tv Government Access Programming SFGTV August 22, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
[pledge of allegiance] >> this is a reminder to silence all electronic devices the fire commission regular meeting wednesday, august 14th, and the time is 9:00 a.m. item one is roll call. [roll call] item two, general public comment members of the public may address the commission for up to three minutes on any matter within the commission's jurisdiction and does not appear
on the agenda. speakers shall address the remarks to the commission as a whole and not to individual commissioners or department personnel. commissioners are not to enter into debate or discussion with the speaker. the lack of a response by the commissioners were department personnel does not necessarily constitute agreement with or support of statements made during public comment. >> thank you very much. is there any member of the public that wishes to give public comment at this time? please approach the podium if you do. seeing none, public comment is closed. >> item three, approval of the minutes. discussion of possible action to approve the meeting minutes of the july 24th, 2019, meeting. >> thank you. at this point, item three, approve the minutes. is anyone from the public would like to state public comment on this item of approval of the minutes?
seeing none, madam secretary, public comment is closed. commissioners. >> move to approve, mr. president. >> second. >> all in favor say aye. >> aye. >> thank you very much, commissioners. madam secretary, i am going to, commissioners, move item six out of order, the update from the assistant deputy chief up to the next item. the chief has a pressing meeting that he needs to attend and also department personnel from his unit his here, as well. with that, commissioners, madam secretary, i will call the chief up. thank you. >> good morning, commissioners. here this morning to give a
brief overview and update of the division of fire prevention investigation. today's agenda will be high-level presentation today. it is a general overview of the division and breakdown of scope and duties within the division. we'll talk about recent accomplishments over the past few years and programs we have launched and continue to grow. we'll talk about current initiatives that are ongoing and then i have our senior staff here which i would like to introduce at the end of the presentation to acknowledge them for all their hard work that they do. this first slide is just a general breakdown of the division. the division is made up of two bureaus, the bureau fire investigation, and the bureau of fire prevention. we are 100 members strong. we have an assistant fire
marshal, we have nine captains, we have 12 lieutenants, we have 50 plus inspectors, we have nine investigators and six fire protection engineers, seven admin support. we are a large group and it takes entire group to get the job done. we are a team. it is worth mentioning this past fiscal year that we completed 26 inspections. is a 50% increase over the last ten years. in addition, we have processed 13,000 construction permits as an increase of 100% over the last ten years. beginning with the fire investigation, that team is headed by our assistant fire marshal. there is a captain of the lieutenant and admin support. the captain who is the manager of the unit is not here today. i would like to go down with this response. they respond to up to 20 fires
in a month. zero five prevention. what i have before you on the slide is a breakdown of our sections. captain harold is here today and manages our plan check section. about 1,000 plans plus a month. districts, captain matthews is here for districts. or team is, if you look at the lifecycle of the construction project, the very end of it is the field inspections. her team goes out to see that all the work is done per plan and is per code. her group is the last to sign off. fire permits, those are
operational permits. there's about 42 of them in the fire code who regulated activity from the fire code. we process about 4,000 of those a year. high-rise, we have a high-rise section. that is all under captain mary shea. we have five high-rise inspectors. we inspect every high-rise once a year. there are 622 of them. fire complaints, that is a new section that we have launched over the last couple of years, no speak more to that on the next slide. the port of san francisco, the port is over seed in any fire prevention activity is his responsibility. he also serves as our new hearing officer, and he is also -- he has been assigned a special project with the fire code amendments, which he has done a fine job and i will speak
to that on the next slide. s.f.o., captain russell. she heads the team down there that is responsible for capital improvement projects. it is the terminal one project, and the new hotel. schools, we inspect every school annually. there's 240 of them. that falls under captain mary shea. residential care facilities, again, social services before permitting these residential care facilities request by -- requested -- the next four items i will speak more in depth on the next slide. community outreach team, training, and special projects and housing. i would like to review some of our accomplishments that we've
