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Occupancy Fire Safety

An important aspect of fire prevention involves ensuring that places where large numbers of people assemble do not exceed their occupancy load. The Fire Marshal's Office  determines occupancy capacities and issues an official certificate specifying this capacity.

This certificate must be at least 5 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches and must be permanently posted in a conspicuous place near the main entrance. This rule applies to new and existing occupancies. (Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, Chapter 20)

Contact the Fire Marshal's Office, 410-887-4880, if you need a replacement sign.

Places of Assembly

Fire codes define an assembly occupancy as one used for:

  • A gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation, or similar uses.
  • An area used as a special amusement building, regardless of occupant load. This includes bars, nightclubs, arcades, convention centers, sports arenas, etc.

The maximum number of occupants is governed by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 101-2006 and may not be exceeded.

The Fire Marshal may, at the written request of the owner or occupant of the establishment post a smaller occupancy load than required by the NFPA standard.

Crowd Manager Program

Fire codes require "Crowd Manager Training" for all establishments that handle 50 or more people. The Crowd Manager Program ensures that establishments know how to get people safely out of a building in case of fire or emergency.

Registration for Crowd Manager Training is available online.

Revised January 19, 2011

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