The Mankato Department of Public Safety is looking at a rather novel approach to fire inspections... having businesses do it themselves.
The department is implementing a new pilot program this week by mailing out the inspection paperwork to sixty businesses along Madison Avenue.
The city has been unable to complete annual fire inspections across the board, and hopes the new plan could lighten the load.
Commander Jeff Bengtson says, "If we see some success with this, we'll implement it across the city. That will probably take maybe the rest of the year to accomplish. What we're doing is feeling this out with a small population to see what the response is, to determine the effectiveness of it, and if things look good, it'll continue on a more broad scale."
Business leaders we spoke with on Madison think they'll be able to handle the task, and while Bengtson says there's always a chance something may be overlooked, the plan doesn't mean the end of fire inspections.
Bengtson says, "We're here as a backbone to assist with the inspections so if they do have a question like 'Can I store in this location?' or 'Is this an acceptable locking device for an exit door?' they can contact us and we'll work through those problems."
If everything goes according to plan, Do It Yourself could become the new normal, at least when it comes to fire inspections.