About this chapter: Chapter 5 provides requirements that apply to all buildings and occupancies and pertain to access roads, access to building openings and roofs, premises identification, key boxes, fire protection water supplies, fire command centers, fire department access to equipment and emergency responder radio coverage in buildings. Although many safety features are part of the building design, features such as proper fire department access roads and radio coverage are necessary in case of emergency and are important tools for emergency responders for public safety and their own safety.
Fire service features for buildings, structures and premises shall comply with this chapter.
Construction documents for proposed fire apparatus access, location of fire lanes, security gates across fire apparatus access roads and construction documents and hydraulic calculations for fire hydrant systems shall be submitted to the fire department for review and approval prior to construction.
Where fire apparatus access roads or a water supply for fire protection are required to be installed, such protection shall be installed and made serviceable prior to and during the time of construction except where approved alternative methods of protection are provided. Temporary street signs shall be installed at each street intersection where construction of new roadways allows passage by vehicles in accordance with Section 505.2.
Approved fire apparatus access roads shall be provided for every facility, building or portion of a building hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction. The fire apparatus access road shall comply with the requirements of this section and shall extend to within 150 feet (45 720 mm) of all portions of the facility and all portions of the exterior walls of the first story of the building as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building or facility.
- The fire code official is authorized to increase the dimension of 150 feet (45 720 mm) where any of the following conditions occur:
- The building is equipped throughout with an approved automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1, 903.3.1.2 or 903.3.1.3.
- Fire apparatus access roads cannot be installed because of location on property, topography, waterways, nonnegotiable grades or other similar conditions, and an approved alternative means of fire protection is provided.
- There are not more than two Group R-3 or Group U occupancies.
- Where approved by the fire code official, fire apparatus access roads shall be permitted to be exempted or modified for solar photovoltaic power generation facilities.
Fire apparatus access roads shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be surfaced so as to provide all-weather driving capabilities.
Where a bridge or an elevated surface is part of a fire apparatus access road, the bridge shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with AASHTO HB-17. Bridges and elevated surfaces shall be designed for a live load sufficient to carry the imposed loads of fire apparatus. Vehicle load limits shall be posted at both entrances to bridges where required by the fire code official. Where elevated surfaces designed for emergency vehicle use are adjacent to surfaces that are not designed for such use, approved barriers, approved signs or both shall be installed and maintained where required by the fire code official.
Where required by the fire code official, approved signs or other approved notices or markings that include the words NO PARKING—FIRE LANE shall be provided for fire apparatus access roads to identify such roads or prohibit the obstruction thereof. The means by which fire lanes are designated shall be maintained in a clean and legible condition at all times and be replaced or repaired when necessary to provide adequate visibility.
The fire code official is authorized to require the installation and maintenance of gates or other approved barricades across fire apparatus access roads, trails or other accessways, not including public streets, alleys or highways. Electric gate operators, where provided, shall be listed in accordance with UL 325. Gates intended for automatic operation shall be designed, constructed and installed to comply with the requirements of ASTM F2200.
Where required, gates and barricades shall be secured in an approved manner. Roads, trails and other accessways that have been closed and obstructed in the manner prescribed by Section 503.5 shall not be trespassed on or used unless authorized by the owner and the fire code official.
Exception: The restriction on use shall not apply to public officers acting within the scope of duty.
The installation of security gates across a fire apparatus access road shall be approved by the fire code official. Where security gates are installed, they shall have an approved means of emergency operation. The security gates and the emergency operation shall be maintained operational at all times. Electric gate operators, where provided, shall be listed in accordance with UL 325. Gates intended for automatic operation shall be designed, constructed and installed to comply with the requirements of ASTM F2200.
Exterior doors and openings required by this code or the International Building Code shall be maintained readily accessible for emergency access by the fire department. An approved access walkway leading from fire apparatus access roads to exterior openings shall be provided where required by the fire code official.
Exterior doors and their function shall not be eliminated without prior approval. Exterior doors that have been rendered nonfunctional and that retain a functional door exterior appearance shall have a sign affixed to the exterior side of the door with the words THIS DOOR BLOCKED. The sign shall consist of letters having a principal stroke of not less than 3/4 inch (19.1 mm) wide and not less than 6 inches (152 mm) high on a contrasting background. Required fire department access doors shall not be obstructed or eliminated. Exit and exit access doors shall comply with Chapter 10. Access doors for high-piled combustible storage shall comply with Section 3206.7.
New buildings four or more stories above grade plane, except those with a roof slope greater than four units vertical in 12 units horizontal (33.3-percent slope), shall be provided with a stairway to the roof. Stairway access to the roof shall be in accordance with Section 1011.12. Such stairway shall be marked at street and floor levels with a sign indicating that the stairway continues to the roof. Where roofs are used for roof gardens or for other purposes, stairways shall be provided as required for such occupancy classification.
