Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fire inspection?
||Fire Marshal Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to prevent a fire is to prevent them from occurring. Routine fire inspections are one of the most effective ways to do that. The purpose of the inspections is multifold:
1. Identify and correct fire code violations.
2. Educate business and property owners about the fire code and general fire safety.
How can I prepare for the inspection?
The Kerrville Fire Marshal's Office has prepared an informational brochure, "Are You Up To Code" (Coming Soon), that will outline the most common fire code violations. This brochure is design to address the majority of the questions regarding an inspection. A copy of the brochure will be available by contacting our office and a Fire Inspector will deliver the brochure and go over any questions you may have.
How often will my business or property be inspected?
We strive to inspect businesses on an annual basis.
How much will the inspection cost?
No fees are assessed for annual and semi-annual inspections.
What if I have a question about the inspection and fire code violations?
You can contact the Fire Inspector who visited your property, or call the Kerrville Fire Marshal's Office at (830) 257-8449.
What is the International Fire Code 2006?
The Fire Code is a group of fire safety requirements that are developed to protect a specific type of operation, to protect the occupants of a building from fire, and to reduce the potential for a fire to start. These requirements are developed based on information gathered from around the country where fires have been in the past. A significant amount of investigation and research is conducted to determine the actual cause of fire before an item becomes a part of the Fire Code. Once the Fire Code has been adopted by a city, it becomes the City Ordinance that regulates fire safety. Failure to comply with the Fire Code can result in citations and fines.
The Fire Code used by the City of Kerrville is part of a series of Codes that are designed to do two specific things: (1) to protect the lives of the people who enter, work, visit, or otherwise occupy a building, and (2) to ensure that all aspects of the construction of a building, fire protection systems and the operations or functions performed within a building are done in a fire safe manner.
Why does the city conduct Fire Inspections?
There are two general reasons why fire/safety inspections are conducted. (1) To ensure that any building in which the general public enters for business, entertainment, social, religious, or other purposes is maintained in a fire safe status. (2) Fire safety inspections provide the owner/occupant of the building an indication of fire/safety hazards so they may correct the hazards to reduce their liability and potential for loss due to a fire.
A Fire Inspector found a violation of the Fire Code in my building, what must I do?
If a violation is found that is a maintenance related problem, the Fire Inspector will provide a date (generally 30 days) to correct the violation. If the violation can be corrected during the inspection, it will be noted on the inspection form that the correction has already taken place.
If a violation is found that will require the alteration or installation of new equipment or safety features, the Fire Inspector will indicate this on the report, and provide a date to submit a written proposal to the Fire Marshal's Office that will include an anticipated date that you can make the necessary corrections. Each written request is evaluated on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of repair/installation that is needed. If the request is within a reasonable time limit, and a reasonable level of safety can be maintained, an extension to comply will generally be granted.
How long do I have to correct the fire code violations noted on an inspection?
Once a Fire Inspector notifies you of a fire code violation, they will notify you and issue an inspection report requiring the conditions are corrected immediately. A re-inspection will be scheduled to verify compliance based upon the schedule of the Fire Inspector. This is typically is 30 days.
If I fail to make corrections to a fire code violation, what happens?
Initially, the Fire Inspector will issue a Notice of Violation. The Notice will indicate a date that the violation must be corrected by. The Fire Marshal's Office will make every effort to work with the building owner/occupant to bring the building into compliance without having to take further legal action. However, if the building owner/occupant continues to resist efforts to correct a fire hazard, the owner/occupant is subject to receiving a citation.
The Fire Inspector told me that a re-inspection is necessary, why?
A re-inspection becomes necessary when a violation is found that cannot be corrected at the time of the inspection. The reason for the re-inspection is to produce the documentation showing the violation has been corrected, and that the building is then in compliance with all applicable codes and laws.
Can I schedule a Courtesy Inspection or Fire Code Consultation?
Yes. As a property or business owner, who may have fire safety concerns about your business. Contact our office at (830) 257-8449 and ask for a Courtesy Inspection. We will schedule a convenient time to stop by and address any concerns you may have.
Why am I being told I have to install a Fire Alarm System?
