• CHAPTER7
    FIRE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

    User note:

    About this chapter: Chapter 7 establishes fire safety requirements for existing structures by containing requirements for means of egress, including path of travel, required egress width, means of egress doors and emergency escape openings, and for the maintenance of fire-resistance-rated assemblies, fire protection systems, and carbon monoxide alarm and detection systems.

    SECTION701
    GENERAL

    701.1Scope.

    The provisions of this chapter shall govern the minimum conditions and standards for fire safety relating to structures and exterior premises, including fire safety facilities and equipment to be provided.

    701.2Responsibility.

    The owner of the premises shall provide and maintain such fire safety facilities and equipment in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy any premises that do not comply with the requirements of this chapter.

    SECTION702
    MEANS OF EGRESS

    [F]702.1General.

    A safe, continuous and unobstructed path of travel shall be provided from any point in a building or structure to the public way. Means of egress shall comply with the International Fire Code.

    [F]702.2Aisles.

    The required width of aisles in accordance with the International Fire Code shall be unobstructed.

    [F]702.3Locked doors.

    Means of egress doors shall be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the need for keys, special knowledge or effort, except where the door hardware conforms to that permitted by the International Building Code.

    [F]702.4Emergency escape openings.

    Required emergency escape openings shall be maintained in accordance with the code in effect at the time of construction, and the following. Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings provided that the minimum net clear opening size complies with the code that was in effect at the time of construction and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

    SECTION703
    FIRE-RESISTANCE RATINGS

    [F]703.1Fire-resistance-rated assemblies.

    The provisions of this chapter shall govern maintenance of the materials, systems and assemblies used for structural fire resistance and fire-resistance-rated construction separation of adjacent spaces to safeguard against the spread of fire and smoke within a building and the spread of fire to or from buildings.

    [F]703.2Unsafe conditions.

    Where any components are not maintained and do not function as intended or do not have the fire resistance required by the code under which the building was constructed or altered, such components or portions thereof shall be deemed unsafe conditions in accordance with Section 111.1.1 of the International Fire Code. Components or portions thereof determined to be unsafe shall be repaired or replaced to conform to that code under which the building was constructed or altered. Where the condition of components is such that any building, structure or portion thereof presents an imminent danger to the occupants of the building, structure or portion thereof, the fire code official shall act in accordance with Section 111.2 of the International Fire Code.

    [F]703.3Maintenance.

    The required fire-resistance rating of fire-resistance-rated construction, including walls, firestops, shaft enclosures, partitions, smoke barriers, floors, fire-resistive coatings and sprayed fire-resistant materials applied to structural members and joint systems, shall be maintained. Such elements shall be visually inspected annually by the owner and repaired, restored or replaced where damaged, altered, breached or penetrated. Records of inspections and repairs shall be maintained. Where concealed, such elements shall not be required to be visually inspected by the owner unless the concealed space is accessible by the removal or movement of a panel, access door, ceiling tile or entry to the space. Openings made therein for the passage of pipes, electrical conduit, wires, ducts, air transfer and any other reason shall be protected with approved methods capable of resisting the passage of smoke and fire. Openings through fire-resistance-rated assemblies shall be protected by self- or automatic-closing doors of approved construction meeting the fire protection requirements for the assembly.

    [F]703.3.1Fire blocking and draft stopping.

    Required fire blocking and draft stopping in combustible concealed spaces shall be maintained to provide continuity and integrity of the construction.

    [F]703.3.2Smoke barriers and smoke partitions.

    Required smoke barriers and smoke partitions shall be maintained to prevent the passage of smoke. Openings protected with approved smoke barrier doors or smoke dampers shall be maintained in accordance with NFPA 105.

    [F]703.3.3Fire walls, fire barriers, and fire partitions.

    Required fire walls, fire barriers and fire partitions shall be maintained to prevent the passage of fire. Openings protected with approved doors or fire dampers shall be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80.

    [F]703.4Opening protectives.

    Opening protectives shall be maintained in an operative condition in accordance with NFPA 80. The application of field-applied labels associated with the maintenance of opening protectives shall follow the requirements of the approved third-party certification organization accredited for listing the opening protective. Fire doors and smoke barrier doors shall not be blocked or obstructed, or otherwise made inoperable. Fusible links shall be replaced whenever fused or damaged. Fire door assemblies shall not be modified.

