N.C. Dept. of Insurance, Office of the State Fire Marshal work to keep schools safe


North Carolina Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey who also serves as the State Fire Marshal is looking at options to keep schools safe in North Carolina including possible changes to the way schools will be designed in the future.

“The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday is a tragic reminder that active shooter situations can happen anywhere, “said Commissioner Causey. “It is paramount to have emergency plans in place and the safest facilities available so we can proactively protect our most precious commodity – people.”

The Office of the State Fire Marshal plays a vital role in maintaining the safety of buildings and facilities on all school campuses.

On Thursday morning, Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor gave a presentation to legislators during the Emergency Management Oversight Committee Meeting about the role of fire services in an active shooter incident.

“Our fire services units know the inside and outside of these buildings,” said Taylor. “They need to be part of the preliminary safety initiatives that outline plans as to how to handle active shooter drills and other emergency situations.”

The Office of the State Fire Marshal oversees 1,243 fire departments and more than 52,000 firefighters across the state and continually provides guidance and assistance for active shooter drills on school campuses.

OSFM works closely with the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) to identify program elements necessary for organizing, maintaining, and sustaining an active shooter response program to reduce or eliminate the risks, effect, and impact on an organization, school, or community affected by these tragedies.

North Carolina building codes are interpreted and enforced by the Engineering and Codes Division within OSFM.

According to Taylor, all schools in North Carolina are inspected twice per year to ensure they are built to code with controlled access points and well-defined evacuation routes.

The inspection process allows OSFM to gather vital information about each school facility which can be used to gain control during an active shooter situation.

Moving forward, the Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to be even more involved in the process of keeping our schools safe.

OSFM will work closer with Emergency Management and Department of Public Instruction officials on the designs of future school buildings to make sure they are built in the safest way possible and access points are secure from all levels.

About OSFM:

The Office of the State Fire Marshal plays a vital role in protecting lives and property in North Carolina. The OSFM is responsible for training fire and rescue personnel, rating fire departments, administering the state building code, securing property insurance for state-owned buildings and much more. For more information, visit www.NCDOI.com/OSFM or call 919-647-0000.


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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.