New and existing buildings shall be provided with approved address identification. The address identification shall be legible and placed in a position that is visible from the street or road fronting the property. Address identification characters shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabic numbers or alphabetical letters. Numbers shall not be spelled out. Each character shall be not less than 4 inches (102 mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 1/2 inch (12.7 mm). Where required by the fire code official, address identification shall be provided in additional approved locations to facilitate emergency response. Where access is by means of a private road and the building cannot be viewed from the public way, a monument, pole or other sign or means shall be used to identify the structure. Address identification shall be maintained.
Where access to or within a structure or an area is restricted because of secured openings or where immediate access is necessary for life-saving or fire-fighting purposes, the fire code official is authorized to require a key box to be installed in an approved location. The key box shall be of an approved type listed in accordance with UL 1037, and shall contain keys to gain necessary access as required by the fire code official.
Key boxes provided for nonstandardized fire service elevator keys shall comply with Section 506.1 and all of the following:
- The key box shall be compatible with an existing rapid entry key box system in use in the jurisdiction and approved by the fire code official.
- The front cover shall be permanently labeled with the words "Fire Department Use Only—Elevator Keys."
- The key box shall be mounted at each elevator bank at the lobby nearest to the lowest level of fire department access.
- The key box shall be mounted 5 feet 6 inches (1676 mm) above the finished floor to the right side of the elevator bank.
- Contents of the key box are limited to fire service elevator keys. Additional elevator access tools, keys and information pertinent to emergency planning or elevator access shall be permitted where authorized by the fire code official.
- In buildings with two or more elevator banks, a single key box shall be permitted to be used where such elevator banks are separated by not more than 30 feet (9144 mm). Additional key boxes shall be provided for each individual elevator or elevator bank separated by more than 30 feet (9144 mm).
Private fire service mains and appurtenances shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 24.
Where a portion of the facility or building hereafter constructed or moved into or within the jurisdiction is more than 400 feet (122 m) from a hydrant on a fire apparatus access road, as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the facility or building, on-site fire hydrants and mains shall be provided where required by the fire code official.
Fire hydrant systems shall be subject to periodic tests as required by the fire code official. Fire hydrant systems shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times and shall be repaired where defective. Additions, repairs, alterations and servicing shall comply with approved standards. Records of tests and required maintenance shall be maintained.
Private fire service mains and water tanks shall be periodically inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25 at the following intervals:
- Private fire hydrants of all types: Inspection annually and after each operation; flow test and maintenance annually.
- Fire service main piping: Inspection of exposed, annually; flow test every 5 years.
- Fire service main piping strainers: Inspection and maintenance after each use.
Records of inspections, testing and maintenance shall be maintained.
A 3-foot (914 mm) clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of fire hydrants, except as otherwise required or approved.
The fire command center shall be separated from the remainder of the building by not less than a 1-hour fire barrier constructed in accordance with Section 707 of the International Building Code or horizontal assembly constructed in accordance with Section 711 of the International Building Code, or both.
A layout of the fire command center and all features required by this section to be contained therein shall be submitted for approval prior to installation.
The fire command center shall comply with NFPA 72 and shall contain the following features:
- The emergency voice/alarm communication system control unit.
- The fire department communications system.
- Fire detection and alarm system annunciator.
- Annunciator unit visually indicating the location of the elevators and whether they are operational.
- Status indicators and controls for air distribution systems.
- The fire fighter's control panel required by Section 909.16 for smoke control systems installed in the building.
- Controls for unlocking interior exit stairway doors simultaneously.
- Sprinkler valve and water-flow detector display panels.
- Emergency and standby power status indicators.
- A telephone for fire department use with controlled access to the public telephone system.
- Fire pump status indicators.
- Schematic building plans indicating the typical floor plan and detailing the building core, means of egress, fire protection systems, fire-fighter air-replenishment systems, fire-fighting equipment and fire department access, and the location of fire walls, fire barriers, fire partitions, smoke barriers and smoke partitions.
