Fire Code Enforcement & Inspections
Purpose of Inspections
In order to preserve and protect public health and safety and to satisfy the requirements of N.C.G.S. 153A-364 and N.C.G.S. 160A-424, political subdivisions assuming inspection duties, as set out In N.C.G.S. 153A-351 and N.C.G.S. 160A-411, shall have a periodic inspection schedule for the purpose of identifying activities and conditions in buildings, structures and premises that pose dangers of fire, explosion or related hazards.
North Carolina Fire Code
The purpose of the code is to establish the minimum requirements consistent with nationally recognized good practice for providing a reasonable level of life safety and property protection from the hazards of fire, explosion or dangerous conditions in new and existing buildings, structures and premises, and to provide a reasonable level of safety to firefighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.
Fire prevention is everyone's responsibility. Keeping your surroundings accident free is also extremely important to avoid injury and even death.
- Fire Marshal's Office
- Fire Inspections
- Plan Review and Construction
- Community Programs
- Fire Safety Links
Life Safety Division
One Fire Marshal, One Deputy Fire Marshal, and One Assistant Fire Marshal perform protective service work in delivering fire prevention and inspection services:
Fire Marshal: Kenneth Skipper
Deputy Fire Marshal: Louis Blanchard
Assistant Fire Marshal: Stephen Russell
The North Carolina Fire Prevention Code was created to provide minimum fire and life safety standards for commercial businesses. North Carolina Law charges Fire Departments with the task of enforcing these standards. The Fire Prevention Bureau strives to fairly and consistently enforce the Fire Code. This ensures that there is a level playing field for everyone.
North Carolina Law requires all businesses, churches, educational institutions and multi-family residences to have regular fire inspections. Firms with hazardous materials, institutions, and multi-family residences are inspected annually. Industries and educational facilities (except public & private schools) are every two years while businesses; storage facilities, mercantile, and churches are inspected every three years.
There is no charge for a fire inspection. However, if there are violations of the fire code a fee or fine may be accessed if the items are not corrected within a certain time period. For example, if an exit sign has a bulb that is burnt out. The inspector can give the facility 30 days to repair and replace the sign. A 2nd inspection will be scheduled to make sure the repair has been made. The inspector will continue to follow-up with the facility to make sure everything is corrected and a fine will be issued if it is not done within 60 days.
If the violation of the fire code is extreme the fire inspector during his/her first inspection may issue a fine. An example of this is when a fire inspector finds a locked or blocked exit door at the time of the inspection a $150 fine can be accessed.
Whenever routine maintenance is performed on your properties, keep fire safety in mind by taking a few minutes to verify that these simple, but important items are addressed. It will make a difference not only in your fire inspection but more importantly, it will help to ensure the safety of your employees and customers
The top ten Fire Code violations commonly found during Fire Inspections are:
1. Fire extinguishers in the businesses failing to have annual inspections by a qualified extinguisher company.
2. Improper Storage of combustibles too close to heat sources or ceilings and the improper storage and use of flammable liquids/ hazardous materials
3. Extension cords used as a substitute for permanent wiring and cords used in the path of travel (Cords can be damaged by walking on them).
4. Exit problems such as; blocked aisles, blocked/locked doors, and blocked open fire doors.
5. Inoperative Exit Signs and Emergency Lights due to burned out bulbs and bad batteries for backup in case of electrical power failure.
6. Bad housekeeping without regular trash removal.
7. Broken or defective electrical fixtures (broken, missing outlet or switch plate covers and electrical light fixtures).
8. Blocked Electrical Circuit Breaker Panels (A minimum clearance of 30” is required in front and to the sides of panels).
9. Fire Alarm, Fire Extinguishing and Sprinkler Systems failing to have routine servicing/testing by a qualified company.
10. Street address numbers not displayed or proper size.
If you need more information or have questions concerning a Fire Inspection, Fire Marshal can be reached at 910-692-2720.
Inspectors are involved with every aspect of construction, from blueprint plan review to final acceptance testing of all fire protection equipment. Residents must contact the Fire and Life Safety Division to inquire about burning permits, blasting permits, and underground tank removal permits. Inspections are divided up into districts and specialty areas to provide consistent and knowledgeable guidance to all residents and business owners.
• Review construction plans for commercial and public accessible buildings and multi-family dwellings to make sure construction materials and methods meet the minimum fire and life safety requirements of the 2012 NC Fire Code, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, and amendments to the fire code as adopted by the Town Code of Ordinances.
• Issue certificates of occupancy
- Daycare Training Class - This class is offered quarterly and addresses the NC mandated training for daycare facility employees. Attendees receive a certificate of completion and one continuing education credit.
- Fire Engine Display - Fire engines are available to attend community-wide, health-focused events. At these events, firefighters show fire apparatus, offer free smoke alarm installation sign up, and hand out appropriate fire and life safety materials.
- Fire Safety Class (Age 18+) - Often civic groups, churches, and businesses have gatherings for which they need public speakers. Firefighters can address a variety of fire and life safety topics and will provide appropriate handouts to the group.
- Learning to Be Fire Safe Classroom Visit (pre K-5) - The Fire and Life Safety Educator visits classrooms to teach children the proper way to react in an emergency situation, what number to call, and what basic information they need to know to communicate with 9-1-1 operators.
- Preschool Reading Program (Children ages 6 & under) - The Fire and Life Safety Educator presents a story time, using a variety of safety books for children under age six.
- Seniors Fire & Fall Prevention Class (Age 55+) - This is a fire and fall prevention program for older adults centered around 16 key safety messages – eight fire prevention and eight fall prevention. This class is taught by the Fire and Life Safety Educator.
- Station Tours - Tours may be scheduled beginning at 9 am Mondays through Saturdays. Firefighters will put on turnout gear while a speaker discusses each item and its safety aspects. Attendees may sit in the apparatus but must be supervised by an adult.
- Car Seat Installation - Install Only - No Seats Provided - Technicians will install a car seat that you provide.
- Smoke Alarm and/or Battery Installation - Firefighters from the Southern Pines Fire Department will routinely visit neighborhoods to remind residents to check their smoke alarms and to install new alarms upon request at no charge. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries changed twice a year. Residents should have an alarm on every level of the home and outside every bedroom. If you would like to have your smoke alarm checked or would like one installed call 910-692-2720.
- Fire Department Fire Protection Systems Submittal Requirements
- Fire Department Site Plan Checklist
- Fire Protection System Impairment Program 1-11-17
- Fire Protection System Impairment Tag
- Fire Truck Turning Radius
- Primary and Secondary Fire District Map TOSP
- Requirements for Outdoor Food Vendors
- Fire Department Tent and Membrane Structure Checklist