For many years Wisconsin has had a program funded by the insurance companies that provide insurance coverage in the state. This program is based on 2% of fire insurance dues and administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. The funds are used to support fire training at the technical colleges throughout the state and are distributed at a local level for the semi-annual fire inspections of commercial buildings. There is also a state wide fire prevention program which includes four Fire Prevention Coordinators who have their own districts and assist fire departments in fire prevention duties along with performing audits of the fire departments to assure compliance of the dues program. The dues program is a segregated fund and often reviewed by the fire service to make sure the funds are not used for other programs. This is a basic overview of the fire prevention program, but the program is an important part of providing life safety in Wisconsin.
Another important element in providing life safety in Wisconsin is the fire inspectors and educators who are out there every day making sure code enforcement, public fire education and juvenile fire setter programs are delivered to the businesses and citizens in the state. These dedicated fire prevention professionals want to protect the communities in which they serve and provide the needed education to prevent future tragedies. Our annual conference provides education, updates and an opportunity to network with other Fire Inspectors to get concerns and questions addressed. There are so many Fire Inspectors that make a difference every day. Fire Inspectors from around the state such as, Ken Cerney of the Blue River Fire District, Bob Lederer of the Waubeka Fire Department, and Jerry Wolfram of the Kilbourn Fire Department all out there doing a very difficult job.
Fire Inspectors have to be diverse in what we are doing and what we are trying to accomplish. Many times this is coupled with the other job related duties within a fire department. Challenges are common for Fire Inspectors but the rewards of helping someone or preventing a death or devasting injury is well worth it.