Codes & Regulations
The following Codes and Regulations are enforced by the Fire Marshal:
- Address Display Law
Anne Arundel County Code
Article 12, Title 5. Miscellaneous Provision
§ 5-101. Display of address.
(a) The owner of any improved property shall post on or about the property numbers or letters designating the address assigned to the property.
(b) The numbers or letters shall be in plain block style, at least three inches high displayed on a contrasting background, and posted so as to be unobstructed and clearly legible from the street named in the address of the property.
(c) In addition to the requirement of subsection (b) of this section:
(1) for a multifamily structure:
(i) the address shall be affixed to the structure in numbers or letters at least six inches high so as to clearly legible from entrances to parking areas; and
(ii) the designation of each dwelling unit shall be affixed to the exterior door of the unit in plain block numbers or letters at least three inches high;
(2) for a mobile home park, the designation of each lot shall be posted in numbers or letters at least three inches high in a conspicuous space on or about the lot so as to be clearly legible from the interior street on which the lot is located; and
(3) for commercial property, the address shall be displayed in numbers or letters at least six inches high.
(d) The Anne Arundel County Fire Department shall enforce the provisions of this section.
(e) An authorized representative of the County Fire Department, Police Department, Health Department, Department of Inspection and Permits, Department of Public Works, Department of Utilities, or Office of Planning and Zoning may cite an owner for a violation of the provisions of this section.
(f) A person who violates the provisions of this section is subject to a civil fine as provided in Article 9, Title 2-101 of this Code.
- Fire Department Building Sprinkler/Standpipe Connections
Fire Department connections to building sprinkler and standpipe systems shall be located in accordance with NFPA 13 and/or NFPA 14, on the main entrance side of the building, unless an alternative location is approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
Fire Department connections shall be located within 100 feet of a paved surface accessible to Fire Department apparatus and within 100 feet of a fire hydrant.
Connections for pier standpipes shall be located on the shoreline at the beginning of the pier within 100 feet of an approved fire lane or fire apparatus road.
Reference: NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code, 13.1.13, 2006 edition as amended, AACo. Fire Prevention Code
Connections shall be identified in accordance with NFPA 170, Standard for Fire Safety Symbols and be readily visible by approaching fire apparatus. NFPA 170 Symbols for Use by the Fire Service shall be on minimum 12 inch square signs unless otherwise approved. See example to the right - sign for fire department sprinkler/standpipe connection. NFPA 1 - 10.12.4.1, as amended.
FD Connection Sign
- Fire Department Access Roads/Fire LanesGeneral Guidelines for Fire Department Access RoadsThe AHJ (Fire Marshal Division) shall have the authority to designate public or private fire lanes and fire department access roads as considered necessary. NFPA 1: 18.2.3.Fire department access roads shall be provided such that any portion of the facility or any portion of an exterior wall of the first story of the building is located not more than 150 feet from fire department access roads as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building or facility. (Radial measurements are not permitted.) NFPA 1: 126.96.36.199.2When measured from either end this measurement effectively allows 300' of most structures to not have formal fire department access.Fire Department ConnectionsFire department connections shall be located within 100 feet of a paved surface accessible to fire department apparatus. NFPA 1: 13.1.13 as amendedFire Department Access Roads - Specifications -NFPA 1: 188.8.131.52, as amended
Surface Shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be provided with an all-weather driving surface. Width 20' (minimum) Setback 10' from outermost projection of structure Clear Height 14' Design Load 35 tons (minimum) Turning radii 38' inside, 47' outside Grade a. 15% concrete surfaces b. 12% asphalt surfaces c. 5% unpaved surfaces Cross Grade 5%Marking of Fire Department Access RoadsPaved SurfacesUnpaved surfaces
Dead End Distances
- A 20' wide entrance shall be provided and marked. The entire length of the unpaved fire lane shall be permanently outlined with reflective markers or by other approved methods at maximum 50' intervals. The terminus of non-continuous fire lanes shall have markers placed across the lane.
- Curb-Cuts - Extend at least 2 ft. beyond each edge of the fire lane
- The Fire Marshal Division shall be notified prior to cover. A geotechnical report may be required to verify that the access road has been installed in accordance with applicable specifications.
- Dead-end fire department fire lanes/access roads in excess of 150 feet in length shall be provided with approved provisions for the turning around of fire apparatus. NFPA 1, 184.108.40.206.4.