    [F]703.4.1Signs.

    Where required by the code official, a sign shall be permanently displayed on or near each fire door in letters not less than 1 inch (25 mm) high to read as follows:

    1. 1.For doors designed to be kept normally open: FIRE DOOR – DO NOT BLOCK.

    2. 2.For doors designed to be kept normally closed: FIRE DOOR – KEEP CLOSED.

    [F]703.4.2Hold-open devices and closers.

    Hold-open devices and automatic door closers shall be maintained. During the period that such a device is out of service for repairs, the door it operates shall remain in the closed position.

    [F]703.4.3Door operation.

    Swinging fire doors shall close from the full-open position and latch automatically. The door closer shall exert enough force to close and latch the door from any partially open position.

    [F]703.5Ceilings.

    The hanging and displaying of salable goods and other decorative materials from acoustical ceiling systems that are part of a fire-resistance-rated horizontal assembly shall be prohibited.

    [F]703.6Testing.

    Horizontal and vertical sliding and rolling fire doors shall be inspected and tested annually to confirm operation and full closure. Records of inspections and testing shall be maintained.

    [F]703.7Vertical shafts.

    Interior vertical shafts, including stairways, elevator hoistways and service and utility shafts, which connect two or more stories of a building shall be enclosed or protected as required in Chapter 11 of the International Fire Code. New floor openings in existing buildings shall comply with the International Building Code.

    [F]703.8Opening protective closers.

    Where openings are required to be protected, opening protectives shall be maintained self-closing or automatic-closing by smoke detection. Existing fusible-link-type automatic door-closing devices shall be replaced if the fusible link rating exceeds 135°F (57°C).

    SECTION704
    FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS

    [F]704.1Inspection, testing and maintenance.

    Fire detection, alarm and extinguishing systems, mechanical smoke exhaust systems, and smoke and heat vents shall be maintained in accordance with the International Fire Code in an operative condition at all times, and shall be replaced or repaired where defective.

    [F]704.1.1Installation.

    Fire protection systems shall be maintained in accordance with the original installation standards for that system. Required systems shall be extended, altered or augmented as necessary to maintain and continue protection where the building is altered or enlarged. Alterations to fire protection systems shall be done in accordance with applicable standards.

    [F]704.1.2Required fire protection systems.

    Fire protection systems required by this code, the International Fire Code or the International Building Code shall be installed, repaired, operated, tested and maintained in accordance with this code. A fire protection system for which a design option, exception or reduction to the provisions of this code, the International Fire Code or the International Building Code has been granted shall be considered to be a required system.

    [F]704.1.3Fire protection systems.

    Fire protection systems shall be inspected, maintained and tested in accordance with the following International Fire Code requirements.

    1. 1.Automatic sprinkler systems, see Section 903.5.

    2. 2.Automatic fire-extinguishing systems protecting commercial cooking systems, see Section 904.12.5.

    3. 3.Automatic water mist extinguishing systems, see Section 904.11.

    4. 4.Carbon dioxide extinguishing systems, see Section 904.8.

    5. 5.Carbon monoxide alarms and carbon monoxide detection systems, see Section 915.6.

    6. 6.Clean-agent extinguishing systems, see Section 904.10.

    7. 7.Dry-chemical extinguishing systems, see Section 904.6.

    8. 8.Fire alarm and fire detection systems, see Section 907.8.

    9. 9.Fire department connections, see Sections 912.4 and 912.7.

    10. 10.Fire pumps, see Section 913.5.

    11. 11.Foam extinguishing systems, see Section 904.7.

    12. 12.Halon extinguishing systems, see Section 904.9.

    13. 13.Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms, see Section 907.10.

    14. 14.Smoke and heat vents and mechanical smoke removal systems, see Section 910.5.

    15. 15.Smoke control systems, see Section 909.20.

    16. 16.Wet-chemical extinguishing systems, see Section 904.5.

    [F]704.2Standards.

    Fire protection systems shall be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the referenced standards listed in Table 704.2 and as required in this section.

