MOUNT VERNON — Residents of Mount Vernon will notice new red and white signs posted on dilapidated buildings throughout the city, particularly the former Mount Vernon middle school on North Mulberry Street.
Mount Vernon Fire Chief Chris Menapace said the signs were designed to indicate the safety level of the structures and whether or not firefighters are to enter the building should a fire break out.
According to Menapace, there are three priorities involved in the new process: Life safety for firefighter personnel, structure stabilization and property conservation.
“Basically the sign lets the general public know the fire department has found these structures to be vacant or abandoned, that they are in different stages of dilapidation, and our strategy to combat the fire,” Menapace said.
The signs, 24-by-24-inch, will have one of three designs. A complete red square indicates that conditions inside the building are suspect and firefighters should use a heightened level of caution when proceeding inside.
A red square with a white backslash indicates there are known structural hazards such as boards missing from floors, nonexistent staircases, etc.
A red square with a white “X” means that internal firefighting is prohibited unless firefighters or other first responders confirm there is a personal safety issue inside. If no one is inside, only external firefighting techniques will be acceptable.
Menapace said the Dilapidated Buildings Commission will determine which buildings are designated dilapidated or abandoned. With the approval of Safety-Service Director Dave Glass, Menapace will affix the signs on appropriate structures. Letters explaining the signs will be sent to property owners as well as the insurance carrier.