had. becoming fire marshal four years ago, we had a backlog of fire investigations and it is now down to 53. i credit that to management and training. the captain is doing a fine job. fire complaints section, this is a new section. it is headed by a lieutenant, that is our accelerated code enforcement officer, and their four inspectors dedicated to fire complaints. all the fire complaints were sent over to the district inspectors who had to balance their load with new construction and referrals, and fire complaints. we want to make fire complaints a priority. we created a separate section and that can give it the ability to address it properly. we receive anywhere from 400 to 500 complaints a month. the majority of our fire
complaints come from our r1 and r2 watch what inspections, company inspections. part of that fire complaints, i would like to make note in the appendix, i put in the appendix probably more detail than we really need, but it shows the lifecycle of a complaint and the notice of violation in the administrative citation, admin hearing, it is all there. there is a chart of the lifecycle of complaint. part of that lifecycle is the ministry of hearing. we have two administrative hearings and month. the administrative hearing officer -- those issues that are not abated or corrected or forwarded from the integrated hearing at the time they are issued. it is worth noting our website. we have answers on our website. you can look up fire records which will link you to the building, which you can look up
and address and all fire -related inspection activity is right there at your fingertips. the community outreach program headed by captain bombing. participating in about 15 events or presentations a month, including the monthly fire safety fears. we interact with about 2,000 san francisco his each month. website enhancements, further on the website enhancements, i would like to thank and acknowledge our p.i.o. we have a number of fire safety information sheets and tips on our website. also we have a fire safety video that our community outreach team developed, and it is on the website for all to view. and then we have special projects team. affordable housing. originally this team was
developed just to address the development projects. there's a proximal he 17 of them i refer you to the appendix. if you look in the appendix, there is a snapshot of the pipeline. i assume you all have a copy -- you don't. here is the fire complaint lifecycle. it goes into detail from end to end process all the way from code enforcement. here we go. this is what i was referring to for our housing team. the latest data for the planning department. 72,000 new residential units in the pipeline. a significant portion of those fall under the review of our plan check but also our special housing team.
that team has now taken on other duties, as well. we are adding a lieutenant to that team. we have a fire protection engineer, two inspectors, they're taking on the a.d.u. then we have task, which is a new program, as well. captain chad law works with m.t.a. and d.p.w. vision zero, walk and bike s.f., and he oversees or he represents a fire department for any and all street calming proposals. he has to strike a balance was safety and pedestrians and bicyclists while maintaining fire department access. that is his job. current initiatives.
i got out of order there. i apologize. i thought you had this slideshow otherwise i would have just ripped -- i wouldn't have just referred to the appendix. investments to our budget, we are repurposed singh a couple of our positions up to chief level officers. and again, i refer you to the appendix. if you look at the appendix here , if you look at our chart, that is our existing order chart when i came to the department, when it came into the bureau in 1997, we had two captains, now we have nine captains. we felt that was under control and would be better served -- better served with an additional
42 positions. we also felt that given the decision-making authority at chief level officer positions would serve as well. and also, quite frankly, just to be more strategic and more responsive and flexible in making these decisions, and basically owning the sections below you and giving it more direct oversight. the next slide in the appendix was the new age 42 will show the different breakdowns and the structuring that is under control. i think it speaks for itself. highlighting right now the fire code amendments. we have the 2019 san francisco -- california fire code which will go into effect with amendments january 1st, 2020. captain kaufman has headed that,
making those revisions and we take the old code, we update it, the section numbers et cetera, we do little tweaks, little changes here and there. nothing really significant or controversial, it is just cleaning things up a bit. the process, we have the final draft, which i will share with the chief. we get their input and approval then it will go to the city attorney for them to review. after that it will come to you as the commission to vote on it before it goes to the supervisors. all this needs to happen by january 1st. also part of that update, the administrative bulletins, they are part of the fire code. they will come before you for approval, as well. our assistant fire marshal pruitt and captain harold have been working on those with their teams. forty-nine south van ness, it is a one-stop shop permit center. next june it will be there.
