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FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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CodeEnforcement
1. What’s the requirement for address display at my home?
2. What’s the requirement for address display at my business?
3. Can I use a BBQ grill on the balcony of my condominium or apartment?
4. Can I burn trash, leaves or debris on my property?
5. Are outdoor fireplaces and similar devices allowed?
6. Are small campfires and bonfire allowed?
7. Permit status: What is the status of my permit that is currently under review?
8. I need to apply for a building or fire protection system permit, what is the procedure?
9. My neighbor has junk, debris and other items stored on his property which I think create a fire hazard. What can be done to remedy this condition?
10. What size fire extinguisher do I need for my business and where should it be placed?
11. Can I purchase and use fireworks in Anne Arundel County?
12. Where are smoke detectors (smoke alarms) required in my home?
13. How can I obtain a copy of the fire codes currently being enforced?
14. My fire extinguisher at home is probably 15 years old and needless to say has never been tested. Should I assume that it has probably outlived its usefulness and if so, how can I dispose of it?
15. How often does the fire extinguisher in my business need to be inspected and maintained?
16. What is required prior to moving my business to a new location?
17. What does the new smoke alarm law require?
18. When did the new law go into effect?
19. Who does it apply to?
20. When does a residence need to comply with the new law?
21. Is it a requirement to immediately install the new type battery powered smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature to comply with the new law?
22. When is the new type type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature allowed to be used?
23. If existing battery smoke alarms are operational, are they required to be replaced with the new type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature?
24. Do electric smoke alarms need to be replaced with the new battery operated type.
25. If electric smoke alarms are replaced with a new electric smoke alarm, does it need a long life battery backup?
26. If a residence is rented, who is responsible for compliance with the law?
27. Where smoke alarms were required to be installed in a residence?


Questions
Q: What’s the requirement for address display at my home?
A: Numbers or letters must be at least 3 inches high and displayed on your house or on the property, on a contrasting background so that they are clearly visible from the street named in your address. This requirement is NOT satisfied by the address displayed on your mailbox. Please trim any trees or shrubs that would prevent the Fire Department from seeing your address from the road.

If you live in an apartment or condominium, unit numbers or letters at least 3 inches high must be displayed on your door.
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Q: What’s the requirement for address display at my business?
A: Numbers or letters must be at least 6 inches high and displayed on the building or on the property, on a contrasting background so that they are clearly visible from the street named in your address.
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Q: Can I use a BBQ grill on the balcony of my condominium or apartment?
A: You CANNOT use a charcoal or gas grill on a balcony, deck or any area within 15 feet of a condominium or apartment building that has 3 or more living units. No hibachi, gas fired grill, charcoal grill or similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose shall be stored on a balcony.

You CAN use an electric grill or similar appliance provided no open flame is produced.

If you live in a single-family dwelling, duplex or townhouse, no law restricts your use but it is recommended that you adhere to the above provisions for your safety and the safety of your neighbors.
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Q: Can I burn trash, leaves or debris on my property?
A: As general rule, NO unless a permit is first obtained from the Anne Arundel County Health Department.

Regulations pertaining to open burning are found in the Anne Arundel County Code, Article 11, Title 5. Please contact the Anne Arundel County Health Department at 410-222-7250 for questions pertaining to regulations and permit requirements for open fires. To download a permit application, visit the Department of Health Web site at www.aahealth.org and look under Enviromental Health/Licenses and Permits.

