Archive for January, 2016

Firefighter dies: no permit

January 7th, 2016 1 comment

A firefighter tragically died in Chicago recently when responding to a call.  Unbeknownst to him, the elevator shaft was open where the elevator was being removed, allegedly with no permit.  Because of the smoke, he had no way of knowing about this hazard and was killed in the fall.  I have been preaching for years about the danger of working without a permit.  People cut corners and don’t get the proper permits usually due to the cost or because they don’t want government scrutiny. People die because of this and first responders are often the victims.

I recently had my own experience regarding permits when we needed a new furnace.  After speaking with the salesman, I asked whether a permit was needed in my village.  He basically said that he wasn’t sure and if we “wanted” to get a permit, we could inquire but many people don’t want “strangers” in their homes and don’t bother.  I checked with the building official I used to work with and it turned out I needed one. (In Illinois, not all towns require one).  As I told this story to a number of inspectors, they told me that by getting the permit, it pretty well assures me that the installers would not cut corners because they know they will get caught. My opinion is that the salesman was trying to discourage me from getting a permit.  I told him so and also that I wouldn’t pay the remainder of the cost until the installation passed inspection.

When a permit is required, it is often because someone died or was injured sometime in the past because of the nature of the hazard.  The general public doesn’t understand this and thinks it’s a money making scheme.  That has not been my experience.  The inspectors it has been my privilege to work with care about safety.  Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like this to educate the public.

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