- Approved signs shall be provided and maintained to identify fire department access roads or to prohibit the obstruction thereof or both. Signs shall be provided at the ends of fire lanes with additional signs provided as needed not to exceed 100 feet spacing. Signs shall be in accordance with Anne Arundel County Fire Department standard detail for fire lane signs. NFPA 1: 220.127.116.11.1.
- Fire Sprinkler Contractor License Requirement
- Use of Grills and Similar Open Flame Heating DevicesFor other than one- and two-family dwellings, no hibachi, gas fired grill, charcoal grill or similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose that produce open flame, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under an overhanging portion or within 15 feet of any structure. 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 or store an electric grill or similar appliance provided no open flame is produced.If you live in a single-family dwelling, duplex or townhouse, the fire code does not regulate use but it is recommended that you adhere to the above provisions for your safety and the safety of your neighbors.Reference: NFPA 1 - Uniform Fire Code, 10.11.7, 2012 edition, as amended, State Fire Prevention Code and 2006 edition, AACounty Fire Prevention Code.
- Ground Based Sparkling Deviceshttp://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=29.06.07.*
- Fire Hydrant SpacingResidential areas (lots 20,000 sq. ft. and larger)
Residential areas (lots less than 20,000 sq. ft.)
- Hydrants maximum of 1,000 feet apart as measured along an improved road and shall be within 500 feet of the center of any improved or recorded lot
Residential areas (townhouse or garden apartments - 3 story or less)
- Hydrants maximum of 750 feet apart as measured along an improved road and a hydrant shall be within 500 feet of the center of any improved or recorded lot
All other uses of property including commercial and industrial as listed in the Anne Arundel County Zoning regulations, including high rise or elevator type apartments
- Hydrants maximum of 500 feet apart as measured along an improved roadway and a hydrant shall be within 300 feet of any dwelling
Hydrants shall be located at street intersections whenever possible.
- Hydrants shall be a maximum of 300 feet apart as measured along an improved roadway.
- No portion of the exterior perimeter of any new building or any new addition to an existing building shall be more than 300 feet from a fire hydrant as measured along an approved route. Radial measurements are not acceptable. When any portion of the exterior building perimeter is in excess of 300 feet from a public hydrant, on-site fire mains capable of supplying the required fire flow shall be provided and a sufficient number of hydrants shall be provided such that no portion of the exterior perimeter of the building is more than 300 feet from a hydrant.
Reference: Fire Marshal Division Policy and Procedure H-8, NFPA 1: 18.104.22.168 as amended AACo. Code.
- Hydrants not located at intersections shall be located in relation to property lines in order to avoid interference with future driveways
- Hydrants shall be located to provide vehicular clearance from the street
- Hydrant spacing is to be measured linearly along an improved roadway or fire lane; radial measurements are not appropriate
- Hydrants shall be located within 8 feet of the finished curbing on the end of the pave surface
- Hydrants shall be located not less than 40 feet from buildings. (NFPA 24, 7.2.3, 2002 edition)
- Installation/Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm System Inspection, Testing and MaintenanceFire alarm systems and their components shall be inspected, maintained and tested in accordance with NFPA 72 as adopted and or modified by the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code and the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual testing depending upon the type of system installed. The frequency of maintenance and cleaning may depend on the type of equipment and local ambient conditions.The owner or the owner's representative is responsible for inspection, testing and maintenance of the system. Inspection, testing and maintenance shall be permitted to be done by a person or organization other than the owner if conducted under a written contract.Service personnel shall be qualified and experienced in testing, inspection and maintenance of fire alarm systems.Records shall be maintained until the next test and for one year thereafter.False Alarms/Fire Alarm System MalfunctionsFire protection systems, devices, units and service equipment that result in frequent and unnecessary Fire Department responses due to false alarms and/or system malfunctions shall be deemed not to be in an operative condition and as such shall be in violation of this code and subject to the penalties of this article.Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code, Article 15, Title 3-103.
- No installation of any kind, including pulling wire or installation of devices is allowed without an approved fire alarm system permit from the Permit Center and plans or site.
- Approved plans with a submittal book must be present for the inspector.
- Installation in accordance with approved plans and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code as adopted and or modified by the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code and the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code. Deviations from approved plans require that revised plans be submitted to the Permit Center. Deviations without approved plans require approval of the Fire Marshal.
- The fire alarm system permit should be applied for as early in the construction process as possible. Two permits are given for a fire alarm installation. One is a devices permit - for low voltage wiring and device installation and is inspected by the electrical inspector and is required prior to the Fire Marshal Inspection. The other is a system permit - this is inspected by the Fire Marshal.
