Business Owner / Manager Information
Understanding and Complying with Fire Code
Information that will help owner / managers comply with the Florida Fire Prevention Code, and understand the enforcement process.
- How can I prepare for a fire inspection?
- What fees are charged for the fire inspections?
- What happens if I fail to correct a fire code violation?
The St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department provides local enforcement of the Florida Fire Prevention Code, as mandated by Chapter 633 of the Florida Statutes. The specific requirements are found in Chapter 69A of the Florida Administrative Code, especially Chapter 69A-60.
Certain occupancy types, such as day-care centers and public schools, are required by Florida Statutes to have an annual fire inspection. Chapter 69A-60 requires that all other occupancies receive periodic inspections by the local enforcement authority. To meet this requirement the St. Johns County Fire Rescue Department performs fire safety inspections using both full-time fire inspectors, and firefighters who are cross-trained as fire inspectors.
How can I prepare for a fire inspection?
Checklists have been developed to help you meet fire code requirements and avoid receiving a notice of violation. All violations listed are based on the Florida Fire Prevention Code or the Florida Uniform Fire Safety Standards. The lists do not address all code requirements, but instead focus on the most commonly found violations, and on those that are easily correctable. Space limitations prohibit the listing of all exceptions or exemptions that may apply.
If you have specific questions you may request a fire safety inspection of your facility, and the inspector will address any issues at that time. (Note: You will always be given a notice of violation and a reasonable period of time to correct any existing deficiencies before enforcement action is taken.) You may also review the entire fire code at our office during normal business hours. (3657 Gaines Road, St. Augustine, FL 32084)
A reference copy of the Florida Fire Prevention Code is also available at each of the County Library branch locations. (Copyright restrictions prevent us from making the entire document available to you in an on-line format.)
- Common Fire Code Violation Checklist – a basic list that applies to all occupancy types.
What happens if I fail to correct a fire code violation?
In almost all cases owners and managers are able to correct fire code violations within the time given in the “notice of violation” issued by the fire inspector. In some cases there are unusual circumstances that prevent timely compliance, and we are often able to work with those owner / managers who are making a good faith effort to comply. For example, if you are required to have extensive work done on a fire alarm system, we may be able to extend the time if the contractor is unable to complete the work right away, provided you show us a signed contract indicating that the work will be done. If you do need extended time to comply you should contact your inspector as soon as possible to discuss your request.
For those instances in which the owner / manager does not comply, enforcement action will be taken as described below:
The local enforcement procedures and penalties for failure to comply with the Florida Fire Prevention Code, or the Uniform Firesafety Standards, are found in St. Johns County Ordinance #93-6.
Both the owner and managers of a business may be held responsible for violating the fire codes.
The ordinance states that violators of the fire code may be prosecuted in the same manner as misdemeanors, and upon conviction they may be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or by imprisonment in the County Jail not to exceed 60 days, or both.
The ordinance also states that fire inspectors may issue civil citations to violators. A separate citation may be given for each violation, and each day that a violation continues is a separate offense. If the citation is not contested the penalty is $50.00, plus court costs of $8.00. If a violator chooses to contest the citation and is convicted, the judge may impose a penalty up to $500.00 plus court costs for each violation.
The County also has other enforcement options, including but not limited to seeking a mandatory injunction from a court.