- Use 911 to report a fire or medical emergency.
- Directly after reporting a fire, leave the building.
- Know your Fire Safety Evacuation Procedure, including the exit route from your work space to the exterior of the building.
- Learn how to find and operate the fire extinguisher.
- Most high rise office buildings are protected by automatic fire sprinklers.
- Look for things that may affect fire safety:
- Extension cords
- Space heaters, fans, coffee makers and other appliances
- Equipment left on at end of day
- Accumulation of combustible materials
- Items in the evacuation path that may prevent people from safely leaving the building
- Fire or smoke barrier doors being blocked open
Quick Guide to the Fire Prevention Code
404.3. Fire safety and evacuation plans must comply with this section.
405.2.1. Emergency evacuation drills, in accordance with the fire safety plan, shall be conducted by the owner or building staff at least twice (2) annually in all high-rise office or commercial buildings and at least once (1) annually in all high-rise residential buildings.
Fire Department Access
506.2.2. Key box number and labeling of required keys. In buildings with fire command centers, the person in control shall provide fifteen (15) sets of common keys, which shall be located in a key box in the fire control room. The keys are required for access to building services and systems regulated by Section 601 of this code; and to all storage, trash, and utility rooms, roof access doors, and doors to other secured areas. In all other buildings without fire command centers, the person in control shall provide seven (7) sets of common keys to be located in a key box. The seven sets of common keys, which shall be placed in an interior location of the building as approved by the fire official. Individual keys shall be clearly labeled as to function and each set of keys shall be individually tagged in a manner approved by the fire official.
506.2.3. Non-required (voluntary) fire department access boxes. Voluntarily provided fire department key access boxes shall contain one (1) key to access the premises served, and other keys as determined necessary by the owner or occupant. All keys shall be clearly labeled as to function and individually tagged.
507.4. Obstacles. No accumulation or concentration of materials or objects shall be placed and/or located inside a structure, dwelling or unit in such a manner or circumstance that, in the professional opinion of the fire official, an obstacle or hindrance to fire and emergency personnel or to fire fighting and/or EMS operations is created.
508.5.5. Clear space around hydrants and fire department connections. Clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of any fire hydrant or fire department connection. No person shall plant anything or erect any obstruction within four (4) feet of any fire hydrant or ten (10) feet of any fire department connection and shall not be obstructed by trees, shrubs, plants, structures or any other object.
1028.8. Exterior door marking and access for mid level and high-rise buildings. All new and existing buildings over four (4) stories shall install signage on the outside of their exterior doors stating the stairway location, and all doors shall have door handles and keyed entry locks. The keys to these doors shall be kept on the existing key rings in the rapid entry key box , near the fire panel or fire control room as applicable.
Fire Protection Systems
901.6. Inspection, testing and maintenance. To the extent that equipment, systems devices, and safeguards, such as fire detection, alarm, and extinguishing systems, which were provided and approved by the building code official when constructed and/or which were voluntarily installed, shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times. Moreover, were such equipment, systems, devices, and safeguards are found not to be in operative condition, the fire official shall order such equipment to be rendered safe in accordance with the USBS.
901.6.2. Records. A complete written record of each required test of any fire protection system shall be forwarded to the code official within thirty (30) calendar days of completion of said test. Records of all system inspections, tests and maintenance required by the referenced standards shall be maintained on the premises for a minimum of three (3) years and shall be copied to the fire code official upon request.
901.6.3. Periodic retests. Periodic inspections and tests of all fire protection systems shall be tested in accordance with the respective NFPA standards and other codes as required under this Chapter. The test shall be witnessed by the fire official. The fire official shall collect fees from the building owner or tenant for the witnessing of tests required under this section.
901.6.3.1. Testing and inspection/reinspection fees. Fees for witnessing the testing and for inspection/reinspection of existing fire protection equipment and systems shall be assessed. Fees shall be based on the hours reserved by the Fire Prevention Office to perform the inspection/reinspection or witnessing. The following matrix is to serve as a guideline in determining when such a fee is required. The Fire Prevention Office must be notified of a cancellation of a scheduled inspection/reinspection or site visit. To avoid the imposition of a fee due to a cancellation, a minimum notice of ten (10) full business days is required. Notice received in less than ten (10) full business days, or if no notice is provided to the Fire Prevention Office, the full fee shall be assessed and paid. Fees are established pursuant to §8.1-13 herein.
