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Fire Protection Systems

Chapter 13 of the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code regulates Fire Department access to fire protection systems and the design of fire protection systems. It sets requirements for fire protection systems (specifically, automatic sprinklers) in certain types of buildings. It regulates the use and sale of fire extinguishers.

Sprinklers In High-Rise Buildings 

Chapter 13 requires that all existing high-rise buildings be protected by approved automatic sprinkler systems by October 13, 2013.

Residential buildings (condominiums) are exempt from this requirement if 75 percent of the residents sign a petition agreeing to waive the fire protection requirement. Buildings containing a mix of residential and commercial or office uses do not qualify for the exemption.

Access to and Design of Fire Protection Systems

Provisions include:

  • Fire Department connections must be free of obstructions within 15 feet of the connection.
  • Where required, buildings must have standpipes in accordance with local building and fire codes.
  • Design of automatic sprinkler systems, standpipe systems and fire pumps must be prepared by registered professional engineer with expertise in fire protection engineering and automatic sprinkler system design, or by a certified engineering technician with a Level III or higher certification in automatic sprinkler system layout from the National Institute of Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET).

Portable Fire Extinguishers

  • The code requires extinguishers in the hazardous areas of garden apartment buildings.
  • It requires all extinguishers offered for sale to bear the approval of the Underwriter's Laboratories Inc. or other approved testing laboratory.
  • It prohibits certain liquids in any extinguisher.
  • It requires anyone servicing, repairing, refilling or recharging portable fire extinguishers to obtain a license from the county Department of Permits and Development Management.

Fire Marshal's Tip Sheet: Portable Fire Extinguishers

This tip sheet provides helpful information about portable fire extinguishers (PDF).

Revised May 23, 2013

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