Jul 292011

By Teri Walker–

Holbrook Volunteer Fire Department Chief Alex Baker asked the city council to consider changing the fire codes used to guide new construction during Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

Baker asked the council for permission to switch from the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) currently used by the city to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes. Baker explained the NFPA is a more comprehensive code that is updated frequently, compared to the UFC, which is updated every eight to 10 years and frequently refers city inspectors to the NFPA for guidance.

In response to Baker’s request, the council presented City Ordinance 11-11, which proposes adopting the NFPA codes. The presentation was a first reading of the ordinance, which will be read again in 30 days, before adoption.

Councilman Bobby Tyler asked Baker whether the new fire codes would greatly affect construction rules or inspector duties.

Baker noted that NFPA is pretty much in alignment with UFC on items of major concern, and to this point there have been no significant differences between the two codes.

Baker further explained that the fire department is a member of NFPA, and refers to NFPA life safety code for firefighting and emergency operation purposes.

The cost of converting to the NFPA is $853, which would pay for a set of code enforcement books. The proposed ordinance is available at city hall for individuals interested in reviewing it.

In other council business, Councilman Tyler challenged city council members and community members to a neighborhood clean up. More information about the challenge will be forthcoming from Tyler, but he mentioned some neighborhood clean up is already underway, with a city-provided dumpster set up on McLaws Road for residents who want to clean up their properties. City Manager Ray Alley said the city would support the challenge by providing dumpsters free of charge whenever possible. Information about how residents and businesses can participate in the challenge will soon be available.

Alley reminded council members that a special session to adopt the fiscal year 2012 city budget will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 1, in the council chambers at city hall.