It's by the books in Nevada

New Nevada State Fire Marshal cracks down on scofflaws
Sunday, March 1, 2009

CARSON CITY, Nev.--Fire installation is a huge business in this state, particularly on the Las Vegas Strip, and in the couple years that Jim Wright has been the Nevada State Fire Marshal he’s earned a reputation for enforcing the rules.

“The word’s getting out that there’s a new fire marshal in town. We take this seriously and if you do something you’re not supposed to do, we’ll catch you and deal with you,” he said.

Over the past 12 months, Wright said he’s “taken more than two dozen disciplinary actions; examples are suspending a [licensing] card, placing a company or individual on probation, and charging people for investigation time.” Wright arrived on the job two-and-one-half years ago, and, he said, “I’ve not seen any evidence that, prior to me getting here, any other actions were taken.”

Anyone working in Nevada who performs work to a fire alarm system has to be licensed by the fire marshal’s office. “There are 5,000 businesses or individuals who are registered by this office,” he said. Wright is responsible for “establishing the state minimum fire code, planning review for state buildings, hospitals, large occupancy-type buildings and conducting fire and arson investigations and fire service training.” Inspections are performed by officers in the licensing and enforcement division and by local inspectors.

One of the most common problems, according to Wright, is installers performing work that they’re not licensed to do. Wright said that whenever his staff sees people performing work, they’re instructed to “card” the installer to ensure that they’re licensed to do that work.

As the word gets out that the fire marshal’s office is paying attention, local fire inspectors are calling his office for assistance more often, Wright said. “They let us know now [about problems], because they know that someone will do something about it.”

The fire installation community is supportive of his efforts, Wright said. “They like that someone is paying attention. It levels the playing field. … They truly appreciate and support us out there doing our job.”