the main changes there will be that we will be joining the construction permits and operational permits a 49 south van ness. the reason we're doing that is because there is some overlap, and it makes sense to have the city together. so for consistency, and also it is more efficient with our management team. also on that, we are in the process of migrating to electronic planning. we are starting a pilot next month. we will start small with the a.d.u. team. i think eventually it will take some time, a couple years, but we will be across the city and everything will be done paperless. the advantage to that is, besides being paperless, is parallel pass review. the departments where there's overlap and review, redundancy, but necessary redundancy, i
might say, right now it goes through each department. you can have realtime parallel path review and electronic review. you can see realtime, other departments' comments, et cetera it will be a major improvement down the road. special projects, housing. we just recently signed an m.o.u. with d.p.w. to expedite review and approval for all homeless shelters and navigation centres. that scope has grown. special housing has to do with anything that's large community development or affordable housing, including homelessness. training. that is something i have been trying to focus on. as you can see, we have so many of them sections within the division. each section become specialized. so to be efficient -- we are limited on the flexibility in how we can move our human
resources around, and what we -- what we are trying to attempt to do is to broaden our base in training and the plan review, and we have had two classes now. we are just finishing up a six-week class for plan review or fire protection engineering -- our fire protection engineer has been doing that. we had an intro plan review and we just had an intermediate plan review completed. we anticipate one on fire alarms will be our next class. broaden the base, give us flexibility to respond to any priorities that is asked of us. recently, as per the direction of c.d. two, we have been meeting monthly with our battalion chiefs and district inspectors. this is a great idea. the inspectors can share in their district any projects, concerns, or any information that they should know, and in return, they can ask questions
or whatever they need from our fire inspectors. that line of communication is now open and it has always been open, but i think this is a major step forward. and now i would like to introduce our senior staff. if you can all come up. i like to see a couple things about our staff before introduce them. they are very experienced. the average experience level of our team is 24 years in the fire department. i want to bring them up to acknowledge all their hard work. my monthly reports that i give, i try to attach a name to it to show this is a team, a group effort, and that is why i wanted them to come forward here. it is also worth noting, everyone here behind me came from the ranks of firefighter. they serve on engine companies,
truck companies, they are e.m.t.s, so they know what our field units, what challenges they face. they bring that forward when they conduct their duties in fire prevention. not only did they look after the occupants in the building, but they look out for our members. they know what to expect, they know fire behaviour, they know what kind of tools we need to do our job. so i thank you can't put a price tag on that. it is invaluable. so i will start with our assistant fire marshal, achieve pruitt. achieve pruitt overseas -- chief pruitt overseas the fire investigation section. captain matthews is our district -- she heads our district inspectors. mary shea is our admin captain. she is located at headquarters. she oversees a number of things
including operational permits, high-rise inspections, fire complaints, residential care facilities, schools. captain harold is at our plan check section. a very difficult job. the whole end to end, whether it be the planning review, rejects, all the way down to water flows, we're getting data for spengler science. that falls under captain harold. captain russell at s.f.o., again , i mentioned there was a large capital improvement project that she was involved with. captain ken kaufman is next to her. next to him is mike pat, our housing special projects team. and we brought our fire protection engineer which is a core member of our team.
i always get his name wrong. i just call him come all -- i just call him kamal. we are open to any questions you may have. thank you. >> thank you very much, chief. at this particular time, we will ask for public comment first and then we will ask for comments or questions from the commissioners any member of the public wishes to give public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioners? >> thank you. it is always nice to see a big guy that is approachable and nice and just has a way about him that doesn't overwhelm people. you have a good attitude for a good got -- a big guy.
i used to admire that in great athletes. he would take you out in a second but he never did it. you just try and use discretion. he didn't use his physical ability. he was one of my favorite guys. anyway, great report, i'm real happy, who's ever idea this was. i'm really glad to hear it because i learned a lot and how busy you have been, and how the department has expanded. i like the idea of going from two to nine captains. that was a great move. one thing i am interested in is -- captain kaufman has a new assistant -- was it last year that you got the new assistant, or was it two years ago? >> do you want to come on up? >> didn't you get someone to help you out down there?
