Unit IV Case Study
Read the case study below, and follow the instructions provided to complete the assignment in its
On September 13, 2014, you were appointed to your fire service organization (Fire Department) Fire
Prevention Division (FPD). You have been with the department for 10 years—four have been as captain
assigned to a fire suppression company. You were selected from among six candidates because you
earned a college degree in fire administration and management. In terms of seniority, you are number
three, with two above you and three below you.
However, seniority was a qualification that was given low priority for appointment as the primary
qualification was education and training. Prior to your appointment, the FPD was staffed by the seniormost captain of the department, who often did not have any formal education or training in fire codes,
standards, or regulations. Rather, that person learned from on-the-job experience. The Chief of
Department has decided to turn-a-new-page and appoint the captain having the highest degree of
education. In addition to your college degree, you have also taken the initiative to obtain a National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) certification as a Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS).
The outgoing Fire Prevention Officer (FPO), who held the position for nearly 20 years, bids you good luck.
As he turns to leave the office, he offers these cryptogrammic words, “don’t rock any boats kid!” You
settle into your new position with ease, though the division secretary is a bit uneasy having a new “boss.”
You have assured her that “there will not be ‘major’ changes within the division.” Your first two weeks
are filled with routine inspections and re-inspections, where you find no surprises or anomalies. In fact,
most of the owners/operators of those occupancies that you re-inspected found you to be highly
knowledgeable, relaxed, and very personable. They gave you high marks and look forward to having an
opportunity to meet you again.
On Wednesday morning of your third week, you have a scheduled appointment for an annual inspection
of a small industrial occupancy that is owned and operated by a highly respected member of the
community. The firm has been in operation since the 1980s, and the owner is a member of nearly all the
local business civic organizations as well as major contributor to charities. You cannot recall any negative
press about this man nor his business. You arrive at the firm at the appointed hour of 9:00 a.m., only to
find that the front door to the building is locked, and it appears that no one is on the premises. You call
your office to double-check the appointment time with the secretary, who confirms the time; however,
she ends her conversation with, “You know this man has never given us any trouble, so why not let the
As you end the call, her words are somewhat disconcerting, leaving you with an onerous feeling that
something is not quite right. You return to your vehicle deciding to wait a bit longer. While sitting in your
vehicle, you review the historical file on this occupancy. Much to your surprise, you find that there has
never been a single violation and that the company is a firm utilizing chemicals for cleaning automotive
parts. In nearly 30 years of annual inspections, there is not even the slightest issue in the record. This is
very unusual for a firm reported as storing large drums of volatile chemicals.
At around 10:15 a.m., a car enters into the parking area, parks near the front door, and a man in his midfifties or early-sixties emerges and walks to the front door. You exit your vehicle, walking toward the man
who has not taken his eyes off you and whose facial expressions indicate that he does not recognize you.
As you approach the man, you introduce and identify yourself as the newly appointed FPO of the
department. He shakes your hand and asks, “Well now, what can I do to make your day run a bit
You inform him that you are onsite to conduct the annual occupancy inspection. He sneers and states,
“There isn’t a need for that! After all, I run a well-respected business here. Didn’t the other inspector tell
you about me? He never had any issues with my firm, and he and I got along just fine. The place is clean,
so why don’t we just call it a day and log me in as having passed the inspection? What do you say?” You
cannot believe what you have just heard. You maintain your professionalism and inform the owner that
you have to conduct annual inspections of all industrial occupancies and an appointment was made for
The owner scoffs at the “appointment,” telling you that the former inspector “made the appointment as
a matter of record as he had done for years, but didn’t bother to come here, unless of course he had
gotten complaints, which he never did! So why bother?” You inform the owner that this is your obligation
and responsibility to inspect the firm as it is known to FIR 3303, Introduction to Fire Prevention 6
store highly flammable liquids, which abuts a residential area. For the safety of the firm and those who
live nearby, an inspection must be completed.
The owner becomes indignant, and his demeanor changes from sociable to confrontational. He insists
that his company has an excellent “track record” without incident or complaint by neighbors. Still, you
apprise him that under local ordinance and state codes, you must conduct the inspection to ensure that
any and all hazards are in compliance with established rules and regulations. After a bit of bantering
back-and-forth, he concedes and allows you to enter into the premises. In short order, you commence
your inspection of the occupancy.
