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Fire Lanes, Hydrants and Rural Water Supply

Access Roads and Fire Lanes

The Baltimore County Fire Marshal has authority to require access roads and fire lands for buildings when deemed necessary for firefighting operations. Property owners are responsible for the cost of fire lane signs. (Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, Chapter 18)


The Fire Marshal has the authority over the location pattern of fire hydrants. (Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, Chapter 18)

Specific provisions:

  • Hydrants must be at least 40 feet from buildings. If this is not possible, fire officials may permit a lesser distance provided the location minimizes the possibility of injury by falling walls, smoke or heat.
  • Fences or other obstructions may not be placed within 15 feet of hydrants.
  • Free access from the street to hydrants must be maintained at all times.
  • Private fire hydrants are painted red; public hydrants are painted orange.
  • Use of public fire hydrants is prohibited without a permit from Baltimore County government.

Rural Water Supply

All developments of 10 or more lots not served by a municipal water supply must have a year-round water supply capable of providing 400 gallons per minute for 30 minutes for firefighting operations (Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, Chapter 18).

Suitable water sources must be approved by the Fire Marshal and may include ponds or streams, cisterns, underground tanks and dry hydrants.

Revised June 6, 2014

Revised April 6, 2016         


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