The goal of the Beverly Hills Fire Department (BHFD) inspection program is to minimize risk of life and property loss from fire. This is accomplished by eliminating hazardous conditions in businesses.
According to NFPA in 2016, a fire was reported every 24 seconds nationally (a structure/commercial fire every 66 seconds and a home fire every 90 seconds) and claimed on average 9 lives every day. A small fire can grow to a large fire very quickly and if can’t be extinguished in a timely manner could not only destroy your business or residence, but also spread to surrounding buildings/structures.
For these reasons, the BHFD takes pride to educate businesses and residences on proper fire prevention practices and the importance of maintenance/service of fire protection equipment.
The BHFD conducts approximately 2,500 business inspections and approximately 1,500 brush inspections annually. The "Engine Company Fire Inspection Program” focuses on all multi-family dwellings, office, retail and brush inspections.
Larger and more complex occupancies such as, schools, theaters, large assemblies, high-rise buildings or other target hazards are inspected by the personnel from the Prevention Division. The Prevention Division is also responsible for all new construction fire protection system testing and acceptance.
Your annual fire department inspections, which are required by law, is one of the low-cost resources available to protect your property and the health and lives of your employees and those who visit your business or occupy your premise.
Please see below all the Q & A’s for any questions you may have on the program.
Q: What authority does the BHFD have to conduct Fire Inspections?
A: The Beverly Hills Fire Department enforces the California Fire Code. Sections 104.3 and 106.1 of the 2016 California Fire Code have been adopted by the City of Beverly Hills. These sections define the Fire Code Official’s inspection responsibilities.
Q: Why does the BHFD conduct Fire Inspections?
A: Fire inspections are conducted to identify and correct any potential fire and life safety violations. In doing so, the Fire Department plays a vital role in educating businesses and residents in proper fire prevention practices. This only adds to an excellent quality of life for all that visit and live in Beverly Hills. Additionally, Beverly Hills is one of only sixty cities in the country that enjoys a Class One rating from the Insurance Services Office, which helps to establish lower property insurance costs for the residents of Beverly Hills.
Q: What is a Fire Code?
A: The Fire Code is a model code adopted by the state or local jurisdiction and enforced by fire prevention officers within municipal fire departments. It is a set of rules prescribing minimum requirements to prevent fire and explosion hazards arising from storage, handling, or use of dangerous materials, or from other specific hazardous conditions. It complements the building code. The fire code is aimed primarily at preventing fires, ensuring that necessary training and equipment will be on hand, and that the original design basis of the building, including the basic plan set out by the architect, is not compromised. The fire code also addresses inspection and maintenance requirements of various fire protection equipment in order to maintain optimal active fire protection and passive fire protection measures.
Q: What Codes does the BHFD enforce?
A: The California Fire Code, California Building Code, and Beverly Hills Municipal Code.
Q: How often does the BHFD conduct a fire/safety inspection?
A: All businesses (retail and office), multi-family residences, and other occupancies as determined by the Fire Code Official, shall be inspected at least once in a two year period, but not more than once a year for state and local fire, life, and safety requirements by the Fire Code Official. Brush inspections in areas of the city located in very high fire hazard severity zones (generally, all areas north of Sunset Blvd.) are inspected annually. For Retail, Office, and Multi-family inspections an annual fee is assessed. For brush inspections, there is no fee unless a violation is noted.
Q: A Fire Inspector found a violation of the Fire Code in my building, what must I do?
A: If a violation is found during an inspection an Inspection Notice will be issued to record the type and location of the violation—if there is not a responsible party on site to receive the notice, it will be mailed to the property contact. Unless the violation poses an immediate fire, life, or safety violation, reasonable time will be granted to make the corrections—generally, fifteen (15) business days. If more time is needed, please contact the inspector.
Q: The Fire Inspector told me that a re-inspection is necessary, why?
A: A re-inspection is necessary to confirm the correction or abatement of any previous fire, life, or safety violations. (No penalty fee is assessed for a compliant re-inspection).
Q: If I fail to make corrections to a Fire Code violation, what happens?
A: If compliance has not been met after the period allotted in the Fire Department First Notice, a Second Notice will be issued. Concurrently a penalty fee will be assessed to you. A subsequent recheck will be made, and if the conditions in violation are still found, a Final Notice and Order will be issued and a penalty fee assessed to you. A subsequent recheck will be made, and if the conditions are still found, the matter will be turned over the City Attorney and an additional penalty fee will be assessed to you. Each additional recheck for compliance will bring a penalty fee. These rechecks may be made at five (5) day intervals. If you have been assessed a penalty fee for noncompliance, you will not have your violation notice signed off as corrected until proof of payment is made.
Q: I believe I saw a Fire Code violation at a business I visited, what can I do about it?
A: Please call the Fire Prevention Office at 310-281-2700 to register a complaint.
Q: Do I need a fire extinguisher at my business or multi-family residence?
A: Yes. All businesses and multi-family residences within the City of Beverly Hills are required to provide fire extinguisher(s). (California Fire Code 906.1)
Q: Can I place the fire extinguisher under a cash register, under a counter, or in a closet?
A: No. Fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located along normal paths of travel where they will be readily accessible and immediately available in the event of a fire (CCR Title 19, (567 a-k)).
Q: How many fire extinguishers do I need for my business or multi-family residence?
A: Contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 310-281-2703 and ask to speak with a Fire Inspector. This will depend on the type of hazard being protected, the maximum travel distance allowed to each extinguisher, and the square footage of the business or multi-family residence.
Q: Do I need a special fire extinguisher in my commercial kitchen?
A: Yes. Fire extinguishers with a Class K rating shall be provided for hazards where there is a potential for fires involving combustible cooking media (vegetable or animal fats) (CCR Title 19, (573 a-c))
Q: Do I need an annual service performed on my fire extinguishers?
A: Yes. Servicing which includes maintenance, recharging and hydrostatic testing shall be performed by concerns licensed by the California State Fire Marshal. ( CCR Title 19, (575))
Q: Does the Fire Department offer this service?
A: No. Fire extinguisher service shall only be performed by contractors licensed by the California State Fire Marshal. You may search online for “fire extinguisher servicing”, or look in the yellow pages. We do not endorse or recommend fire extinguisher servicing companies. Please be aware of fraudulent fire extinguisher servicing companies saying they were “sent by the Fire Department” to service the extinguishers. We would never send a company to service your fire extinguishers. A fire extinguisher company or a fire service company of any kind does not have enforcement powers nor the authority to demand work to be performed. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or threatened, call the Beverly Hills Police Department or 911. If you have further questions regarding fraudulent fire extinguisher or fire service companies, you may call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 310-281-2703.