Annual report highlights outreach, cost savings efforts in 2020
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) has released its annual report highlighting its success during 2020 toward fulfilling its mission of protecting Tennesseans’ lives and property through fire prevention, education, codes enforcement, inspection and regulation. The SFMO is a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI).
“Faced with unprecedented challenges last year, the men and women of the State Fire Marshal’s Office remained focused on our mission and found new ways to serve Tennesseans and fire departments despite the obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Gary Farley. “I am proud of our team’s accomplishments and remind all Tennesseans to remain focused on fire prevention in 2021 to help reduce home fires and fire fatalities.”
The annual report’s highlights include:
The number of home fires decreased to 8,080 structure fires in 2020 compared to 8,743 structure fires during 2019.
- At least 27 residents escaped home fires in 2020 after being alerted by smoke alarms installed through the “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program.
- 14,079 smoke alarms were installed by Tennessee fire departments in 2020 through the “Get Alarmed” program.
Online permit system
- The SFMO launched a new online statewide permitting system in 2020, modernizing the electrical and residential permit purchasing and inspection process. The system allowed customers to purchase and request inspections via an online portal. The system increased efficiency and decreased wait times resulting in 71% of all electrical permits being sold through customer self-service, saving approximately $450,000 in fees.
Local fire department support and outreach
In 2020, the SFMO developed the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant following the passage of legislation setting aside $500,000 for the purchase of firefighting equipment by Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments or to help volunteer fire departments meet local matching requirements for federal grants to purchase equipment. The SFMO received over 170 applications from volunteer fire departments. Upon final award selections, the funds were awarded equally to volunteer fire departments across the three Grand Divisions and 41 volunteer fire departments were awarded a grant from this program.
- During 2020, the SFMO began a series of monthly visits to volunteer fire departments across Tennessee to provide donated food and sanitation items in coordination with local and state elected officials. These events began in July 2020, alongside First Lady Maria Lee, to encourage communities to support their local fire departments, and have continued with an emphasis on learning how the SFMO can better assist volunteer fire departments. These events have allowed Education & Outreach to have direct contact with fire departments while connecting state and local officials to key information related to the needs of the Tennessee fire service.
New fire academy facility opens
- The Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy celebrated the grand opening of the newly completed conference center. The 19,330 square foot conference center its equipped with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment and provides additional meeting space, including a 200-seat auditorium and a multipurpose room that can accommodate up to 542 people, as well as four classrooms.
A copy of the SFMO’s annual report is available here.