901.6.4. Notification. The code official or his/her designee shall be notified before any routine test, repair, alteration or change to any fire protection system is started, regardless of whether such system is required by the building code, this code or other law or ordinance.
901.8. Removal 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 fire appliance, required by this code except for the purpose of extinguishing fire, training purposes, recharging or making necessary repairs, or when approved by the fire code official.
A101.1. Scope. A fire watch is a temporary measure intended to ensure continuous and systematic surveillance of a building, structure or portion thereof by one (1) or more qualified individuals for the purposes of identifying and controlling fire hazards, detecting early signs of unwanted fire, raising an alarm of fire and immediately notifying the fire department and the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center.
A102.1. Initiation. In the event that a fire protection system, sprinkler system, alarm, detection, or other suppression system is impaired or out of service, a fire watch shall be instituted by the person in control (as defined in Chapter 8.1 of the Arlington County Code, 1957 as amended).
A102.2. Procedures. When the establishment of a fire watch is initiated by the person in control, or ordered by the fire department or fire official, the owner or the owner’s representative shall implement the following procedures for the duration of the fire watch. The fire watch shall be maintained until such time the noted system(s) is returned to normal ready service and approved for use by the fire official.
1. A fire watch shall consist of the following:
a) A designated number of staff (minimum of two personnel)performing fire watch duties at all times and until the fire protection system has been repaired, inspected, tested, and certified to be placed back in service. During the duration of a fire watch, the sole duty of such designated staff shall be the fire watch.
b) Each participating staff member shall be equipped with reliable two-way system of communications.
c) One (1) staff member shall always be stationed in an area or room equipped with a working telephone or cellular phone to report a fire, smoke or other hazardous situation by dialing 9-1-1.
NOTE: When dialing 9-1-1 from a cellular phone, some cellular phone systems may connect user with another jurisdiction’s emergency communications center, therefore the caller should confirm they are speaking with the “Arlington County Emergency Communications Center.”
d) At least one (1) staff member shall conduct a walking tour of all areas of the building no less than every fifteen (15) minutes to look for fire, smoke, or hazardous situations that require fire department response; or,
e) A complete tour of the facility within a time frame prescribed by the fire official or fire department and with the fire watch staffing level contingent upon the size of the facility and the type of occupancy.
NOTE: If the building or property is of such size that two (2) individuals cannot adequately perform the required fire watch, the fire department representative may require additional on-site personnel to participate in the fire watch. Upon request, the fire department representative may permit one (1) person to perform the fire watch if the building or property is size that one (1) person can adequately perform the required fire watch.
2. A legibly written log shall be kept on site at all times for review by any fire department employee documenting:
a) The reason the fire watch was implemented.
b) The date and time the fire department was notified the fire watch was initiated and concluded.
c) The start and stop time of each building or property tour.
d) The key locations visited in the building(s) requiring the fire watch.
e) Name(s) of personnel conducting the fire watch.
f) Name(s) of personnel recording the information.
g) Log entries shall be kept for a minimum of two (2) years.
3. Personnel conducting the fire watch shall be:
a) Capable of performing patrol duties.
b) Reliable and not under the influence of intoxicants or illegal substances.
c) Able to clearly and accurately converse with fire department personnel in English, in the event of an emergency.
d) Able to remain awake and alert at all times.
NOTE: In all cases, the sole duty of personnel assigned to the fire watch shall be to perform constant patrols of the protected premises, to keep watch for fires, and if necessary to summon the fire department.
4. In the event of a fire emergency:
a) The fire watch staff shall immediately call 9-1-1 and report the location of the fire within the building.
b) Activate the emergency alarm signal (if available).
c) Begin the evacuation of the building starting on the fire floor, then above the fire floor, then below the fire floor.
All questions concerning the implementation of the fire watch and requests for inspections to terminate the fire watch shall be directed to the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) at 703-558-2222.
Questions: 703-228-4644 or send email.