>> oh, yes,. >> just a few months? it started a couple of years ago , it took that long, okay. [laughter] >> originally when we spoken -- we had spoken before there was me and one other person. i have since got another inspector, and we approved or lieutenant recently. now i have a lieutenant. >> good. i catch a little bit here and there in the report but it didn't stick into my head. maybe with the chase center, 70, this new navigation hot topic, maybe the chief could have you come before us in a couple months once the chase center opens and sort of see how well that is going. you have a lot of obligation down there with all that stuff going on. >> the chase center, that property line right there is on city property. >> oh that goes to you? >> i do have -- [simultaneous talking]
i also have mission rock, the giants' development. >> that is a huge one. >> and the seawall lot 330 navigation centres. >> that one is quite interesting i don't know if any of you heard the report yesterday about some person being attacked and injured, it was on the radio this morning. i heard it and it is a controversial subject so i'm not going to comment on it because it is not our decision. thank you, chief -- i mean captain. thank you. that was really -- i'm really happy about the electronic plan. i know how computer technology is breaking every department and every line of work there is. it take so long to adjust to that. let's keep our fingers crossed for 2020. that would be the goal, -- >> change is difficult but it will pay off. >> it is very hard on everybody. thank you. nice to see you again, captain
pruitt. is nice to see you. another guy who has a big attitude. >> we have a good team. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. before we proceed with questions or comments for the record, commissioner veronese he has joined. commissioner cleveland? >> thank you, mr. president. thank you, chief for being here and bringing your talented and experienced team with you. i appreciate it, having worked for many years in the commercial real estate industry here in san francisco, i realize how invaluable your portion of the fire department is to the economy of our city. i appreciate every day what you guys and girls do. thank you for that. i had a couple questions. on the codes update, obviously that impacts all the built environment out there, and you mentioned there was nothing of a big deal, i guess you said, that
was being considered currently. can you elaborate? >> that is my perspective. we are cleaning up some language regarding fire escapes, the maintenance of fire escapes, access to fire escapes. we are adding language about personnel that the fire department deems qualified to serve as sprinkler and fire alarm systems in san francisco. >> what does that mean? >> for example, to serve an annual inspection on a fire alarm system, the standard leaves it up to the local jurisdiction to deem who is qualified, doesn't have to be a technician, does have to be a.c. ten, et cetera. we already had something out there in the form of an information sheet, but that will now be in our fire code. it will be in our fire code, spelling it out. >> it is come down from the states. this has been passed at the state level? >> no, it is not at the state level. the state just refers to the standard as far as maintenance
and the standard itself. >> and that is the minimum standard? >> he gives four different qualifications and it is up to the authority to choose which they will acknowledge as being qualified. >> would you consider the local standard that we are going to adopt be higher than the state standard? >> no. we are just clarifying it. i think it is long overdue. again, we are just assuring that those working on the systems are trained properly in that type of line of work. >> those are the big two changes you imagine? >> that is the main changes. certain things with operational permits. we have mobile fuelling checks, we have cannabis, processing, growing facilities, mobile food carts, that has been in question lately and how to address those, those types of things. >> yeah,.
don't get me started on mobile food trucks. admin bulletins, you talked about some of those and development. what are those issues? >> those are basically clarifications of the fire department interpretation. we are not rewriting the code, the code does not spell everything out, it is just there for clarification purposes. >> i realize how important those bulletins are because of how you implement a code and make all the differences between it being easy and inexpensive, and being difficult and lengthy and very expensive. >> for the most part, they don't add to the requirements. we just clarify. >> that process is very important to the industry. >> correct. thank you. i am also hardened to hear you are migrating to an electronic plan review process and you're starting with the a.d.u. >> yes. >> is this d.s.l. a system that
d.b.i. is using? >> we are not sure where that will live or be stored. it will be cloud-based. i am by far the expert on this. i know they will be using blue beam. they will be trying to mirror what is going on in s.f.o., which has been successful. the difference with s.f.o. is the volume. up here, you know, they process up to 60,000 permits a year. it doesn't necessarily translate 100% up to here. it will be a learning and growing process, but we will start small. >> it will be important to migrate to a completely electronic plan review system, if you will, and i applaud you for doing that. i know it is going to be difficult and there will be a lot of learning curves and a lot of problems as we go along, but that is so important to the public to be able to gain access easily to wear their plans are, what is the holdup, you know, in terms of turnaround,.