Notice of violation and cure: A person who starts, causes, allows, or facilitates a fire without a license issued by the Health Department or otherwise in violation of this subtitle shall promptly extinguish the fire on notice from the Health Department, Fire Department, or Police Department. Anne Aurndel County Code, Article 11, Title 5, section 104 ( § 11-5-104)
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Q: Are outdoor fireplaces and similar devices allowed?
A: The Anne Arundel County Health Department enforces the use of these devices. Generally, these devices are allowed provided they do not emit smoke or odors beyond your property line is such a manner as to create a nuisance or air pollution. Additional questions pertaining to this should be directed to the Anne Arundel County Health Department at (410) 222-7250.
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Q: Are small campfires and bonfire allowed?
A: Open fires with a volume of less than one cubic yard are permitted for recreational purposes, such as campfires and bonfires provided they do not emit smoke or odors beyond your property line is such a manner as to create a nuisance or air pollution. Additional questions pertaining to this should be directed to the Anne Arundel County Health Department at (410) 222-7250.
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Q: Permit status: What is the status of my permit that is currently under review?
A: The Fire Marshal Division does not review permits. Permit applications are reviewed by the Department of Inspections and Permits. Please call (410) 222-7715 or check permit status under Inspections, Permit status on the Inspections and Permits web site.
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Q: I need to apply for a building or fire protection system permit, what is the procedure?
A: The Fire Marshal Division does not review or issue permits. The Department of Inspections and Permits accepts applications for permits and conducts plan reviews as necessary for issuance of permits. Questions regarding permit application procedures or permit status should be directed to the Department of Inspections and Permits. The Fire Marshal Division conducts inspections for commercial permits after issuance upon request by the applicant. Requests for Fire Marshal inspections must be made by calling the Fire Marshal Division directly at (410) 222-7884. If after normal business hours, please leave a message stating the type of inspection needed and the address of the inspection.
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Q: My neighbor has junk, debris and other items stored on his property which I think create a fire hazard. What can be done to remedy this condition?
A: Fire codes and regulations do not apply to properties of single-family homes, duplex homes, and town homes or to the interior living unit of a residence. Such conditions may however be a zoning or health issue. As such, the Anne Arundel County Department of Planning and Zoning, Zoning Enforcement Office ( 410-222-7446) or the Anne Arundel County Health Department, Environmental Health (410-222-7364) may be able to assist.
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Q: What size fire extinguisher do I need for my business and where should it be placed?
A: For the normal office or retail occupancy, multipurpose fire extinguishers with a 2A; 10BC rating and classification are usually adequate. Fire extinguishers must be located such that one can be reached without walking more that 75 feet and must be conspicuously located and be immediately available. Unless they weigh more than 40 pounds, they must be placed so that the top of the extinguisher is not more than 5 feet off of the floor and the bottom is at least 4 inches off the floor.
Fire extinguishers are classified by a number that indicates the extinguishing effectiveness and a letter that indicates the type or class of fire on which a fire extinguisher has been found to be effective. The size, type and location of fire extinguishers needed for your business depends upon the occupancy type, the type of fires expected and the hazards to be protected. If specific hazards are to be protected, the type, size and location of the fire extinguisher may be different.
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Q: Can I purchase and use fireworks in Anne Arundel County?
A: It is illegal to posses or discharge fireworks in Anne Arundel County without a permit issued by the State Fire Marshal. The following items are not defined as "Fireworks" and are permitted for purchase and use:

·toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns, or other devices that use paper caps that contain 0.25 grains or less of explosive composition if the devices are constructed so that a hand cannot touch the cap when the cap is in place for use;

·toy pistol paper caps that contain less than 0.20 grains of explosive composition;

·sparklers that do not contain chlorates or perchlorates;

·ground-based sparkling devices that are nonaerial and nonexplosive, and are labeled in accordance with the requirements of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission;

·paper wrapped snappers that contain less than 0.03 grains of explosive composition; or

·ash-producing pellets known as "snakes" that do not contain mercury and are not regulated by the U. S. Department of Transportation.

[An. Code 1957, art. 38A, § 19(c); 2003, ch. 5, § 2.]
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Q: Where are smoke detectors (smoke alarms) required in my home?
A: The location and type of smoke detector required depends upon when your home was built. The following are the minimum requirements but you are encouraged to place additional detectors within your home.

Homes built prior to July 1, 1975 must have a smoke detector in each sleeping area. Sleeping area means the area outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. The smoke detector can be a battery type or electric.

Homes built July 1975 thru December 31, 1988 must have an electric smoke detector in each sleeping area. Sleeping area means the area outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.