The requirements to install a fire alarm system are based on several factors that are found in current buildings (as well as buildings being built). These factors include the type of building classification, the number of people that can be in the building (based on maximum number of people), and size of the building.
A fire alarm system is considered a life safety system. It is designed to operate automatically when either a manual pull station is activated or when smoke is detected by a smoke detector. Upon activation, it will notify the building occupants by flashing lights and a loud sound to evacuate the building.
A fire alarm system is also one of the two most important fire protection systems that can be installed in a building to protect the contents, inventories, stock, merchandise, tools and equipment, and the lives of those people who work in the building and those who visit the building.
Why am I being told I have to install a Fire Sprinkler System?
The requirements to install a fire sprinkler system are based on several factors that are found in current buildings (as well as buildings being built). These factors include the type of building classification, size of the building, and the contents of the building.
A fire sprinkler system is considered a life safety system. It is designed to operate automatically when a certain amount of heat at the ceiling level activates a sprinkler head and causes water to flow. This water flow will either completely extinguish a fire or hold the fire from progressing further until the fire department can arrive. National Fire Protection Association statistics indicate that in almost all cases, only one or two sprinkler heads activate when a fire actually occurs.
A fire sprinkler system is also one of the two most important fire protection systems that can be installed in a building to protect the contents, inventories, stock, merchandise, tools and equipment, and the lives of those people who work or reside in the building and those who visit the building.
Contrary to the popular TV version of fire sprinklers, the activation of one sprinkler head does not cause all heads to go off and flood a building!
Is my building is "Grandfathered" from having to meet current codes?
This is a misconception or myth. There are no provisions in the International Fire Codes that allows a building to exist in an unsafe condition.
How is the occupant load for my building calculated?
The occupant load for a building is based on the number of people that can be in a specific area of a building. It uses the actual square foot of a room or area multiplied by a factor indicated in the Fire Code for that type of room use. The total occupant load for a building is calculated by adding all of the various room/area occupant loads together.
Certain types of rooms are exempt from calculation, such as a bathroom, because the bathroom would normally be occupied by someone from one of the other calculated rooms.
The occupant load indicator listed in the Fire Code is different for different types of room uses; for example, an area used for an office does not need as much room as a room where manufacturing equipment is used. The seating area of a church with fixed pews is different from the seating area of a restaurant.
I just started a business and moved into a new building, what do I have to do?
You must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy or a change in occupancy. In order to get this certificate, you must call the Fire Marshal's Office and schedule a Fire Inspection for a Certificate of Occupancy.
An inspection is required because buildings are built based on the contents or operations to be performed inside the building. When the occupancy changes, the Fire Inspector has to check to make sure the fire protection related constructions features of the building are consistent with the new occupancy and it contents and operations. You will be advised at the time if additional fire protection systems or fire resistive construction must be added based on your operations. If the building is found to meet the fire code for your occupancy requirements, the Certificate of Occupancy will be granted. If the building does not meet the specific Fire Code requirements, the Inspector will provide you with information on how to proceed from that point, and who to contact.
When do I need a permit?
The Fire Marshal's Office issues two different types of permits; Operational Permits and Construction Permits.
An Operational Permit allows the business to conduct a specific operation. (e.g. High-Piled Storage, Hazardous Materials)
A Construction Permit allows the applicant to install or modify a specific fire protection system, storage tank or other system outlined in the fire code. A comprehensive list of permits issued can be obtained by contacting our office.
How much does a permit cost?
Fees are currently assessed for the issuance of a permit according to the type of application. Contact the Fire Marshal’s Office for Permit Fees or obtain a copy from our web site.
How do I get a permit application?
You may contact the Fire Marshal's Office at (830) 257-8449 and request an application be emailed, mailed or faxed to you. You may also download an application from our website. See "Plan Submittal Guidelines
How do I schedule an inspection?
A comprehensive guide to scheduling an inspection is available on our website. See "Inspection Requests and Procedures
Where is Kerrville Fire Marshal's Office located?
We are located at 87 Coronado Drive in the Fire Administration Building. Traveling west on Junction Highway towards Ingram, turn right onto Coronado Drive. Our office is two building behind the Mini Mart Store on the right side.