NewsCovering Louisiana


State Fire Marshal's Office releases agency's 2021 performance outcomes

State Fire Marshal
Posted at 10:26 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 11:38:55-05

The State Fire Marshal's Office has released their performance outcomes for 2021.

The agency says that the data shows a movement towards improved services and protection for the residents of Louisiana.

“It was another challenging year still operating within the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing several weather-related disasters, including another devastating hurricane,” said Browning, “But, once again, this agency found a way to shine through some dark times and I cannot say enough how proud I am of every employee who contributed to that resilience.”

In 2021, more than 17,500 plan reviews for new commercial construction and renovation projects were submitted compared to 15,600 in 2020. The SFM says the increase shows signs of a bounce-back in economic development for the state.

According to the agency, the estimated total value of projects submitted in 2021 reached more than $9.9 billion. Despite reduced staffing, the agency says its plan review team addressed 70 percent of submittals within five days of their entry.

Around 27,000 final inspections of new commercial buildings and compliance inspections of existing commercial buildings were conducted in 2021. Deputies say they inspected hundreds of fireworks stands and displays and responded to thousands of impairment reports on life safety and property protection systems in commercial businesses.

More than 7,800 COVID-19 compliance visits and complaint responses were made in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Health and the state’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, they say.

SFM deputies investigated more than 670 fire incidents. Of those fires, the SFM says fewer than 250 were classified as incendiary which is lower than the prior three years’ figures that hovered around 300. The agency reports its arrest rate is around 34 percent which exceeds the national average (21 percent in 2020).

59 lives were lost to residential fire in 2021. That's almost 20 fewer lives than 2021 which saw 77 fire-related deaths. Ten of the cases involved structures with working smoke alarms at the time of the fires.

In addition, the SFM says they licensed almost 5,900 individuals and just over 1,000 firms in 2021, bringing in around $1.3 million in revenue. Licenses apply to a host of industries including life safety & property protection businesses, amusement ride operators, conveyance devices, firework permits and boiler systems.

During Hurricane Ida, the agency's Emergency Services division joined more than 900 personnel from 20 states to rescue and evacuate more than 2,600 residents from more than 44,000 structures. More than 800 firefighters answered more than 5,000 emergency calls following the storm, according to the agency.

In an effort to grow its fire prevention and safety programs, the SFM says they distributed 5,000 CO alarms and will install almost 17,000 smoke alarms in homes around Louisiana with the help of local fire departments and $168,000 federal grant.

“I am so encouraged and energized by the progress the State Fire Marshal’s Office made in 2021,” said Browning, “We’ve got even more growth in store for 2022 with several projects already in motion, so I hope the people of Louisiana are as excited about how we will serve them in this new year as I am!”

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