- An inspection of all wiring and appliances (devices permit) must be completed by the County Electrical Inspector prior to scheduling the Fire Marshal inspection. That inspector should leave a sticker indicating that the inspection has passed.
- A Record of Completion form must be presented to the Fire Marshal at the time of the inspection. This can be found in NFPA 72, Chapter 1.
- All equipment must match approved plans/equipment lists. A check of model numbers and manufacturer of equipment will be conducted.
- The location of all devices must match approved plans. Deviations without revised plans must be approved by the Fire Marshal.
- Sound levels must be loud enough. Decibel levels must be checked prior to the Fire Marshal inspection with a sound meter to ensure all areas of the building have the required decibel level per NFPA 72, the National Fire Alarm Code. The Fire Marshal will inspect for proper sound level.
- HVAC duct detection: Access panels must be provided to enable one to reach into the duct in order to spray can smoke into sampling tubes for testing to verify smoke transfer through sampling tubes to detector.
- HVAC Duct detection, supply or return? Installation must be in accordance with NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air Conditioning and Ventilating Systems. Duct detectors, if required by NFPA 90A, must always be installed on the supply side. They must also be installed on the return side if system capacity is greater than 15000 CFM and serving more than one story.
- HVAC duct detection activation shall initiate a supervisory condition - not an alarm condition.
- HVAC duct detection: the location of duct detectors shall be marked on ceiling grid or posted diagram if not above the ceiling. Provide a posted diagram at the main electrical panel indicating the location of HVAC units.
- HVAC: Means must be provided to manually stop the operation of supply, return and exhaust fans in an emergency. The shutdown device should be conspicuous and be located near the main entry into the space or at another location if approved by the Fire Marshal.
- At least two personnel should be on site for the inspection with the ability to communicate between one another to verify signals received during testing if the FACP and devices are not in close proximity.
- The phone number and ability to contact the off-site monitoring company to confirm proper receipt of signals off site.
- Installation/Maintenance of Sprinkler Systems
Installations of SprinklersSprinkler systems must be installed in accordance with approved plans and applicable NFPA Codes and Standards as adopted and or modified by the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code and the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code and manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- A permit is required from the Permit Center prior to the installation or alteration of a sprinkler system or sprinklers
Maintenance of Sprinkler SystemsSprinkler systems are required to be maintained, periodically inspected and tested in accordance with NFPA 25, Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems as adopted and or modified by the Maryland State Fire Prevention Code and the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Code and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. This standard requires testing and or inspection on a weekly, monthly or annual basis as applicable by personnel who are competent through training and experience.Inspection, testing and maintenance shall be performed by personnel who have developed competence through training and experience. Corrections or repairs shall be performed by qualified personnel. The owner is responsible for ensuring that proper maintenance of a fire protection system is performed. Where the owner is not the occupant, the owner is permitted to pass on the authority for inspecting, testing and maintaining the fire protection systems to the occupant, management fire or managing individual through specific provision in the lease, written use agreement or management contract. See also - Fire Sprinkler Contracting Licensing .The Fire Department is required to be notified before testing or shutting down a system or its supply and also upon its return to service.Records of inspections, tests and maintenance shall be retained by the owner. Original records must be maintained for the life of the system and subsequent records shall be retained for a period of 1 year after the next inspection, test or maintenance required.
- No inspections will take place on a sprinkler system unless all piping is exposed. Using ladders to look up over ceiling tiles is not acceptable unless prior approval is obtained from the Fire Marshal.
- Approved plans must be on site for the inspection
- Piping shall not be painted until the system is inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal
- Contractor's Material and Test Certificate for above ground piping required
- Hydrostatic test required for greater than twenty (20) sprinklers installed
- Listed gauges must be used for the hydrostatic test
- Visual inspection required for any number of sprinklers installed
- The installation must match approved plans to include manufacturer/model/temperature of sprinkler, and piping size, type and plan layout. If not, the plans need to be revised. Deviations from approved plans require that revised plans be submitted to the Permit Center. Deviations without approved plans require approval of the Fire Marshal.
- Instant Sprinkler Permit Used? If so, a final inspection certification form must be prepared and be available to the Fire Marshal upon arrival at the time of inspection. An inspection will not be conducted without this form.
- All piping must be marked along its length as to manufacturer/type
- All control valves must have signs identifying its function
- Painted sprinklers must be replaced
- Doors to rooms containing sprinkler equipment/control valves must be marked.