What you find is not only alarming, but unimaginable. There are open 55-gallon drums of petro-based
liquids that, to the best of your ability, you identify as highly flammable and toxic. The ventilation system
is inadequate for safe removal of vapors that are generated by the 15 cleaning process stations. You find
that the local fire alarm system has been tampered with, so that interior early-detection devices are
rendered inoperable. There is not an automatic fire sprinkler system, despite the fact that fire codes have
required such a system in all industrial occupancies since 1975, and this building was built in 1982. You
find only three handheld portable fire extinguishers, which are all dry chemical, that are outdated by four
As you continue your self-guided inspection tour, the owner continues his commentary that he has never
had any complaints from workers or neighbors about how he has run his business. You are cautious and
do not share your findings as of yet. Upon completion of your inspection, you have noted well over 45
violations of standards and codes applicable to this specific occupancy and operation. As you leave, you
inform him that his firm is in violation of numerous regulations and that it may become necessary to shut
the firm down until the occupancy is brought up to code. The owner of course becomes highly irate and
states, “That’s what you think! I am well connected in this city! I put people into high places, and you
aren’t about to close me down! We shall see who has the final word here!”
Shaken, yet very confident the law is on your side, you return to our office to prepare a series of
documents necessary to begin the process of addressing the list of violations. You reconfirm that all
violations can be cited by chapter and section of all applicable laws, regulations, and codes. You are now
set to write the necessary documents, which will be distributed to individuals in both the public and
For the first part of this assignment, you will need to pick one of the following options, and draft a letter.
Please click here to see an example of how a letter of this nature may be formatted.
A letter of notification must first be sent to the owner of the firm, informing him of the individual
violations and the required remedy for each violation. In addition, you must inform him that until all
violations have been remedied, the firm is to remain closed and no one is allowed to enter the building.
A letter of notification must be sent to the mayor of the city informing that office that you have
ordered operations be halted at this firm due to your findings. (This letter is part of a city ordinance
For the second part of the assignment, you will need to pick two of the following options, and draft two
memos. Please click here see an example of how a memo of this nature may be formatted.
1. A memo of notification must be sent to inform the Chief of the Department of your findings and the
action you have taken.
2. A memo of notification must be sent to inform the Chief of Police that the firm has been closed due to
violations found during your inspection. You are also advising that patrol officers should take notice to
report any activity around or inside the building, as the building has been placed off-limits until all
violations have been remedied.
3. A memo of notification must be sent to inform the City Building Inspector of the order to cease
operations, citing your finding of numerous violations, though you do not need to itemize all violations.
There will be a total of one letter and two memos, all of which should be included in one Word
document. Each letter should be written in a professional tone on a single page that is clear and concise
to the reader. Each letter should have the name of the person to whom the letter is addressed, your
name and title of Fire Prevention Officer shall be affixed to the bottom. Your letters should be written in
Each letter is to be written in left-aligned block format and without paragraph indentations. It is
understood that the inclusion of violations need not be cited; therefore, in-text and reference citations
are not necessary.
Information about accessing the Blackboard Grading Rubric for this assignment is provided below.
Exampe of draft letter :
January 1, 2015
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Johnson
2001 Firehouse Drive
Orange Beach, Alabama 30303
Dear Mrs. Johnson:
Thank you for your letter expressing concern for the manner in which our fire apparatus responded to
an emergency call in your neighborhood. It is the goal and responsibility of the Columbia Southern
University Fire-Rescue Department to respond to any emergency in a safe manner with due regard for
the public we serve.
As first responders, Columbia Southern University Fire-Department emergency units are required to
respond in accordance with Alabama law, which states that audible and visual warning devices be
utilized when responding to emergency calls.
We regret any inconvenience that this may have caused and appreciate you bringing the matter to our
Don A. Smith
pc: Jerry Jones, Deputy Fire Chief
David Barker, Battalion Chief
Columbia Southern University Public Safety
TO: All Fire Department Members
FROM: Don A. Smith, Fire Chief DAS
DATE: March 1, 2015
This shall be the format that is used for all memorandums.
The memo should be typed using Times Roman 12 point font.
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