SALISBURY TWP., Pa. -

The Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners Thursday unanimously passed an amendment to its fire prevention ordinance establishing a fire prevention and life safety program to be administered by the township police department.

 The new fire safety program will require the annual inspection of all commercial, industrial, institutional, and multi-family residential buildings in the township for violations of the fire, safety and health code of the International Property Maintenance Code.

According to the amended ordinance, fire protection systems and devices within building and structures subject to the ordinance will be maintained, tested, and inspected in accordance with National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) standards.

Township Fire Marshal Don Sabo said, "This new fire prevention program was years in the making and a huge step we wanted to see for public safety."

He added the township wanted to be proactive rather than reactive with regard to fire prevention efforts and safety.

The new program consists of four new fire inspectors including Sabo and three current members of Salisbury's two volunteer fire departments.

Donald Gow has been hired as the lead fire inspector.

The fees collected from the inspections will subsidize the inspectors and are based upon a schedule that takes into consideration a building's occupancy type, usage, and the square footage of the facility.

According to Township Manager Randy Soriano, inspection fees for commercial and multi-residential properties will range from $60.00 for buildings measuring zero to 2,999 square feet, and for structures with areas greater than 500,000 square feet the cost to businesses is $600.00.

Educational and assembly properties containing up to 500,000 square feet will be charged a $75.00 inspection fee, and those with areas greater than 500,000 square feet will pay $125.00.

Sabo remarked Salisbury's inspection fees are considerably lower than neighboring municipalities such as Allentown.

The commissioners agreed the inspection fee schedule would be informative for township business owners.

The new fire prevention ordinance also requires in addition to annual inspections, mandatory initial fire inspections when there is a change in business owner, name, or tenant occupancy on commercial, industrial or multi family-dwellings.