- Hydraulic data plate must be displayed in the riser room
- Stock of spare sprinklers in box with wrench in riser room
- Any loss of pressure or visible leaks is cause for failure
- Fire Pump Installation - Electrical inspection by County Electrical Inspector prior to Fire Marshal Inspection/Test
- Fire Pump Installation - Hydrostatic test of pump piping required to be witnessed by the Fire Marshal prior to the pump test
- Fire Pump Installation - Inspection and pump test witnessed by Fire Marshal in accordance with NFPA 20, Standard for the Installation of Centrifugal Fire Pumps.
- Standpipes - Hydrostatic test and flush - witnessed by the Fire Marshal
- See - Fire Sprinkler Contractor License
- Use of Unvented Portable Kerosene-fired HeatersThe sale or use of unvented portable kerosene-fired heaters is permitted only if the heater or appliance meets U.L. Standard 647 and bears the label of a testing laboratory approved by the State Fire Marshal. The heaters shall only be used as permitted under Commercial Law article §14-1310, Annotated Code of Maryland. Each heater shall contain a warning label stating: “This device must not be operated while unattended.” In addition, all units of shall contain the manufacturer’s warning label required by Commercial Law Article, §14-1310 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.§14-1310. Unvented portable kerosene-fired heaters.(a) Compliance with State Fire Prevention Code - With the written consent of the property owner, a person may use unvented portable kerosene fired heaters in single family dwelling units and in commercial establishments in this State if the heaters otherwise comply with the State Fire Prevention Code regulations in effect on January 1, 1982.(b) Use in commercial establishment(1) “Commercial establishment” does not include:i. Places of public assembly capable of accommodating more than 50 persons;
ii. Day care centers;
iii. Education occupancies;
iv. Health care occupancies;
v. Hotels and motels; or
vi. Buildings (other than office facilities) where open flame devices would readily ignite flammable liquid vapor, explosives, or dust, or buildings over 3 stories in height.(2) In commercial establishments, portable kerosene heaters may not be located in such a manner as to obstruct exits.(3) This section shall not be construed to prohibit or allow the prohibition of the demonstration or repair of unvented portable kerosene-fired heaters in any commercial establishment.(c) Manufacturer’s warning label - The manufacturer shall affix to each portable kerosene heater, in a safe and prominent place, a nondetachable warning label which states:(1) This unit must be used in an area which has proper ventilation. Consult owner’s manual for details and instructions.
(2) Use of this heater may possibly be dangerous to persons with respiratory or circulatory disorders.
(3) Only “water-clear” kerosene meeting 1-K (ASTM) specifications should be used in this heater.
- Maryland State Fire Prevention Codehttp://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=29.06.01.*
- Open Burning Health Department RegulationTITLE 5. FIRES
11-5-102. Authorization for certain fires without a license.
11-5-104. Notice of violation and cure.
§ 11-5-101. Definitions.
In this title, the following words have the meanings indicated.
(1) "Air pollution" means the presence in the outdoor
atmosphere of any substance that is present in such quantities and is of such
duration that it may be predicted with reasonable certainty to be injurious
to property or to human, plant, or animal life or unreasonably interferes
with the proper enjoyment of property because of the emission of odors,
solids, vapors, liquids, or gases.
(2) "Emission" means any substance other than water,
in an uncombined form, discharged into the atmosphere, including odors,
particulate matter, vapors, and gases.
(3) "Household refuse" means waste generated by
household activities that contains a mixture of trash, rubbish, and garbage,
a moisture content of up to 50%, and up to 7% incombustible solids.
(4) "Opacity" means the degree to which emissions
reduce the transmission of light and obscure the view of an object in the
background as described in the United States Environmental Protection
Agency's April, 1983, Reference Method 9 - "Visible Determination of the
opacity of Emissions From Stationary Sources," and any subsequent revisions.
(5) "Open fire" means a fire in which material is
burned in the open or in a receptacle other than one connected to a stack or
(6) "Salamander" means a device fueled by oil or gas
that is designed specifically for space heating or warming of outdoor workers
(1985 Code, Art. 14, § 7-101) (Bill No. 70-92)
§ 11-5-102. Authorization for certain fires without a license.
(a) With approval from the Health Officer and under
supervision by the Fire Chief. With the approval of the Health Officer and
with all reasonable means taken to minimize smoke, the Fire Chief or the Fire
Chief's designee may permit an open fire when necessary to instruct public
firefighters or industrial employees under supervision of the Fire Control
Official or to protect public health or safety when other means for disposing
of hazardous materials are not available.
