LAYTON -- The City Council has approved new amendments to Layton's uniform fire code that the fire marshal believes will make the city safer.

At its Dec. 3 meeting, the council unanimously approved revisions that will mainly affect businesses or private residential developments.The most controversial of the changes involves Layton being able to bill business or industrial owners for emergency calls if gross negligence is determined in a fire.

City Manager Alex Jensen said there must be definite proof of negligence before the city will bill a company. However, he said one recent industrial fire call cost the city more than $10,000. Hazardous chemicals are sometimes involved in such cases.

He also hopes that the new negligence law will inspire some businesses to bring their fire safety standards up to par to avoid potential problems.

This law does not apply to residential fires.

The city also will now require at least every-other-year tests on privately owned fire hydrants within the city limits.

Jensen said this is not a minor thing. That's because there are 500 to 600 such private hydrants located throughout Layton.

Regarding strip malls, the city now will mandate that all new developments must have separate water flow devices inside each suite. Currently, city Fire Marshal Dean Hunt said if a flow device is activated inside a strip mall, the fire department has to call every business owner and check every store individually to tell where the problem is.

Again, Jensen said this problem is not insignificant.

"It happens at night," he said, meaning firefighters have to wake people up in the middle of the night to pinpoint a problem.

Even though Utah state law has recently relaxed to allow up to 750 pounds of stored propane at any one location, Hunt said Layton is sticking with the former 500-pound limit. He believes too much propane in one area is a significant hazard.