    TABLE 704.2

    FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEM MAINTENANCE STANDARDS

    SYSTEMSTANDARD
    Portable fire extinguishersNFPA 10
    Carbon dioxide fire-extinguishing systemNFPA 12
    Halon 1301 fire-extinguishing systemsNFPA 12A
    Dry-chemical extinguishing systemsNFPA 17
    Wet-chemical extinguishing systemsNFPA 17A
    Water-based fire protection systemsNFPA 25
    Fire alarm systemsNFPA 72
    Smoke and heat ventsNFPA 204
    Water-mist systemsNFPA 750
    Clean-agent extinguishing systemsNFPA 2001

    [F]704.2.1 Records.

    Records shall be maintained of all system inspections, tests and maintenance required by the referenced standards.

    [F]704.2.2Records information.

    Initial records shall include the: name of the installation contractor; type of components installed; manufacturer of the components; location and number of components installed per floor; and manufacturers’ operation and maintenance instruction manuals. Such records shall be maintained for the life of the installation.

    [F]704.3Systems out of service.

    Where a required fire protection system is out of service, the fire department and the fire code official shall be notified immediately and, where required by the fire code official, either the building shall be evacuated or an approved fire watch shall be provided for all occupants left unprotected by the shutdown until the fire protection system has been returned to service. Where utilized, fire watches shall be provided with not less than one approved means for notification of the fire department and shall not have duties beyond performing constant patrols of the protected premises and keeping watch for fires. Actions shall be taken in accordance with Section 901 of the International Fire Code to bring the systems back in service.

    [F]704.3.1Emergency impairments.

    Where unplanned impairments of fire protection systems occur, appropriate emergency action shall be taken to minimize potential injury and damage. The impairment coordinator shall implement the steps outlined in Section 901.7.4 of the International Fire Code.

    [F]704.4Removal of or tampering with equipment.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, tamper with or otherwise disturb any fire hydrant, fire detection and alarm system, fire suppression system or other fire appliance required by this code except for the purposes of extinguishing fire, training, recharging or making necessary repairs.

    [F]704.4.1Removal of or tampering with appurtenances.

    Locks, gates, doors, barricades, chains, enclosures, signs, tags and seals that have been installed by or at the direction of the fire code official shall not be removed, unlocked, destroyed or tampered with in any manner.

    [F]704.4.2Removal of existing occupant-use hose lines.

    The fire code official is authorized to permit the removal of existing occupant-use hose lines where all of the following apply:

    1. 1.The installation is not required by the International Fire Code or the International Building Code.

    2. 2.The hose line would not be utilized by trained personnel or the fire department.

    3. 3.The remaining outlets are compatible with local fire department fittings.

    [F]704.4.3Termination of monitoring service.

    For fire alarm systems required to be monitored by the International Fire Code, notice shall be made to the fire code official whenever alarm monitoring services are terminated. Notice shall be made in writing by the provider of the monitoring service being terminated.

    [F]704.5Fire department connection.

    Where the fire department connection is not visible to approaching fire apparatus, the fire department connection shall be indicated by an approved sign mounted on the street front or on the side of the building. Such sign shall have the letters “FDC” not less than 6 inches (152 mm) high and words in letters not less than 2 inches (51 mm) high or an arrow to indicate the location. Such signs shall be subject to the approval of the fire code official.

    [F]704.5.1Fire department connection access.

    Ready access to fire department connections shall be maintained at all times and without obstruction by fences, bushes, trees, walls or any other fixed or movable object. Access to fire department connections shall be approved by the fire chief.

    Exception: Fences, where provided with an access gate equipped with a sign complying with the legend requirements of Section 912.5 of the International Fire Code and a means of emergency operation. The gate and the means of emergency operation shall be approved by the fire chief and maintained operational at all times.

    [F]704.5.2Clear space around connections.

    A working space of not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in width, 36 inches (914 mm) in depth and 78 inches (1981 mm) in height shall be provided and maintained in front of and to the sides of wall-mounted fire department connections and around the circumference of free-standing fire department connections.

    [F]704.6 Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms.

    Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in existing Group I-1 and R occupancies in accordance with Sections 704.6.1 through 704.6.3.

    [F]704.6.1Where required.

    Existing Group I-1 and R occupancies shall be provided with single-station smoke alarms in accordance with Sections 704.6.1.1 through 704.6.1.4. Interconnection and power sources shall be in accordance with Sections 704.6.2 and 704.6.3.

    Exceptions:

    1. 1.Where the code that was in effect at the time of construction required smoke alarms and smoke alarms complying with those requirements are already provided.

