BY BOB BAKERFIRE CHIEF, SOUTH METRO FIRE RESCUE
It’s been roughly 10 months since South Metro Fire Rescue and Littleton Fire Rescue consolidated. We want to thank our citizens for their continued support and the healthy dialogue that we have throughout our newly-expanded district.
Following the consolidation with Littleton, SMFR’s permits and fees took effect and now apply to all events that are within our District. We’d like to take this opportunity to help answer some questions regarding our event review and inspection process, fee structure, as well as how we are governed as a special district.
South Metro serves three counties (Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson), 12 municipalities and 540,000 residents within our roughly 300 square miles of the southern metropolitan area of Denver. We are classified as a Special District, which is governed by Title 32 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. We have a board of directors who are elected by our constituents throughout our district and who oversee the overall operations of South Metro – including our annual budget, fee schedules, spending, strategic growth, and more.
The SMFR Board adopts the overall permit fee schedule, which includes special event permit fees, effective across all partners and municipalities throughout the district. The SMFR Board thoroughly vets this process and works with the Fire Chief, as well as the SMFR Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer, to analyze the information and then determine if the fee structure and associated process will be adopted. To see the latest SMFR fee schedule, please click here.
Throughout the past 10 months after consolidation, we do recognize and understand that the fees, event permit submittal process, and procedures associated with events in the legacy Littleton Fire Rescue (LFR) District vary from what was done in the past within LFR. Because South Metro is a Special District and not a municipal fire department, our fee structure is different than LFR’s and the fees are applied to recover costs associated with those permits.
Specifically, South Metro permit fees are based on the Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) administrative processing, plan review, pre-event inspections, and if necessary, inspection oversight during the event. For pyrotechnic displays, the permit also includes oversight during the display, suppression unit standby, and post-event inspection the morning following the display. South Metro does not issue permits to make a profit, but rather we go through this process to ensure events are compliant with the adopted International Fire Code (IFC), and most importantly, that these events are safe for our citizens to enjoy.
The IFC is a comprehensive fire code adopted throughout the U.S., which establishes minimum regulations for fire prevention and fire protection systems and is designed to meet these safeguards through model code regulations to protect the public health and safety in all communities, large and small. We are obligated to enforce the fire code as adopted by each of our geo-political entities.
It’s extremely important to South Metro, your Fire Chief, and the elected SMFR Board that we adhere to fire codes that are designed to reduce the risk while keeping our citizens safe. There are provisions in the adopted fire code that are specific to regulation of special events, which is what our FMO adheres to while reviewing and inspecting such events.
It is also our goal to work very closely with the event’s organizers to ensure that the permit process is smooth. Over the past 10 months, we have received constructive feedback on our processes, and we will continue to make improvements to ensure our customer experience is as smooth and helpful as possible.
South Metro is dedicated to being good stewards in our community. We remain committed to partnering with our citizens, businesses and municipalities to ensure all events are safe as well as successful. And, we expect the 2020 special event season to be better than ever.
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