One of the biggest problems facing rural Missouri in its areas where there are presently no building codes is the poor ISO ratings of the local fire departments.
On a scale of 1 to 10, one being the “best” and 10 being “no fire department at all”, many rural fire departments are rated between 6 and 8 on the ISO scale.
This low rating is measured by evaluating the department’s record in arrival times at the scene from the time the fire is called in, the quality of training and equipment, and the availability of a consistent and lengthy flow of water.
Now…when you look at how poorly the rural fire departments are rated in their abilities to fight fires…consider that there are presently no standards or codes by which a person is expected to apply to electrically wire a building. Anyone can do it and no one inspects it when the person who wires it is finished.
When you look at the lack of minimum basic standards, no follow-up inspection by a qualified inspector, and a poorly rated fire department…it is easier to understand why so many houses in rural Missouri are burning to the ground - often with sleeping families being burned to death inside them.
I applaud Rep Parson for his actions of sneaking this new bill, that will require a building standard to be applied throughout the state, right past the noses of all of the people who have fought so hard to keep building codes out of these parts of the state.
He did it by writing a bill that ingeniously omits any reference to “building codes” but provides for licensed inspectors who will be provided (by a licensing board) with a consistent “standard” to apply in every inspection. Inspectors who miss reporting any “defects” that are not consistent with this new “standard” can actually lose their license.
The bill leaves the selection of the building codes that will be enforced up to the inspector, himself, unless they are on the books in the jurisdiction which he is inspecting or are later provided by the Licensing Board.
This is a great first step in providing protection to all Missouri citizens in spite of many previously successful attempts at keeping building codes out of state law.
Congratulations to Rep Mike Parson of Bolivar, MO., for having the courage to do what is right in spite of popular opinion.