>> the other advantages you will see realtime department comments when there is overlap. also with the storage of documents. right now we have to go through the -- through to the building apartment to get those documents now we have them at the tip of our fingers for reference. >> you talk about the special projects and housing. can you elaborate a little bit about what fast tracking that process means? >> the mayor and the city has certain priorities for 100% affordable housing, a.d.u.s, that is one of them. i think there are three or four executive directors over the past going back to mayor lee, and encoding -- including our current mayor on prioritizing affordable housing. there's a couple ways of doing it. we can just put it in the queue with everything else to plan check, and then move it up to the front of the line, which i think really does a disservice to those that don't qualify for that, or we can create a separate section for what we didn't have a total separate pass and then qualifying for those type of projects, a ghost on a different path and goes to
the housing projects team. >> i applaud -- thank you. you mentioned some cross training being done and i think that's really excellent. the more that people are trained across other disciplines within the department, within your section, i think is valuable information because you can always have your fellow employee step in and help out in a situation where you get overburdened in one particular area. >> we're currently considering a 10% rotation of our inspectors at this time, every six months. >> perfect. >> it wouldn't be too disruptive , but over time we would get a balance across all sections. >> and i believe the increased communication with the battalion chiefs is really invaluable. i appreciate you doing that and organizing it on a regular schedule basis. thank you for all you do,
achieve. >> thank you very much. vice president covington? >> thank you, mr. president. thank you fire marshal. i can't believe it has already been four years. that went by fast. >> it did. >> it just flew by. i thank you and your team are doing a fabulous job, except for lieutenant shea, i mean, she is only all the time. [laughter] she is an excellent instructor. she is doing a very good job, too. i am really impressed with the reduction and the number of arson investigations that were pending. once they went down they have stayed down, so that means that things were in place to make sure that that happened.
i appreciate that very much. also, the reduction in the time it takes to do the plan checks for the new units, the a.d.u.s. that, i think, was a really master plot on the part of the mayor to say all the departments need to get together so that we can get these units up and running, and it was a challenge, and your team met the challenge extremely well. i appreciate that. now can you tell us a little bit about -- i know you are going to meeting after this regarding, is it rooftop open space? >> rooftop decks. >> rooftop decks. are we having quite a problem with rooftop decks?
>> the code is not very explicit on the rooftop decks, how do you find the roost -- the use of a rooftop deck? i'm speaking to our two, not single-family dwellings. typically in the past you have a deck associated with a specific unit what has changed is for the open space requirements are planning department to put in the open space on the roof. now you have a common deck for all occupants in the building. the question is, how do we define that use of the deck. is it considered in our two residential unit, or is it considered an assembly space or something, some kind of hybrid? now it is not spelled out in the code. the code addresses outdoor open spaces and leaves it to the fire code. we have reached out. we try to be proactive.
we did it with a.d.u.s when there is overlap we try to get both departments on the same page for a consistent message. we are not going back and forth for every application. we are asking you to sit down with the building department and come up with an interim -- if information sheet. it is better for the applicants and better for departments to expedite these reviews. that is one issue. the other issue is the state fire marshal has jurisdiction. the definition of a high-rise is 75 feet. was he hit 75 feet to occupy floors. you become a high-rise. the question for interpretation is the deck on the roof is considered an occupied floor when measuring for a high-rise. what this does is it bumps the
buildings into a high-rise status which is significant when the -- for the planning code. that is the specific issue that will be discussed today and we reached out to the fire marshals to discuss this and this is an ongoing back-and-forth at this time. >> i know that in addition to a lot of the smaller buildings in san francisco under the 75-foot limit, there were a lot of apartment buildings that have taken out all of the parking spaces and put in living units, dwelling units, and they have decided that to add an amenity that they will have a roof deck. there doesn't seem to be any kind of restriction on how high
the wall should be two separate it from single-family homes or adjacent dwellings, and we have a lot of wind in san francisco these days. they don't -- i don't think it has ever been this windy before. i am concerned about those inverse travelling and causing problems. >> the main issue there is the type of construction. if you are putting a roof deck on a combustible construction type five or type three, you are limited on what store you can have a place of assembly. for example, if you are a type three combustible construction, you cannot have no sublease space above the fourth floor. a lot of these buildings go five or six stories. and now i put a rooftop deck, how are we defining it? is it a place of assembly? illegally cannot put that deck up on that level. the smaller building is two or three stories without having a lot of insight.
