October 2023
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is the CAL FIRE program that protects life and property through the development and application of fire prevention, engineering, training and education, and enforcement.
Welcome to Fire Prevention Week. CAL FIRE - Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) practices and preaches fire prevention year-round, however, having a week dedicated to the topic provides an opportunity to focus on important steps we all can take at home and at work to prevent injuries and property loss caused by fire. Fire Prevention Week was born of tragedy and takes place during the week of October 9 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This edition of our newsletter includes a story about that fire and how it changed what people thought about building materials, paving the way for future building codes.
Chief Berlant, pictured here presenting at the 2023 Fourth of July Firework Safety Press Conference in Sacramento. Educating the public on various safety topics, including firework safety, is an important part of the State Fire Marshal's roll.
Chief Daniel Berlant Appointed at 18th California State Fire Marshal

On Friday, October 6, Governor Newsom appointed Chief Daniel Berlant as the 18th California State Fire Marshal. Chief Berlant has been Acting State Fire Marshal since January 1, 2023. Since that appointment, he has represented the Office of the State Fire Marshal at the local, state, and federal level.
Captain Cal is on hand this Fire Prevention Week to provide some helpful fire safety recommendations in the kitchen. 
OSFM Observes Fire Prevention Week with A Focus on Kitchen Safety

It’s time for the Fire Prevention Week™ (FPW)! This year’s edition, running from October 8 to 14, focuses on kitchen safety. Several OSFM divisions are dedicated to elements of safety that protect Californians in the kitchen, including the regulation of items like smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

This year’s FPW campaign, “Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention™,” works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking.
OSFM is the licensing and certification authority for portable fire extinguishers that are serviced and sold in California. All portable fire extinguishers, like those in your homes or businesses, must meet the manufacturing and performance standards of a testing laboratory approved by the OSFM and display that laboratory's label. Photo Credit: NFPA
A Guide to Fire Extinguishers in the Kitchen for Fire Prevention Week

An accessible and working fire extinguisher is fundamental to kitchen safety. Having 1) the correct type of fire extinguisher, 2) in an accessible location, 3) that you know how to safely use is key to safely being able to put out a fire in your kitchen. But why does the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) care? OSFM is the licensing and certification authority for portable fire extinguishers that are serviced and sold in California.

Follow the link below to learn what type of fire extinguisher you should have in your kitchen, how and where it should be stored, and when and how you should use it in the event of a kitchen fire. 
The 1871 Great Chicago Fire burned over 2,100 acres and left one in three Chicago residents homeless. This, and a series of devastating fires through the late 19th and early 20th century led to the development of fire codes, the creation of the National Fire Prevention Association, and Fire Prevention Week. Video Credit: NFPA
The Great Chicago Fire, Building Codes, and the Creation of
Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week (FPW) has been observed during the week of October 9 since its inception in 1922. But why this week? The date commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless (approximately a third of the population of the city at the time), destroyed more than 17,500 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land. The historic blaze also proved to be the turning point in the development of safe building codes and fire standards across the U.S. This also played a part on the creation of the California Office of the State Fire Marshal in 1923. 
Employee Spotlight- Brice Bennett, Deputy State Fire Marshal, Fire Engineering and Investigations Division

This month we join Brice Bennett, Deputy State Fire Marshal, to learn more about the important role that the OSFM Fire Extinguisher Program plays in assisting the extinguisher industry in providing licenses for people who service fire extinguishers. This process makes sure that every fire extinguisher in a public occupancy is safe and ready to use. Stay tuned for future editions of the Newsletter to learn more about the men and women of OSFM and the important roles they play in protecting life and property through the development and application of fire prevention, engineering, training and education, and enforcement.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) currently regulates the safety of intrastate hazardous liquid pipeline in California. OSFM Pipeline Safety Division staff inspect pipeline operators to ensure compliance with federal and state pipeline safety laws and regulations, and consist of engineers, Geographical Information System (GIS)/mapping staff, analytical staff, and clerical support located throughout California.
Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Pipeline Safety Warriors

The OSFM Pipeline program must meet stringent standards in order to receive federal reimbursement which assists the program with operational costs. The US Department of Transportation Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration conducts detailed performance audits annually to evaluate the program’s compliance, and the results determine the amount of reimbursement awarded to the program. Through dedication and hard work, our pipeline safety engineers spent countless hours conducting inspections that prevent oil spills and ecological disasters in 2022. It all paid off as the program was awarded 99.47% out of 100 points after the program review. In just five short years the program has improved the score from 62% to 99.47%. 
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 Part 195 regulates the inspection requirements for state programs who oversee hazardous liquid pipelines. 
The Institute of Business and Home Safety conducted two live burn demonstrations in mid-September, one located in Orange County and one at the Sacramento Fire Training Facility in Sacramento. This side-by-side demonstration shows how effective Zone 0 defensible space is in preventing structure ignition. Zone 0 is the first five feet out from your home.
Wildfire Prepared Home Demonstration Proves the Effectiveness of Home Hardening and Zone 0 Defensible Space

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), in collaboration with OSFM and Sacramento City Fire, conducted a live wildfire demonstration to show the effectiveness of research-based wildfire mitigation actions in its Wildfire Prepared Home designation program, including maintaining a noncombustible five-foot buffer around a home – Zone 0 – to help reduce its risk of ignition. The demonstration event, which took place at the Sacramento City Fire Training Center, was well attended by CAL Fire and IBHS staff as well as several media outlets. 
The California Wildfire Mitigation Program (CWMP) was established through the passage of Assembly Bill 38 in 2019. The legislation directed CAL FIRE and Cal OES to enter into a joint powers agreement to administer a program to encourage cost-effective structure hardening and retrofitting, and fuel modification activities that create optimal defensible space.
Ready for Wildfire: California Wildfire Mitigation Program Uses Grant Funding to Create Wildfire Prepared Communities

Homeowners in six California counties will soon begin receiving home retrofits with ignition resistant materials to California’s most vulnerable populations as part of the California Wildfire Mitigation Program. The pilot home hardening initiative provides funding for defensible space and ignition resistant retrofits to harden approximately 2,500 homes in six counties over the next three years. This pilot program was developed by OSFM and Cal OES and will be carried out at an unprecedented community scale. Typically, home hardening has been done by individual homeowners, not entire communities.