LANSING — State fire officials haven’t been inspecting underground storage tanks, fireworks stores, adult foster care homes and other public facilities in a timely manner, according to an audit report.
The report released Thursday by Michigan’s Auditor General found several other issues within the Bureau of Fire Services, including not monitoring state-funded training activities or ensuring state inspectors obtained required continuing education credits.
It also did not submit all required annual reports to the governor or Legislature during the audit period of Oct. 2010 through June 2013. The bureau agreed with the audit’s findings and said it is working on addressing them.
Auditors found that inspections for some fuel storage tanks and adult foster care homes were more than a year overdue. And some fireworks stores didn’t get inspected until as long as nine months after they opened. Nearly half of the 40 fireworks stores reviewed by auditors opened before their safety inspection. Potential fire hazards were eventually found in seven of those stores.The audit “truly identified a lot of weak areas for us that need to be attacked,” said Shelly Edgerton, deputy director for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees the roughly 80-person fire bureau.
“We’re making greats strides out there to make sure things get done,” she said.
Since the bureau relies upon fees for funding, it doesn’t have enough money to fund the manpower and technology necessary to meet all of its required duties, she said. The bureau is “severely lagging” in technology and relies on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to track much of its work.