Fire Inspection: Most Common Fire Code Items to Check

Alarm Systems

Fire alarm systems need to be tested on a monthly basis. Test a different pull station every month until you cycle through all stations. Records shall be kept on site identifying the date and individual performing the test.

Compressed Gas Cylinders

All cylinders (full or empty) shall be chained to the building to prevent them from falling over. Do not store them next to a heat source.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting shall be tested on a monthly basis by pushing the test button. Replace any burned out bulbs. Records of monthly tests shall be kept and maintained on site for viewing by the Fire Inspector. A load test is required yearly. During a load test, power will be turned off. Emergency lights must remain illuminated for one and one-half hours. If emergency lights fail a load test, the batteries must be replaced.


All exits shall remain unobstructed at all times. A standard exit door shall have such fastenings or hardware that it can be opened from the inside by pushing against a single bar or plate or turning a single knob or handle. The exit door may be secured by the use of a single bar or bolt when employees, frequenters, patrons and other such occupants are not present.

Exit Lighting

Exit lights must remain lit at all times. It may be the only means of light in a power outage if its battery backed up. If there is a problem with the unit staying lit you may want to replace it with a new unit. All new units shall have battery backup. LED exit lights seem to have less maintenance with bulbs. If you are required to install an exit light and do not have electricity there are exit lights that run on a radioactive cell which lasts for approximately 10 to 15 years.

Extension Cords

The use of extension cords is prohibited. Replace extension cords with power strips if using low amperage devices. If appliances require high amperage you will need to install additional outlets.

Fire Doors

Fire doors must be self closing. Fire doors shall remain closed at all times.

Fire Extinguishers

State statutes dictate that fire extinguishers be inspected on a yearly basis by a certified fire extinguisher contractor. A tag shall be attached identifying the date and individual performing the maintenance. There is also a more thorough 6 year service inspection and a 12 year hydrostatic test. The fire extinguisher must have a minimum 2A10BC rating. The rating dictates the amount of fire the extinguisher will put out. Fire extinguishers shall be located on every level of the building including the basement. They must be located within 75 feet from any location in the building and be securely mounted no more than 48 inches from the floor to the fire extinguisher handle.

Gas Furnaces & Water Heaters

Storage is not permitted within three feet of gas furnaces or water heaters. Make sure they are properly vented to the outside and no openings around the chimney may exist.

Gas & Electrical Meters

A 3 feet clearance around all meters and a 3 feet aisle for gaining access must be maintained at all meters.


No gasoline storage of any amount is allowed in basements. This includes in the tank of any gas powered machine.

Hood & Duct Systems

Hood and duct systems shall be serviced every six months.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors need to be kept in working order all the time with all parts, including cover, in place. Smoke detectors shall be in occupancies which have living quarters or sleeping areas as well in businesses that have apartments attached to them. Detectors shall be located on every level of the building including the basement. They must be located within 6 feet of all sleeping areas. Detectors should be ceiling mounted when possible. 

They shall be located no less than 4 inches from a wall. When wall mounting is required, locate no less than 4 inches and no greater than 12 inches from the ceiling. It is recommended that the batteries be changed twice a year. Smoke detection systems shall be tested on a yearly basis. A record shall be kept identifying the date and individual performing the test.

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems shall have a NFPA 25 inspection done on a yearly basis by a licensed sprinkler contractor. There are monthly and quarterly tests that can be performed by a knowledgeable building owner or a designated (in writing) employee who is knowledgeable about the sprinkler system. These tests maybe performed by the sprinkler contractor if so desired. It is the building owner's responsibility to maintain the system. If there are any problems or deficiencies in the system, they will need to be corrected. A plastic pouch will be provided by the WAFD, which shall be attached to the riser or risers in the building and include the paper work from the sprinkler contractor tests. 

Storage height will vary as to the sprinkler system design and product being stored. No storage can be located within 18 inches of sprinkler heads. Make sure Fire Department connections have covers on them. Bird's nests or debris place in the open connection will obstruct water flow.