Fire Inspections: Frequently Asked Questions
When did these inspections start?
The North Carolina Legislature mandated every structure, other than one and two family dwellings, be inspected for fire code violations on a structured time line. This was in response to a tragic factory fire in Hamlet, NC that killed 25 workers in 1991. All local jurisdictions were mandated by law to adopt the fire inspection schedule.
No one asked for this fire inspection, why did you make one?
The State of North Carolina requires inspections on a certain frequency based on the type of occupancy and mandates that the fire inspector have access during normal business hours. Some inspections are mandated due to North Carolina occupational licensing requirements, such as a day care license or ABC permit.
How often will I be inspected?
You will be inspected based on the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code schedule or as deemed necessary by the Town’s Fire Marshal’s Office based on risk assessments or complaints.
Who will be making the fire inspection at my business?
Uniformed firefighters with specialized training as Certified Fire Inspectors in the State of North Carolina will conduct the fire inspections. Inspectors have expertise in preventing fires, enforcing the codes, and know first-hand how fires endanger lives and property. Inspectors may ask other specialists, such as Building or Electrical Inspectors, to assist them on some technical matters.
At times, a team of firefighters may visit your business to perform an inspection. As part of their routine duties, some firefighters perform fire inspections. If a team is together on a fire truck, they must stay together and be near their fire truck to respond to emergencies.
Can the inspector make the inspection and subsequent re-inspection when we are not so busy?
We can rearrange the inspection visit to suit your best time, when possible. Just let the Fire Inspector know that it is inconvenient at that time and we can try to establish another time that is better for your business.
If I don’t own the building why should I have to fix anything?
State law requires the use of the building to be inspected; therefore, you may have a lease that makes the building owner or tenant responsible for certain items. This matter is left up to you and the owner.
I need more time to get things fixed. Can you change the re-inspection date?
We try to give all businesses the same re-inspection time (a couple of weeks) depending on the violation. We realize some things cannot be done in that time frame. Contact your inspector to discuss a different compliance date if you need more time. Reasonable efforts at compliance will justify a new re-inspection date.
What happens if I do not fix my fire code violations?
First, we will determine if you just didn’t understand what was required and try to help you, help yourself. We prefer to work with you so that punitive actions are not needed. However, since fire code violations endanger you, your business and the public, State law provides for both civil monetary penalties and possible criminal charges when violations are left uncorrected. Below is a list of the fines for unresolved violations:
General Fire Code Violations $100
Additional Violation of Same Code $50
Life Safety Violations $500 per violation
For more questions or information, call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 704-664-1338.