we haven't really been focused on that. i think we have a little bit more flexibility there. but the type of construction, and can you put a place of assembly at that level. >> thank you for that clarification. are we doing any outreach to the public to let them know that these barbecues, you know, the very small portable ones are not suitable to have on the roofs? because i have been to a couple of fires here in the city where somebody decides, well, i think i would like to roast something, and then they do, and they think they have put the fire out, and the next thing you know, the department has to come in and is all -- there's water cascading down five or six floors, you know, ruining everyone's apartment. and the elevators have to be turned off. are we doing any outreach to say don't decide you were going to
barbecue on the roof? >> there's two things there. you have the residential single-family dwellings, which -- that is not our jurisdiction. the our two, the high density residential, the code already has provisions in there -- once you go over a certain size square foot of a deck, it has to be noncombustible. >> i am saying this is not a deck. this is just the rooftop. are we doing any outreach to not be the owners of the building, but the audience of the building >> that is something you can add to your website. >> duly noted. >> thank you for your presentation. >> my pleasure. >> thank you, fire marshal and mr. president. just following up on that conversation from vice president covington. when you look at this rooftop
deck, whenever you guys decide on it, i think it is important that you think practically, not like how will this deck actually be used, because you see that when we have these big events like the blue angels, half the city gets up on those decks, and we have had people full from those decks, not even decks, just rooftops. so when you go to permit these things, i don't know what the current code says about those rooftops that are not decks, but if you -- if they're going to be used as decks, then we need to make them safe. >> absolutely. >> how are they practically going to be used? if there is a ladder up there or a staircase to go there, because it is an emergency exit, then there should be some rules around how that deck could be used, and they should be enforced. at the end of the day, people end up dying in fires end up happening and then it falls on us. >> agreed. there are requirements. railings within 10 feet of a drop, et cetera, they're already
provisions in the code. if you're talking about people just going up to the roof, that is a different story. we are also considering, depending on how this all plays out with the rooftop decks, defining the use, et cetera, possibly adding that to our annual inspections with fire prevention if we do have a place of assembly that is a rooftop deck. you limit the cooking, eating, drinking, dining up there. it is truly open space. that is truly what we're trying to achieve with the planning department. >> how is it not a place of assembly? what else would you use it for? >> i agree, it is a place of assembly. >> if you look in chapter 10 and how you define the space, and the breakdown of the calculations for the occupant loads, et cetera, there is nothing there for open space. we refer to loose chairs, fixed chairs, and tables and 50 square feet. if we apply the 15 square feet rule, your deck, you have to be 49 or less, your deck cannot be
over 750 square feet which is a tiny deck. so how do we address that, striking a balance with open space requirements, but having the roof being safe and not having 200 people on the roof. >> so how is open space different from a place of assembly? >> occupancy is all about use, how are we defining the use. if you look at pace of assembly, it could be eating, drinking, dining, dancing, worship, it can be, you know, sporting events, et cetera. there's nothing in the code that says i will sit on a park bench and look at the trees and watch the birds fly over. that is just open space. we're trying to address that. i was going to have eating, drinking, dining, cooking, barbecues, we have to answer all those questions. how do we define it and what kind of parameters are limitations or limitations to be put on it. >> okay. i guess i would just like to see the definition of open space versus place of assembly because
, i hear what you're saying about sitting on a park benson staring up at the trees, but you're still assembling up there if there is still more than one person doing it. >> 100%. there are many subcategories of assembly. we do have the authority and latitude to define the use and the occupant load. we will need to do that in conjunction with the building department. >> is the whole point of these rules to make sure that it is a safe place to be? >> every occupancy has associated hazards with it. places of assembly will have a greater density of people. they may be drinking, you know, there is activities associated with that occupancy that puts it in a hazard class level. >> i get it. >> that's why places of assembly are more restrictive on what the code requires. >> okay. i would love to see this code when it gets -- and if you could get that i know that we have it by generally first to get it to the board of supervisors, we will get it -- whatever that case is, can you get it to us as soon as possible so we can read it and understand it? i don't want to get it on a
thursday to vote on it on a wednesday. >> absolutely. what i think this would probably come out is it would be in at -- and interpretation, which still would have to be approved by this body here, approved by the chief of the department and the deputy chiefs before it came to you. absolutely. >> if there is going to be a need for greater enforcement, then, of course, for these new rule changes, and that translates into a bigger team and a need for a bigger team, or will not get enforced and people are going to get hurt. >> agreed. >> so if we can get this stuff in advance so at least the commission, if we are going to vote on it, the commission can chime in on what we think, that would be great. when these permits get denied, where do they get appealed to? >> they go through the chain of command.