Homes built on or after January 1, 1989 and prior to July 1, 1990 must have electric smoke detectors on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates. Detectors must be placed in each sleeping area. on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates. Detectors must be placed in each sleeping area. Sleeping area means the area outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.

Homes built on or after July 1, 1990 must have electric smoke detectors with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates. Detectors must be placed in each sleeping area. Sleeping area means the area outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.
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Q: How can I obtain a copy of the fire codes currently being enforced?
A: Most of the codes and standards referenced by the State and County Fire Prevention Code are National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards. You can come to the Fire Marshal Division office to view NFPA codes and standards but are not permitted to remove them from the office or make copies. You may purchase copies of the NFPA Codes and Standards through the Internet (www.nfpa.org) or by calling 1-800-344-3555.

You can link to the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code (www.firesmarshal.state.md.us) and the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code (see Article 18, Title 2). The State and County Fire Prevention Codes amend NFPA codes and standards and have other requirements not found in NFPA codes and standards.


     Click Here For More Information
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Q: My fire extinguisher at home is probably 15 years old and needless to say has never been tested. Should I assume that it has probably outlived its usefulness and if so, how can I dispose of it?
A: Fire extinguishers that cannot be recharged (which many of the small home owner types are) should be disposed of after 12 years or sooner, if external inspection of the extinguisher shows signs of wear, damage or inadequate pressure reading or fullness by weighing or lifting. Regarding disposal, the County landfill will not accept them at any time. It is recommended that one look in the yellow pages under Fire Extinguisher Sales and Service. Some may accept them for drop off, but might charge a fee. If it is of the rechargeable type and you desire to continue using it instead of obtaining a new one, it should be inspected and serviced by qualified personnel who will determine if it is suitable for continued use.
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Q: How often does the fire extinguisher in my business need to be inspected and maintained?
A: Fire extinguishers shall be inspected at a minimum on a monthly basis or on a more frequent basis if conditions warrant. Fire extinguishers shall be subject to maintenance at intervals not exceeding 1 year. Yearly maintenance must be performed by trained personnel who have obtained a permit from the State Fire Marshals’ Office to service or repair portable fire extinguishers. A tag or label must be attached to the extinguisher that indicates the month and year the maintenance was performed and by whom. Please refer to NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers for additional information.
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Q: What is required prior to moving my business to a new location?
A: A building permit is required prior to occupancy if a new business plans to move into an existing building or tenant space and the occupancy will result in a change in the use or occupancy classification from the prior tenant, regardless if any construction work takes place. This is to ensure that the building has been designed, constructed and approved for compliance with applicable building and fire codes for the new occupancy. After the building permit is obtained, the Fire Marshal and Building Inspector must inspect the building or space in accordance with the permit and issue approval for occupancy. Occupancy is not allowed without approval by the fire and building official. For questions, contact the Fire Marshal at 410-222-7884.

It is suggested that prospective business owners or tenants consult with a design professional to evaluate a building or space for its intended use prior to purchase or lease and to also assist with the building permit application. Questions regarding application procedures for a building permit for a change of use or occupancy should be directed to the Department of Inspections and Permits, Permit Application Center. They can be reached at 410-222-7730. Prior to initiating this process, the property must have the proper zoning for the use.

ZONING CERTIFICATE OF USE: All businesses in Anne Arundel County need a Zoning Certificate of Use, regardless if a change in use or occupancy occurs. This certifies that the property meets all zoning requirements. It authorizes use of the property only - not the building. It is not a Building Certificate of Occupancy and does not mean that the building or space is in compliance with applicable building or fire codes. It does not relive the user of the responsibility for obtaining the approvals of other applicable state and county agencies. Questions regarding zoning certificates of use should be directed to the Zoning Enforcement Division at 410-222-7446.
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Q: What does the new smoke alarm law require?
A: The new smoke alarm law requires that smoke alarm placement by January 1, 2018 be on all levels of the residence, including basements but excluding unoccupied attics, garages and crawl spaces. Homes built prior to 1/1/1989 only required smoke alarms outside of sleeping areas, not necessarily on all levels.

