For Immediate Release
County Continues Strong Commitmentto Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials Response
Santa Rosa,CA | December 13, 2018
On December 11, 2018, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the relocation of fire inspection-related activities to Permit Sonoma. This move is one component of a phased effort that reimagines how fire and emergency services will be provided in Sonoma County. Effective January 1, 2019, the Fire Prevention Division and Hazardous Materials Division will be integrated into Permit Sonoma, increasing coordination of these fee-based inspection programs.
“This reorganization will increase Sonoma County’s resiliency against future disasters,” stated James Gore, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “We will continue to provide critical fire prevention and hazardous material regulation services, including public outreach and education, to keep our community safe.”
The County’s Fire Prevention Division provides plan check and inspection services for fire-related code compliance. It administers contracts for fire prevention, code enforcement and plan review and actively participates with the countywide Fire Investigation Task Force. Since July 2018, staff have completed plan review of 1,145 construction plans and 1,070 inspections of new commercial and residential construction projects. The Fire Prevention Division also oversees the free Countywide Curbside Chipper Program to assist the public with creating and maintaining defensible space around homes, structures, and access routes. Since July 2018, community members utilized this chipper service 236 times.
The Hazardous Materials Division is responsible for emergency response to hazardous materials incidents throughout most of the County in coordination with local response personnel. The State certified Type 2 Hazardous Materials Response Team consists of volunteer community members as well as Department staff who are trained to respond to any level of hazardous material incident in the county. This division is also responsible for the County’s Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) Programs, which regulate approximately 1,400 businesses that use hazardous materials. The CUPA program provides technical expertise to these businesses and the general public regarding hazardous materials regulations in alignment with the Health & Safety code. In the last fiscal year, staff performed 1,087 CUPA inspections.
In addition to streamlining the permitting process, this integration of these services into Permit Sonoma’s organizational structure will support increased collaboration on new street address naming and numbering, vegetation management, and code enforcement activities. This new organization will also elevate technical issues such as vegetation management and hazardous mitigation into every element of the General Plan and County practice. In 2019, the County will build on the existing Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials services and increase community outreach around defensible space and vegetation management.