- An approved Building Information Card that includes, but is not limited to, all of the following information:
- General building information that includes: property name, address, the number of floors in the building above and below grade, use and occupancy classification (for mixed uses, identify the different types of occupancies on each floor) and the estimated building population during the day, night and weekend;
- Building emergency contact information that includes: a list of the building's emergency contacts including but not limited to building manager, building engineer and their respective work phone number, cell phone number and e-mail address;
- Building construction information that includes: the type of building construction including but not limited to floors, walls, columns and roof assembly;
- Exit access stairway and exit stairway information that includes: number of exit access stairways and exit stairways in building; each exit access stairway and exit stairway designation and floors served; location where each exit access stairway and exit stairway discharges, interior exit stairways that are pressurized; exit stairways provided with emergency lighting; each exit stairway that allows reentry; exit stairways providing roof access; elevator information that includes: number of elevator banks, elevator bank designation, elevator car numbers and respective floors that they serve; location of elevator machine rooms, control rooms and control spaces; location of sky lobby; and location of freight elevator banks;
- Building services and system information that includes: location of mechanical rooms, location of building management system, location and capacity of all fuel oil tanks, location of emergency generator and location of natural gas service;
- Fire protection system information that includes: location of standpipes, location of fire pump room, location of fire department connections, floors protected by automatic sprinklers and location of different types of automatic sprinkler systems installed including but not limited to dry, wet and pre-action;
- Hazardous material information that includes: location and quantity of hazardous material.
- Work table.
- Generator supervision devices, manual start and transfer features.
- Public address system, where specifically required by other sections of this code.
- Elevator fire recall switch in accordance with ASME A17.1/CSA B44.
- Elevator emergency or standby power selector switch(es), where emergency or standby power is provided.
Fire protection equipment shall be identified in an approved manner. Rooms containing controls for air-conditioning systems, sprinkler risers and valves, or other fire detection, suppression or control elements shall be identified for the use of the fire department. Approved signs required to identify fire protection equipment and equipment location shall be constructed of durable materials, permanently installed and readily visible.
Approved access shall be provided and maintained for all fire protection equipment to permit immediate safe operation and maintenance of such equipment. Storage, trash and other materials or objects shall not be placed or kept in such a manner that would prevent such equipment from being readily accessible.
New buildings shall have approved radio coverage for emergency responders within the building based on the existing coverage levels of the public safety communication systems utilized by the jurisdiction, measured at the exterior of the building. This section shall not require improvement of the existing public safety communication systems.
- Where approved by the building official and the fire code official, a wired communication system in accordance with Section 907.2.12.2 shall be permitted to be installed or maintained instead of an approved radio coverage system.
- Where it is determined by the fire code official that the radio coverage system is not needed.
- In facilities where emergency responder radio coverage is required and such systems, components or equipment required could have a negative impact on the normal operations of that facility, the fire code official shall have the authority to accept an automatically activated emergency responder radio coverage system.
The minimum inbound signal strength shall be sufficient to provide usable voice communications throughout the coverage area as specified by the fire code official. The inbound signal level shall be sufficient to provide not less than a Delivered Audio Quality (DAQ) of 3.0 or an equivalent Signal-to-Interference-Plus-Noise Ratio (SINR) applicable to the technology for either analog or digital signals.
The minimum outbound signal strength shall be sufficient to provide usable voice communications throughout the coverage area as specified by the fire code official. The outbound signal level shall be sufficient to provide not less than a DAQ of 3.0 or an equivalent SINR applicable to the technology for either analog or digital signals.
The emergency responder radio coverage system shall be designed in accordance with Sections 510.4.2.1 through 510.4.2.8 and NFPA 1221.
Buildings and structures that cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with systems and components to enhance the public safety radio signals and achieve the required level of radio coverage specified in Sections 510.4.1 through 510.4.1.3. Public safety communications enhancement systems utilizing radio-frequency-emitting devices and cabling shall be approved by the fire code official. Prior to installation, all RF-emitting devices shall have the certification of the radio licensing authority and be suitable for public safety use.
The fire code official shall maintain a document providing the specific technical information and requirements for the emergency responder communications coverage system. This document shall contain, but not be limited to, the various frequencies required, the location of radio sites, the effective radiated power of radio sites, the maximum propagation delay in microseconds, the applications being used and other supporting technical information necessary for system design.
Emergency responder radio coverage systems shall be provided with dedicated standby batteries or provided with 2-hour standby batteries and connected to the facility generator power system in accordance with Section 1203. The standby power supply shall be capable of operating the emergency responder radio coverage system at 100-percent system capacity for a duration of not less than 12 hours.
If used, signal boosters shall meet the following requirements:
- All signal booster components shall be contained in a National Electrical Manufacturer's Association (NEMA) 4-type waterproof cabinet.
- Battery systems used for the emergency power source shall be contained in a NEMA 3R or higher-rated cabinet.
- Equipment shall have FCC or other radio licensing authority certification and be suitable for public safety use prior to installation.
- Where a donor antenna exists, isolation shall be maintained between the donor antenna and all inside antennas to not less than 20dB greater than the system gain under all operating conditions.
- Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs) used in emergency responder radio coverage systems shall have oscillation prevention circuitry.
- The installation of amplification systems or systems that operate on or provide the means to cause interference on any emergency responder radio coverage networks shall be coordinated and approved by the fire code official.
The emergency responder radio enhancement system shall be monitored by a listed fire alarm control unit, or where approved by the fire code official, shall sound an audible signal at a constantly attended on-site location. Automatic supervisory signals shall include the following:
- Loss of normal AC power supply.
- System battery charger(s) failure.
- Malfunction of the donor antenna(s).
- Failure of active RF-emitting device(s).
- Low-battery capacity at 70-percent reduction of operating capacity.
- Failure of critical system components.
- The communications link between the fire alarm system and the emergency responder radio enhancement system.
The emergency responder radio coverage system shall be capable of modification or expansion in the event frequency changes are required by the FCC or other radio licensing authority, or additional frequencies are made available by the FCC or other radio licensing authority.
Systems shall be engineered to minimize the near-far effect. Radio enhancement system designs shall include sufficient antenna density to address reduced gain conditions.
The minimum qualifications of the system designer and lead installation personnel shall include both of the following:
- A valid FCC-issued general radio operators license.
- Certification of in-building system training issued by an approved organization or approved school, or a certificate issued by the manufacturer of the equipment being installed.
These qualifications shall not be required where demonstration of adequate skills and experience satisfactory to the fire code official is provided.
Where an emergency responder radio coverage system is required, and upon completion of installation, the building owner shall have the radio system tested to verify that two-way coverage on each floor of the building is not less than 95 percent. The test procedure shall be conducted as follows:
- Each floor of the building shall be divided into a grid of 20 approximately equal test areas.
- The test shall be conducted using a calibrated portable radio of the latest brand and model used by the agency talking through the agency's radio communications system or equipment approved by the fire code official.
- Failure of more than one test area shall result in failure of the test.
- In the event that two of the test areas fail the test, in order to be more statistically accurate, the floor shall be permitted to be divided into 40 equal test areas. Failure of not more than two nonadjacent test areas shall not result in failure of the test. If the system fails the 40-area test, the system shall be altered to meet the 95-percent coverage requirement.
- A test location approximately in the center of each test area shall be selected for the test, with the radio enabled to verify two-way communications to and from the outside of the building through the public agency's radio communications system. Once the test location has been selected, that location shall represent the entire test area. Failure in the selected test location shall be considered to be a failure of that test area. Additional test locations shall not be permitted.
- The gain values of all amplifiers shall be measured and the test measurement results shall be kept on file with the building owner so that the measurements can be verified during annual tests. In the event that the measurement results become lost, the building owner shall be required to rerun the acceptance test to reestablish the gain values.
- As part of the installation, a spectrum analyzer or other suitable test equipment shall be utilized to ensure spurious oscillations are not being generated by the subject signal booster. This test shall be conducted at the time of installation and at subsequent annual inspections.
- Systems incorporating Class B signal-booster devices or Class B broadband fiber remote devices shall be tested using two portable radios simultaneously conducting subjective voice quality checks. One portable radio shall be positioned not greater than 10 feet (3048 mm) from the indoor antenna. The second portable radio shall be positioned at a distance that represents the farthest distance from any indoor antenna. With both portable radios simultaneously keyed up on different frequencies within the same band, subjective audio testing shall be conducted and comply with DAQ levels as specified in Sections 510.4.1.1 and 510.4.1.2.
The emergency responder radio coverage system installation and components shall comply with all applicable federal regulations including, but not limited to, FCC 47 CFR Part 90.219.
The owner of the building or owner's authorized agent shall have the emergency responder radio coverage system shall be inspected and tested annually or where structural changes occur including additions or remodels that could materially change the original field performance tests. Testing shall consist of the following:
- In-building coverage test as described in Section 510.5.3.
- Signal boosters shall be tested to verify that the gain is the same as it was upon initial installation and acceptance or set to optimize the performance of the system.
- Backup batteries and power supplies shall be tested under load of a period of 1 hour to verify that they will properly operate during an actual power outage. If within the 1-hour test period the battery exhibits symptoms of failure, the test shall be extended for additional 1-hour periods until the integrity of the battery can be determined.
- Other active components shall be checked to verify operation within the manufacturer's specifications.
- At the conclusion of the testing, a report, which shall verify compliance with Section 510.5.3, shall be submitted to the fire code official.
The building owner shall modify or expand the emergency responder radio coverage system at his or her expense in the event frequency changes are required by the FCC or other radio licensing authority, or additional frequencies are made available by the FCC or other radio licensing authority. Prior approval of a public safety radio coverage system on previous frequencies does not exempt this section.