the fire department level, it will go right up the chain of command and eventually to a fire marshal depending on the scope or the tape of project. -- or type of project. >> that the building department has a process that listens to appeals. from that they can -- from the fire department side, our appeal process goes up from the lowest ranking to the lieutenant, up to me, to the fire marshal. when we are doing that chain of command, we can agree with the applicant and allow that permit to go forward, or disagree with them and then they can resend it for the next higher level. >> and high level beyond you guys is the permit of appeals board? or will be the building commission? >> it will be the building department. >> once a fire department says no, there is no agreement on
this, then they will appeal it if they choose to. usually when there is an appeal from the fireside of it, the building department is in line because our codes, for the most part mirror each other. it is where the requirement goes >> it just seems ought to me that the building department would be the place to appeal a fire permit. >> i would like to clarify. there is overlap. there was an appeal on a deck for in our two. the state fire marshal has jurisdiction over all all in california. we had the local level -- the building department looks at structural, a.d.a., environmental design stuff, that type of stuff. if there was an appeal, we have the right to refuse as to what i am trying to say. the building department, eventually it goes to the building department for their appeal, but we are not -- it will not overrule our objection, if that helps to answer your question. comes up to the fire marshal at
this point and that is it. that is where it ends at this point unless we want to introduce an additional appeal, a public process. >> okay. >> i just want to make sure there's not another department that is overruling our finding. we see this nonsense happening with the bicycle people. >> in my experience, that has yet to happen. they are always in step with us. we do have sidebars and we talk about it to make sure we're on the same page. we are open to discussion of any issue. if the building department to layout their position and it differs from ours, we are open. if the rational make sense, we open to changing our view. if not, we hold a line and we apply the code. >> okay. i just want to make sure the fire stuff is appealed with fire people.
because ultimately we are the ones saving the lives. thank you so much. make sure we get that in advance of the new rule change. i appreciate everyone's hard work. it sounds like you have an amazing team. >> thank you. commissioner hardeman? >> thank you. i just want to complement you on your report. very good. it saves a lot of questions and shortens the meetings. assistant chief pruitt, i called you captain. last time i hear i did that. -- last time you were here i did that. we sit next to each other a few weeks ago at a luncheon and got to know you a little bit better. thank you. i have one little thing. the nine inspectors, is that
working out? i know that has been a controversial number since i got on the commission. it has gone up and down and been everywhere. >> investigators. >> the nine investigators. >> we strive to have twaddle on duty at all times. when we have nine, sometimes there are three. we're trying we are trying to be efficient and be mindful of our costs associated with our service. again, it is all about striking a balance. at this time, we still have budgeted, nine positions. >> and they are not overwhelmed? >> no, not to my knowledge. >> it is being managed. that is why the caseload is being maintained. >> and i see in your report that there are no greater alarms. more of that, the better it is, i guess. it must stress you.
