A day with Fire Inspectors!

This Thursday (June, 4th, 2015), our team went out with two fire inspectors to observe the “real-world” fire inspection process. We rode with Lieutenant Thomas and Inspector Simms. Lieutenant Thomas showed our team how to inspect an auto repair shop, a hardware store, and two restaurants. Inspector Simms went through the process for schools. They both highlighted the key points regarding what potential hazards that they were looking for during the process.

A typical fire inspection day starts with a list of inspection places based on the permit expiration dates and recent complaints. Each inspector is assigned to several places based types (schools, commercial spaces more broadly, etc.) and areas. Before the inspectors go out, they will dig into their “old-fashioned” paper database to collect the folder/document for the places to be inspected, which contains historical inspection records for the places.


Inspector Simms shows us their “old fashioned” database

In schools, inspectors are particularly looking for expiration dates on fire extinguishers, machines that requires permits, function and install places for the exit signs, whether the hallways are clear, and whether the storage areas are piled up to the ceilings. If the place doesn’t meet the requirements, permits won’t be issued until a followup inspection indicates that all potential hazards are fixed correctly.


Inspector Simms explains the key points to inspect

After a long day trip, inspectors need to input the report into their computerized database.


Lieutenant Thomas instructs our team member – Oliver to input one inspection result!

By the end of day, our team gained many insights regarding what may cause fire hazards, and obtained a better understanding regarding the fire inspection process. Here is our team with our inspectors. We really appreciate their help!


Our DSSG Fire Team can help improve the inspection process in terms of the following aspects:

  1. Detection of new places requiring permits.

This is one of our primary goals. After going through the real-world fire inspection process, we gained a better understanding of common fire hazards. For example, all restaurants with capacity over 50 are required to have a permit. We can use the restaurants list collected using Google Place API, filter out the restaurants already documented in AFRD, and find out popular restaurants with possible large capacities.

  1. Prioritizing the inspection list based on fire risk.

The current inspection process considers all buildings/business equally and doesn’t take fire risks into account. Prioritizing the places with higher risks may make the process more effective.

  1. Route optimization based on geometric areas.

The buildings/places with permits expiring soon are inspected first, which may be geometrically far from each other. Long traveling between these places may significantly lower efficiency. We may help cluster these places based on geometric location and expiration dates.