If battery powered smoke alarms are installed or replaced they must be the sealed battery type, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and have a silence/hush feature or be electric with battery backup.

Smoke alarms that are battery powered are not required but are an option in areas that do not require electric.

If smoke alarms are added in areas that did not previously require them, they can be battery or electric powered. They do not need to be interconnected.

Compliance with these provisions is required prior to January 1, 2018 if the following applies:

• Existing smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.

• The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.

• There is a change in tenants.

• A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation to the residence.
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Q: When did the new law go into effect?
A: July 1, 2013
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Q: Who does it apply to?
A: It applies to all residential occupancies which include single family detached homes, townhomes, apartments and condominiums, motels-hotels and rooming houses.
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Q: When does a residence need to comply with the new law?
A: By January 1, 2018 unless the following occurs:

• The smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.

• The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.

• There is a change in tenants.

• A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation.
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Q: Is it a requirement to immediately install the new type battery powered smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature to comply with the new law?
A: No one is required to install battery powered smoke alarms. Electric powered smoke alarms with battery backup can also be installed instead of battery powered.

An existing smoke alarm must be replaced if the following applies:

• The smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.

• The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.

• There is a change in tenants.

• A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation.
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Q: When is the new type type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature allowed to be used?
A: In locations that were not previously required to have smoke alarms or to replace existing battery powered smoke alarms where electric powered are not required. It is permitted but not required to use electric power smoke alarms instead of the battery type where only battery smoke alarms are required.
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Q: If existing battery smoke alarms are operational, are they required to be replaced with the new type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature?
A: If the smoke alarm is greater than 10 years old from date of manufacture, it needs to be replaced with the new type battery operated smoke alarm that is sealed, tamper resistant, uses long life batteries and has a silence/hush feature or with an electric powered smoke alarm with battery backup. You always have the option of using an electric smoke alarm with battery backup.
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Q: Do electric smoke alarms need to be replaced with the new battery operated type.
A: No, electric smoke alarms required to replace them with another electric smoke alarm with battery backup. A battery operated smoke alarm cannot be used. Smoke alarms needs to be replaced if they are not operable or they exceed 10 years from date of manufacture.
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Q: If electric smoke alarms are replaced with a new electric smoke alarm, does it need a long life battery backup?
A: No, the electric smoke alarm can have a normal battery backup.
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Q: If a residence is rented, who is responsible for compliance with the law?
A: The landlord or property owner is responsible for installation, repair, maintenance and replacement. The occupant is responsible for testing. The tenant must notify the landlord in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested or by hand delivery. The landlord must provide written notification of receipt and repair or replace within 5 days.
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Q: Where smoke alarms were required to be installed in a residence?
A: The requirement for smoke alarms depends upon when the home was permitted for construction.








Smoke alarm installation by date of construction

Homes built prior to July 1, 1975
At one smoke alarm outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. The smoke alarm can be a battery type or electric.


Homes built July 1, 1975 thru December 31, 1988
At least one electric smoke alarm outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.

Homes built on or after January 1, 1989 and prior to July 1, 1990
At least one electric smoke alarm on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarms must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.

Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.

Homes built on or after July 1, 1990
At least one electric smoke alarm with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarms must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.

Homes built on or after October 23, 2003 (per AACo. Building Code)
At least one electric smoke alarm with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Smoke alarm must be placed inside of bedrooms and also outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. Smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one activates, the other smoke alarm also activates.


The new smoke alarm law requires on all levels, including basements but excluding unoccupied attics, garages and crawl spaces by January 2018 for all residences, regardless if when it was constructed.

Compliance with these provisions prior to January 1, 2018 is mandated if the following applies:

• Existing smoke alarm exceeds 10 years from date of manufacture.

• The smoke alarm fails to respond to tests or fails to operate.

• There is a change in tenants.

• A building permit is issued for an addition or alternation to the residence.
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