    2. 2.Where smoke alarms have been installed in occupancies and dwellings that were not required to have them at the time of construction, additional smoke alarms shall not be required provided that the existing smoke alarms comply with requirements that were in effect at the time of installation.

    3. 3.Where smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system have been installed as a substitute for smoke alarms.

    [F]704.6.1.1Group R-1.

    Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in all of the following locations in Group R-1:

    1. 1.In sleeping areas.

    2. 2.In every room in the path of the means of egress from the sleeping area to the door leading from the sleeping unit.

    3. 3.In each story within the sleeping unit, including basements. For sleeping units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

    [F]704.6.1.2Groups R-2, R-3, R-4 and I-1.

    Singleor multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained in Groups R-2, R-3, R-4 and I-1 regardless of occupant load at all of the following locations:

    1. 1.On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.

    2. 2.In each room used for sleeping purposes.

    3. 3.In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

    [F]704.6.1.3Installation near cooking appliances.

    Smoke alarms shall not be installed in the following locations unless this would prevent placement of a smoke alarm in a location required by Section 704.6.1.1 or 704.6.1.2.

    1. 1.Ionization smoke alarms shall not be installed less than 20 feet (6096 m) horizontally from a permanently installed cooking appliance.

    2. 2.Ionization smoke alarms with an alarm-silencing switch shall not be installed less than 10 feet (3048 mm) horizontally from a permanently installed cooking appliance.

    3. 3.Photoelectric smoke alarms shall not be installed less than 6 feet (1829 mm) horizontally from a permanently installed cooking appliance.

    [F]704.6.1.4Installation near bathrooms.

    Smoke alarms shall be installed not less than 3 feet (914 mm) horizontally from the door or opening of a bathroom that contains a bathtub or shower unless this would prevent placement of a smoke alarm required by Section 704.6.1.1 or 704.6.1.2.

    [F]704.6.2Interconnection.

    Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling or sleeping unit, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. Physical interconnection of smoke alarms shall not be required where listed wireless alarms are installed and all alarms sound upon activation of one alarm. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

    Exceptions:

    1. 1.Interconnection is not required in buildings that are not undergoing alterations, repairs or construction of any kind.

    2. 2.Smoke alarms in existing areas are not required to be interconnected where alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available that could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes.

    [F]704.6.3Power source.

    Single-station smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring provided that such wiring is served from a commercial source and shall be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms with integral strobes that are not equipped with battery backup shall be connected to an emergency electrical system. Smoke alarms shall emit a signal when the batteries are low. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than as required for overcurrent protection.

    Exceptions:

    1. 1.Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in existing buildings where construction is not taking place.

    2. 2.Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in buildings that are not served from a commercial power source.

    3. 3.Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery operated in existing areas of buildings undergoing alterations or repairs that do not result in the removal of interior walls or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available that could provide access for building wiring without the removal of interior finishes.

    [F]704.6.4Smoke detection system.

    Smoke detectors listed in accordance with UL 268 and provided as part of the building’s fire alarm system shall be an acceptable alternative to single- and multiple-station smoke alarms and shall comply with the following:

    1. 1.The fire alarm system shall comply with all applicable requirements in Section 907 of the International Fire Code.

    2. 2.Activation of a smoke detector in a dwelling or sleeping unit shall initiate alarm notification in the dwelling or sleeping unit in accordance with Section 907.5.2 of the International Fire Code.

    3. 3.Activation of a smoke detector in a dwelling or sleeping unit shall not activate alarm notification appliances outside of the dwelling or sleeping unit, provided that a supervisory signal is generated and monitored in accordance with Section 907.6.6 of the International Fire Code.

    [F]704.7 Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms.

    Single- and multiple-station smoke alarms shall be tested and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms that do not function shall be replaced. Smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings shall be replaced not more than 10 years from the date of manufacture marked on the unit, or shall be replaced if the date of manufacture cannot be determined.

    SECTION705
    CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS AND DETECTION

    [F]705.1General.

    Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed in dwellings in accordance with Section 1103.9 of the International Fire Code, except that alarms in dwellings covered by the International Residential Code shall be installed in accordance with Section R315 of that code.

    [F]705.2Carbon monoxide alarms and detectors.

    Carbon monoxide alarms and carbon monoxide detection systems shall be maintained in accordance with NFPA 720. Carbon monoxide alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that become inoperable or begin producing end-of-life signals shall be replaced.