The North Summit Fire District has the responsibility of ensuring subdivisions, commercial structures, individual family dwellings and other structures meet the requirements of the International Fire Code, as adopted by the 2010 Utah State Legislature and amended in HB 0208.
Summit County requires a district representative’s signature on building and lot permits. To initiate the plan review process please apply online. If you have any questions about the process please contact Chief Ben Nielson at (435) 395-7329.
Two issues often come up when considering a permit:
- Water supply – In simple terms, a structure must have access to some kind of water supply to be approved. In many instances, a community water supply is deemed adequate. But in more rural settings, the only water supply to an individual home is often a well, which by itself simply does not provide the kind of water required for fire suppression.In July of 2010, Utah HB 0308 took effect. It gives fire districts the authority, to require sprinklers under specific conditions. Specific language dealing with automatic sprinklers can be found on lines 117-140. The district can not require sprinklers in areas outside of the designated Urban Wildland Interface.There is a lot of debate over fire sprinklers. We suggest you educate yourself on their effectiveness and on their proven ability to save lives. The Utah State Fire Marshall’s web-site has a lot of information and links supporting home fire sprinklers.In lieu of a community water system, or sprinklers the district may also require on-site storage, maintained for year-round access by the property owner. In most cases, the requirement is at least 5,000 gallons for a typical family home.The District has adopted and as a practice follows the Urban Wildland Interface Code and the Eastern Summit County Development Code, both of which provide specific guidelines for water storage, access and sprinkler systems.
- Access – It is critical for us to be able to get our engines and other equipment safely to the scene of a fire, and also be able to have room to work and to turn around. The District may make specific requirements regarding cul-de-sacs, hammerheads, turn outs or other areas in areas where driveways are especially long or where a road dead ends. These requirements are consistent with the Eastern Summit County Development code.
We strongly support the rights of property owners, but life safety is also a top concern. Our firefighters train to provide a level of service and we only want to be able to perform at that level with the proper tools in hand for firefighting, including adequate water.
Firefighters, by their nature assume a level of risk to protect lives and property. They will risk their lives to protect a life, but if only property is involved, fire officers may choose not to take extreme measures if it poses an unnecessary risk due to inadequate water supply or poor access.
To address other water needs, the District has placed into service three large water trucks. That allows us to bring about 10,000 extra gallons of water with us to a fire. But bringing that extra equipment often encumbers the process and requires a lot of personnel and a lot of room to work. In addition, 10,000 gallons is literally a drop in the bucket when a fire involves an entire structure and we need to protect other exposures such as wildland or structures.