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Fire Prevention Code and Regulations

The Baltimore County Fire Department (BCoFD) Office of the Fire Marshal enforces the Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code, which closely parallels the Maryland Fire Prevention Code but is tailored to the needs of the County. Enforcement of the Fire Code is essential to BCoFD's ability to prevent fires and protect lives and property.

Local codes may be more stringent than the Maryland Fire Prevention Code; they cannot be less restrictive than the state code. Both local and state fire codes are amendments to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes.

Fire Prevention Code—Effective March 1, 2021

The Baltimore County Fire Prevention Code (PDF) protects lives and property by regulating the hazards of fire and explosion.

The County fire code closely parallels the Maryland Fire Prevention Code (PDF) but is tailored to the specific needs of Baltimore County and its residents. The code regulates the storage, handling and use of various substances, materials and devices, including fireworks, barbeque grills, commercial cooking equipment and machinery. It sets standards for fire protection systems including automatic sprinkler systems, residential rural water supplies for fire suppression and smoke detectors in day care homes. It also regulates conditions related to the occupancy various types of buildings, including proper egress and requirements for fire drills. It includes specific physical and operational requirements for new and existing occupancies based on the type of use for each occupancy.

The main documents that are included as part of the County Fire Code are the NFPA 1 Fire Code, 2012 edition, and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, 2012 edition.

The Fire Code contains amendments, deletions and additions to the NFPA documents. To have a complete understanding of the code, please review it in conjunction with the NFPA documents.

Occupancy Regulations

Fire prevention involves making sure 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 (Chapter 20 of the Fire Code). If you need a replacement certificate, contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 410-887-4880.

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 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

The Fire Code requires Crowd Manager Training for all establishments that handle 50 or more people. The program teaches establishments how to get people safely out of a building in case of fire or emergency.

Fire Prevention Regulations 

Contact Us

Office of the Fire Marshal

Public Safety Building
700 East Joppa Road
Towson, Maryland 21286

Hours

Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone

Fax

410-832-8511

Fire Marshal

Fire Lieutenant Travis Francis

 
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