(b) When license not required. The following open fires are
allowed without a license if the fire does not create a nuisance or air
(1) In those areas where no provision is made for
public collection of leaves, burning of leaves originating on the premises by
householders is allowed if the fire is located at least 300 feet from any
habitable dwelling or place where people work or congregate.
(2) In those areas where there is no public collection
of refuse, burning of household refuse originating on the premises by the
householder is allowed if the fire is located at least 300 feet from any
habitable dwelling or place where people work or congregate and materials are
not burned that create smoke emissions of an opacity of 20% or greater.
(3) An open fire is allowed for the cooking of food on
other than commercial premises.
(4) An open fire with a volume of less than one cubic
yard is allowed for recreational purposes, such as campfires and bonfires.
(5) A salamander designed specifically for space
heating or warming of outdoor workers and facilities is allowed.
(1985 Code, Art. 14, §§ 7-203, 7-204) (Bill No. 70-92; Bill No. 7-03)
§ 11-5-103. License.
(a) Generally required. Except as otherwise provided in this
title, a person may not cause or allow an open fire without a license.
(b) Issuance. The Health Department shall issue a license
allowing an open fire if the Health Officer makes written findings that:
(1) the material to be burned originated on the
premises on which it is to be burned;
(2) there is no practical alternate method for the
disposal of the material to be burned or to conduct the desired activity;
(3) the fire will not create a hazardous condition of
air pollution or nuisance;
(4) there will be no burning within 500 yards of an
occupied structure or a heavily traveled public road, except that the Health
Officer may recommend that a license be issued for disposal by burning by a
method acceptable to the Health Officer if this distance limitation cannot be
(5) fire control laws or regulations will not be
(6) other conditions to minimize the creation of
smoke, prevent nuisances and air pollution, and to protect the public health,
safety, comfort, and property of any person will be met.
(1985 Code, Art. 14, §§ 7-201, 7-202) (Bill No. 70-92)
§ 11-5-104. 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.
(1985 Code, Art. 14, § 7-104) (Bill No. 70-92)
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- Requirements for Open Fires, Fire Pits, Bonfires and Open Burning
- Smoke DetectorsSmoke Detector Installation Requirements – 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 including the interior of bedrooms and other rooms used for sleeping.Homes built prior to July 1, 1975At one smoke detector 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, 1988At least one electric smoke detector 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, 1990At least one electric smoke detector on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Detectors must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping.The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates.Homes built on or after July 1, 1990At least one electric smoke detector with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Detectors must be placed outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates.The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates.Homes built on or after October 23, 2003At least one electric smoke detectors with battery back up on each level of the home including the basement but excluding the attic. Detectors must be placed inside of bedrooms and also outside of but in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms or other rooms used for sleeping. The detectors must be interconnected so that if one activates, the alarm in the other detectors also activates.
- In Building Public Safety Radio Requirements
In all new and existing buildings, minimum radio signal strength for emergency responder communications shall be provided and maintained. Where needed, two-way radio communication enhancement systems shall be installed.
Anne Arundel County, Maryland has adopted NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, 2013 Edition (NFPA72-2013) as its Fire Alarm Code and the International Building Code, 2015 Version (IBC 2015) as its Building Code. NFPA72-2013 Chapter 24 includes requirements for “Two-Way Radio Communications Enhancement Systems” and the IBC 2015 section 915 provides Emergency Responder Radio Coverage requirements.
Modern building design and construction techniques, especially those required to satisfy requirements for LEED-certified building designs, make it difficult or impossible for the County to provide reliable two-way radio coverage for first responders operating inside of buildings. Two-way radio communications enhancement systems help ensure the safety of building occupants and first responders by extending the coverage of the County’s 800 MHz public safety communications system to the interior areas of the building through the use of special bi-directional amplifiers (BDAs) and a network of indoor antennas strategically located to provide reliable public safety radio system coverage throughout the interior of a building. The BDA and network of antennas is known collectively as a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).
DAS systems must be designed, installed, maintained and repaired by qualified personnel to ensure that they meet the coverage reliability requirements of NFPA72-2013 and do not cause unintended harmful interference to the County’s radio system or other users of the RF spectrum licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Anne Arundel County has developed a framework and policy for building owners and developers who must comply with the in-building public safety radio coverage requirements of IBC2015 and NFPA72-2013. For more information, click the link below to download the documentation and application package. Questions can be emailed to 800MHz@aacounty.org.