the Bulk Fuel Safety (BFS) Unit to learn more about the difficult task of preventing fires.  Local 2507 consists of various titles including EMTs, EMT-Paramedics, and the Fire Protection Inspector title series which includes the ranks Fire Protection Inspectors, Supervising Inspectors level 1, level II, level III (also known as Deputy Chief Inspectors) and Chief Inspectors. 

Together, Chalmers and Reardon have a combined 64-years of on-the-job experience. Both and are supremely dedicated to keeping New York and all its visitors safe.

LP: What are some of the role’s members have that the public may not be aware of?

MR: The BFS Unit inspects and conducts testing at bulk fuel facilities.

Bulk Fuel Safety Unit / Pipeline Unit:

Conduct inspections installations testing of all types of fire protection systems alarms etc. at all Gasoline, private fueling facilities, Power Plants, Methane Recovery Plants, Compressed Natural Gas, Bulk Fuel Facilities, Liquid Natural Gas Facility, Con Edison, National Grid. Conducts regular inspections by patrolling three major pipeline companies Buckeye, Colonial, IMTT, including inspections, testing at their facilities in New York & New Jersey. Conducts Borough Drills on Buckeye Pipelines by witnessing closing of valves by FDNY Fire Fighters and supervised by FDNY Fire Inspectors.

DC: The 2009 inception of the CDA Unit was realized after the Deutsche Bank fire of August 18, 2007, where two firefighters tragically lost their lives. The unit was created to address the safety issues of construction sites citywide. CDA Inspectors ensure that ‘no smoking’ signs are posted throughout the site, that there is means of egress and the proper storage of flammable liquids and LPG. Construction sites are also inspected to ensure that they are safe for firefighting operations. Fire Protection Inspectors perform post-fire inspections to confirm that the sprinkler system or standpipe system is operable for firefighters.

LP: Can you shed some light on some of the other units in the Bureau?

DC: District Office -Conduct life safety inspections at street fairs and places of special events to ensure that entities comply with all city regulations in regards to the storage of flammable gases and liquid; storage of combustible mixtures/liquids located at street fairs or places of special events.  

Range-Hood Unit – This Unit conducts inspections and check for code compliance of the installation of fire suppression systems installed on commercial cooking equipment(s).

High Rise Unit – This Unit conduct life safety inspections on all office and hotel occupancies in New York City that are requirements, the HighRise Unit will be testing certified Fire Safety Directors to certify them as Emergency Action Plan Directors including active shooter.

Public Building Unit – This Unit conduct life safety inspections on building(s) classified as shelters for the homeless; closely monitors life safety inspections of schools conducted by the local field units and is a liaison to other City Agencies that may be in violation of any fire code violations.

Fireworks Safety Unit – This Unit consist of specially trained Inspectors that conduct site safety inspections at any location that requires a permit for fireworks display in the City of New York such as the famous Macy’s Fireworks and Coney Island Fireworks.

There’s also a COVID Task Force. Fire Inspectors travel throughout the five boroughs to hand out masks and make sure businesses are not overcrowded; for example, bars and restaurants. We shut them down or give violations [if there’s a problem]. We are the only ones performing this Mayor’s initiative.