Fire trucks

The Greenwood County Fire Service is working to develop pre-fire plans for businesses and public occupancy buildings to better respond to any fires that might spark there.

Greenwood County firefighters are gathering information from businesses to plan for how to respond to a fire there before one happens.

For the next few months, County Fire Chief Steve Holmes said fire crews will be meeting with local businesses and other locations where people gather to collect information about the buildings.

“What we do is we go and look at the building, check the occupancy class, whether it’s an assembly or mercantile,” Holmes said. “There’s different hazards associated with different building classes.”

This information is used to make a pre-fire plan. The nearest water source, number and location of windows, alarm system information and more details go into these plans. If a business uses chemicals, where and how they store them could be essential for firefighters to know.

“We might never have a fire there, but as they’re responding to a call they can pull up this pre-fire plan and know exactly where the nearest water source is, for example,” Holmes said.

If the building is a public occupancy, firefighters can know in advance how to evacuate people, how many people are typically there and will have the contact information for various personnel they can reach in event of an emergency.

The information is also used by the Insurance Services Office when rating the fire safety of an area. Holmes said as the county gears up to switch to a county-wide rating, when ISO comes to evaluate the service in about a year, they will sample some of the pre-fire plans to ensure they’re done correctly.

Holmes said the paid and part-time firefighters will continue to work on these pre-fire plans, in the hopes of getting Greenwood County the best ISO rating possible when it comes time for ISO’s evaluation.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.