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State Fire Marshalls Contact List - Free from EHSO

Pre-Inspection Worksheet

Inspections during Construction

Fire Prevention Personnel conduct progress inspections during the construction and remodeling phase of both new and existing buildings. We inspect fire sprinkler, fire alarm and fire protection systems, fire hydrants and associated piping, fire apparatus access, spray-booths, natural & lpg gas piping, exiting systems and other construction features to ensure compliance with current fire and life safety codes. Inspections are conducted from the beginning through completion of project to ensure all code requirements are met.

What the Fire Department Needs From You

Prior to opening a business in most cities and towns, you will need to supply the following to the Fire Department:

  • Name of the owner/occupant of the business.
  • The emergency key-holder list for the business.
  • Keys for the fire department key box.

Certificate of Occupancy/Inspections

The city/town Fire and Building Departments inspect exit lighting, emergency lighting, fire extinguisher placement, exit aisles, and proper operating fire suppression and fire alarm equipment, if any; prior to issuing permits of occupancy.

Your place of business will be inspected 1, 2, or 4 times a year depending on the type of business. Codes used by the Fire Department are:

  • N.F.P.A. Standards
  • 1996 BOCA Building
  • 1996 BOCA Fire Prevention
  • 1996 International Mechanical Code

Licensed Facilities Inspections

These facilities include convalescent homes, hospitals, pre-schools, same-day surgery centers, R.C.F.E. (residential care facilities for elderly) and L.F.D.C. (large family daycare-home child day care). The Department of Health Services or Community Care Licensing typically licenses these facilities. Fire Prevention personnel conduct fire & life safety inspection of these facilities annually and at request of the licensing entity. Persons interested in operating a business as listed above should contact the appropriate licensing bureau for information and approval. The licensing bureau will request the fire department to conduct an inspection for fire safety clearance.

Miscellaneous Inspections

The fire prevention bureau investigates complaints as related to locked or blocked exits, over-crowding, hazardous materials, weed abatement, illegal burning, improper use of recreational fires, use and sale of fireworks, party poppers and snap caps (illegal in San Diego County), illegal business operations, blocked fire lanes and other fire and life safety issues. Contact the Fire department if you have a concern regarding fire and life safety in the City of La Mesa.


1. Fire Extinguishers:
  • Each fire extinguisher must have a minimum rating of 2A:10BC. A. Extinguishers are required based on the type of hazard at your
    business. For more information on selecting a fire extinguisher,
    see the All about fire extinguisher selection.
  • A portable extinguisher must be available within 75 feet of travel to all portions of the building, unobstructed and clearly visible.
  • The date of the last extinguisher service must be within the last 12 months. Once a year your extinguishers must be serviced by a certified fire extinguisher company. Check in the yellow pages for a company near you. EHSO can also arrange this for you.
  • According to NFPA 10 (which governs fire extinguishers) a 2A:20BC extinguisher must be within 75 feet of travel distance from any area (50 feet if there are flammable liquids present in the occupancy).

2. Exits:
  • The exit door(s), corridor and stair(s) are clear and unobstructed.
  • The exit door(s) open with-out locks or bolts.
  • Exit doors may not be locked from the inside during business hours
3. Combustible Materials:
4. Address Numbers:
  • Numbers that indicate the building address must be clearly visible from the street side of the building.
5. Electrical:
  • Wall outlets and switches have cover plates and are not overloaded.
  • Cords and cables are in good condition.
  • Extension cords are U.L. listed outlet bar type (surge protector style).
6. Trash Dumpsters:
  • The dumpster is at least 5 feet from any building window or opening, or has a sprinkler head above it.
7. Fire Alarm (as applicable):
  • The fire alarm system is in work- ing condition; it has been serviced and tested by a state licensed fire alarm contractor within the past 12 months (keep a copy of the report on file).
8. Fire Sprinkler/Standpipe Systems:
  • A test of the system has been con- ducted by a state licensed fire suppression contractor within the past 5 years.
  • There is at least 18 inches clearance below the fire sprinkler heads.
  • The system is maintained in working condition.

As a Reminder..

When you have your fire extinguishers serviced, or have a contractor work or test your fire alarm or fire sprinkler system, check for the following:

  • Ask to see a current city (or county if not in a city) business license.
  • Ask to see a state certification license if the state requires it(fire extinguisher contractors are sometimes required to carry a State Fire Marshal picture license).
  • Ask to see documentation of insurance (sometimes required, for example in the State of California.)

Do Not Allow Any Company To Exchange Your Extinguishers Or To Take Your Original And Leave You Without An Extinguisher On The Premises!

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call your local Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division.

In Addition ...

Many Fire Departments and fire safety companies offer these other fire safety programs:

Office Fire Safety -

Review fire safety items with your employees.

Fire Extinguisher Training -

Provide hands-on fire extinguisher training for your employees.

Emergency Evacuation Planning -

Review or help establish an evacuation plan for your business.

Fire Station Tours -

See how Firefighters live and work in the Fire Station. (Please phone ahead to make arrangements)

CPR Training

Provides American Red Cross CPR & First Aid training for your employees. Classes are scheduled once a month for a nominal fee.


Community Emergency Response Team Training on disaster recovery.

Classification of Fire Extinguishers

There are four general classifications of fires and extinguishing agents:

Class A

Class A fires are those that involve ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber and plastics. The quenching and cooling effects of water or of solutions containing large amounts of water are the most effective means of extinguishing this type of fire.

Class B

Class B fires are those that occur in the vapor-air mixture over the surface of flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, paints and thinners. The limiting of air (oxygen) or the combustion inhibiting effect is the most effective measure against incipient fires of this class. Water must not be used on Class B fires because it tends to spread the fire.

Class C

Class C fires are those that occur in or near energized electrical equipment where non-conducting extinguishing agents must be used. Water must never be used on Class C fires.

Class D

Class D fires are those that involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium and sodium. Water must never be used on class D fires. A Class D powdered extinguishing agent should be used.

Appendix 1-Fire Extinguisher Size and Placement for Class A Hazards

Light(Low)Hazard Occupancy Ordinary(Moderate)Hazard Occupancy Extra(High)Hazard Occupancy
Minimum rated single extinguisher 2-A 2-A 4-A*
Maximum floor area per unit of A 3,000 sq ft** 1,500 sq ft. 1,000 sq ft.
Maximum floor area for extinguisher 11,250 sq ft** 11,250 sq ft** 11,250 sq ft**
Maximum travel distance to extinguisher 75 ft. 75 ft. 75 ft.

* Two 2 1/2 gallon (9.46 L) water type extinguishers can be used to fulfill the requirements of one 4-A rated extinguisher.

** See pamphlet 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers, National Fire Protection Association, 1981 Edition.

Appendix 2-Fire Extinguisher Size and Placement for Class B Fires Other than for Fires in Flammable Liquids of Appreciable Depth

Type of Hazard (m 2 ) Basic Minimum Extinguisher Rating Maximum Travel Distance to Extinguishers (ft.)
Light (Low)
  • 9.15
5B 30
  • 15.25
10B 50
Ordinary (Moderate)
  • 9.15
10B 30
  • 15.25
20B 50
Extra (High)
  • 9.15
40B 30
  • 15.25
80B 50

Appendix 3-Fire Extinguisher Size and Placement for Class C Hazards

Extinguishers with Class C rating shall be required where energized electrical equipment may be encountered which would require a non-conducting extinguishing medium. This will include fire either directly involving or surrounding electrical equipment. Since the fire itself is a Class A or Class B hazard, the extinguishers are sized and located on the basis of the anticipated Class A or B hazard.

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