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Fire Safety for Apartments

Last Modified: August 15, 2011

Fire at your property is one of the most devastating events that can take place. Fortunately, many fires in apartments are preventable. The North Carolina State Fire Code has specific provisions in it that address fire safety in apartments. While the Fire Marshal's Office works diligently to inspect all common areas in apartment complexes, fire safety is the responsibility of the property management and the individual resident.

Property Management or Owners

Addresses

Section 505.1 states that new and existing buildings shall have approved address numbers that are plainly legible and visible from the street fronting the property. Numbers shall be a minimum of 4 inches high on a contrasting background.

Sprinkler

Section 903.3.1.2 of the Fire Code requires a NFPA 13R Sprinkler system in all apartments up to and including 4 stories in height built since 2006.

Fire Department Access

Section 503 of the Fire Code addresses fire department access. If the fire department is needed, it is vital that our apparatus can reach you! Please maintain access roads with an unobstructed width of 20 feet and a vertical clearance of at least 13 feet 6 inches.

Storage and Combustible Waste

Combustible waste material shall not be allowed to accumulate as required by Section 304.1 of the Code. This includes but is not limited to wastepaper, wood, hay and pinestraw. Further, combustible materials shall not be stored in exits, exit enclosures, boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, or electrical rooms.

Smoke Alarms

Single or multiple station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained on the wall or ceiling outside of each separate sleeping area, in each room used for sleeping, and in each story.

Fire Extinguishers

Fire Extinguishers are required by Section 906 of the Fire Code. The extinguishers must be placed in a conspicuous location, no higher than 5 feet of the ground. Extinguishers shall not be obstructed or blocked from view and the maximum travel distance can not exceed 75 feet.

Residents

Portable Unvented Heaters

Portable unvented fuel-fired heating equipment is prohibited per Section 604 of the Fire Code.

Grills

Section 308 of the NC Fire Code addresses grills. Specifically, Section 308.3.1 states that charcoal burners and other open flame cooking devices shall not be operated on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction.
Section 308.3.1.1 states LP gas burners with a LP gas container having a capacity greater than 2.5 pounds shall not be located on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction.

The Raleigh Fire Marshal's Office recommends not using grills in apartments at all.

Recreational Fires

Section 307 of the Fire Code prohibits the use of recreational fires within 25 feet of a structure or combustible materials. No open flame device should be used on a combustible surface such as a deck.

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