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Family Day Care Home Inspections

All family home daycare providers must be must be licensed by the Maryland Department of Education's Office of Child Care. This lengthy process requires the potential provider to undergo extensive training, background checks and inspections of their homes. A home fire safety inspection by the Fire Marshal Division is part of this process.

The Fire Marshal performs an initial inspection of the new licensee. Once a license is granted, the provider must be re-inspected for fire safety each year. 
Inspections are conducted in accordance with requirements of the Maryland Fire Prevention Code (PDF) and the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code which are based on the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code 101, Chapter 16.

These laws govern the safety of the child in the home and the provider's ability to get children out of the house in the event of a fire or other emergency.

General Requirements

The following is a general list of fire code requirements for family home day cares:

  • Adherence to Address Display Law.
  • Bathroom and bedroom doors must open from inside the room. Any inside locks must open without a key. 
  • Closet doors must open from the inside.
  • Safety caps must be provided in all unused outlets.
  • Providers must post an emergency escape plan showing two ways out of each room and area used for day care.
  • Providers must maintain and test sliding doors daily as a required means of egress.
  • Secondary exits may be key lockable on both sides if a key is readily accessible.
  • Must provide a minimum of two approved ways out of each area used for day care. The primary exit from each area must be a door (at least 28 inches wide); the second means of escape may be another door or an approved window
  • All fire protection equipment (extinguishers, sprinklers, smoke detectors) must be tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers may be tested by the provider in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Fireplaces and woodstoves must have a stationary barrier at least 18 inches from hot surfaces.
  • Flammable liquids and fuel-fired equipment must be stored in appropriate areas.
  • At least one operable flashlight must be accessible to the provider.
  • The use of unvented, fuel-fired room heaters (fixed or portable) is prohibited.
  • The main entrance must have a thumb-turn lock on the inside.
  • Providers must maintain good housekeeping in all areas.
  • Paneling or wall coverings must have a flame spread rating.
  • Smoke alarms are required in all rooms or areas used for sleeping and napping. This is in addition to the detectors required by State law.
  • No loose steps or other trip hazards at entrance and exits to house are permitted.
  • Windows must open from the inside without the use of tools and must provide a clear opening of not less than 20 inches clear width and 24 inches clear height and be at least 5.7 square feet in area. This means that if the window is only 20 inches wide, it must be 41.1 inches high to provide 5.7 square feet of area. For windows at grade, five square feet in area is required. The bottom of the window opening cannot exceed 44 inches from the floor.
Revised June 3, 2019         


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