>> obviously i think roof decks are great and i think a lot of people who live in our city don't have outdoor areas to go to and to go out and get some sunshine, some air, some views, roof decks are an important alternative because there's nothing on the street that they can go to that is green what gives him that outer opportunity i think it is important that we support roof decks, but as long as they are safe. one of the things i wanted to ask you, is are there national codes dealing with roof decks, and will they channel those codes? >> the ipc, california, there must be -- there is nothing more specific than what we just
presented here in the code that i am aware of. >> really? >> correct. again, at the local level, quite often they use it -- they define it as accessory use. it is a different application. i further agree with you. i think it is important -- it is possible to strike a balance. there's a path there to find a safe way of designing these decks, but we are not in agreement 100% yet with the building department so we need to come together to figure that out. >> thank you. we look forward to getting that bulletin. >> thank you very much. vice president covington? >> thank you. there was just one thing i forgot to ask you about and i want to make sure that we all have more detail on it. you mentioned during your opening remarks that there are a number of categories that have
increased over the past ten years. i think -- can you give us those details again? because i want to know if there has also been in rise -- arise in the number of people doing those particular tasks. >> yes on both counts. we did a little research when we are discussing the budget and we were discussing the assistant fire marshal his. as soon as they looked at the chart and reflected back, we went from two to nine. that is why i went back ten years. i came in at 97 to the bureau and we had two captains. we have come from there to this point. just going back ten years, we had roughly 17,000 annual inspections, and then we just had 26,000 at the end of the fiscal year, and then again we had about 6500 applications for permits through plan check, and we are at 13,000 for the end of the last fiscal year.
a significant increase. the numbers justify it and show the need for that, and again, with the 42, we're looking at a span of control. we're just trying to put everything back in a normal span of control structure. >> so then you feel that you are staffed well? >> we are getting an additional three inspectors as part of the last budget. i have to say that the mirror and our achieve are totally supportive, and i have to say we have been given the resources we need to get our job done. >> good. this commission supports you, as well. >> absolutely. we appreciate that. >> good. i just wanted to make sure that i went back and got those details. thank you. >> thank you very much. just a few comments, chief and captains. at some point, perhaps you might be able to give us 11 -- an electronic copy of your
presentation. >> will do. >> we followed it, but again, in detail. also, in terms of information, when you show an organizational chart, part of the flavour of yourself and your colleagues is to give us more of an in-depth report and field of your various units and the -- you can tell that the commission is involved in questions and levels of that, so that is very, very important. we have done about an hour at this point, and hopefully we will get you to your next meeting. the organizational chart is fast , and it is nice to be able to see an order by name. how many personnel do we have in terms of fire marshals or fire staff, prevention staff? >> overall staff? >> overall. >> we are counting overall staff , everything, approximately 100. >> okay. again, in terms of your presentation, your chart is nice to be able to see it divided
within prevention and investigation. to be able to help us within that absorption, as well. four years doesn't seem like a long time, but it seems like a long time, chief. >> it is like dog here's. >> you have done -- it is like dog years. >> you have done some great things. to the captains, again, thank you very much. when the reports come in, when the chief gives the reports, there are names attached. so for myself and colleagues on the commission, we look at those names, but i can't tell you how great it is to say how great it is to see name associated with a face. it means a lot to west but also gives sustenance to the report, as well. we deeply appreciate all of your
hard work and dedication. this department is on it. things could be terrible without these circumstances. even in terms of new initiatives , it is all at hot bought in spots -- hot button spots. there is much appreciation from this commission to you. thank you very much, chief. >> thank you. >> madam secretary? >> we will go back to item four. chief of department's request for leave to attend 2019 annual conference of the california fire chiefs association. >> so moved. >> thank you for that. may i call for public comment before we get to that item? any member of the public wishes to give public comment? public comment is closed. at this point, we have a motion
by commissioner hardeman. >> second. >> seconded by vice president covington. all in favor? >> aye. >> thank you very much. madam secretary? >> item five, chief of department's reports. report from the chief of the department, janine nicholson on current issues, activities, and events within the department since of our commission meeting on july 24th, 2019, including budget, academy, in special events and outreach, and report from operations deputy chief on overall field operations, including greater alarm fires, emergency medical services, bureau of fire prevention and investigation, homeland security , and airport division. [please stand by]