Equipment check

FILE PHOTO — Fire District 3 firefighter Ryan Nohrenberg checks equipment stored on a fire engine at the Battle Ground fire station Sept. 26, 2019.

On the heels of Gov. Jay Inslee’s approval for Clark County to apply for Phase 2 of reopening, Clark County Fire District 3 has announced its plan to waive fire inspection fees assessed to local businesses in the city of Battle Ground.

According to the fire district, fire and life safety inspections of businesses are a cornerstone of the fire prevention program to identify and mitigate fire hazards before they become a risk. An effective inspection program improves a community’s insurance rating, which lowers insurance premiums for businesses and homeowners, the district said in a press release.

In order to fund an effective inspection program, a fee is charged to each business inspected. The fees offset costs but do not fully fund the program. The minimum fee is $150, which increases incrementally based on the size and type of business.

While many businesses are dealing with economic uncertainty, Fire District 3 is waiving the inspection fee. This does not apply to new construction or businesses handling hazardous materials.

Fire District 3 plans to coordinate inspections in concert with the phased reopening model set by the state. The phases for fire inspection are as follows. Phase 1: Only essential fire inspections related to new construction and fire protection systems are being conducted by Fire District 3. Phase 2: Lower risk businesses will have the ability to conduct self-inspections, using forms and checklists created by Fire District 3. Phase 3: On site physical fire inspections will resume for all businesses. All associated fees will be waived for qualifying businesses. Phase 4: Inspections will continue and fees necessary to fund the fire prevention program will be reinstated.

“We are dedicated to the protection of lives, property, and the environment through fire prevention,” Fire Marshal Chris Drone said in a news release. “We recognize the importance of our local businesses, and are committed to helping them during these difficult economic times.”

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