New Fire Safety Requirements for Building Owners
In August 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation aimed at promoting fire and life safety, reducing the risk of fires, and preventing property damage from fires. These laws, which have been incorporated into the San Francisco Fire Code, establish new requirements for the owners of residential buildings. In July 2017, Section 409 of the San Francisco Fire Code was amended by new legislation from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The requirements include having building owners provide residential tenants with updated information on fire safety and smoke alarm requirements, post smoke and CO alarm information in common areas of their buildings, file and post a Statement of Compliance form for annual fire alarm testing, and post the building manager contact information at the building entry. The requirements and effective dates vary based on the total number of building residential units and when the legislation was approved. Non-compliance with these requirements may lead to violations, where in some cases, each violation of a provision will result a separate violation being issued.
The San Francisco Fire Department is here to assist building owners to become compliant with these new requirements. Details of the requirements are provided below. Look for the "SFFD HELP" links, which are provided to help you find the necessary forms, examples of information disclosures, sample letters, and other helpful code information to assist you with compliance.
FIRE SAFETY INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
Compliance Date = 1/1/2018 (NEW)
SMOKE ALARM INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
Compliance Date = 1/31/2017
FIRE ALARM MAINTENANCE, INSPECTION AND TESTING FORM
Compliance Dates = 1/31/2017 (9 or more units); 1/31/2018 (3-8 units)
FIRE ALARM SLEEPING AREA REQUIREMENTS
Compliance Date = 7/1/2021 or completion of (>/=) $50,000 construction work
FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR SAN FRANCISCO
SFFD Fire Safety Tips - ENGLISH (rev. Apr 2017).pdf
SFFD Fire Safety Tips - SPANISH (rev. Aug 2017).pdf
SFFD Fire Safety Tips - CHINESE (rev. Aug 2017).pdf
SFFD Fire Safety Tips - FILIPINO (rev. Aug 2017).pdf
FIRE SAFETY TRAINING VIDEO COMING SOON
FIRE SAFETY INFORMATION DISCLOSURE (SFFC Section 409) (NEW)
It is the purpose of Section 409 to reduce the risk of fires to residents by requiring owners of buildings with three or more dwelling units to disclose fire safety information to new residents on or before they begin to live in the building and once a year thereafter.
Disclosure Requirements. (409.2) (NEW)
(a) The following information (the "Disclosure Information") shall be disclosed in writing to each resident of an Apartment House as defined in the Housing Code:
- The location of all fire extinguishers on the resident's floor, and the dates of last servicing;
- The location of all emergency exits on the resident's floor, and a statement that they must remain unobstructed;
- The location of all fire escapes on the resident's floor (if applicable), and the dates of last inspection;
- The location of the building fire alarm control panel and all manual pull stations on the resident's floor (if applicable);
- The date when the building fire alarm system was last inspected and tested as required by Section 907.8.5 of this Code, and confirmation that the building fire alarm system is UL certificated under Section 907.7.4 of this Code, if applicable;
- Instructions on how to confirm that the smoke alarms are in working condition, and a statement of when the smoke alarms were last replaced;
- Instructions on how to confirm that the carbon monoxide detectors are in working condition, and a statement of when the carbon monoxide detectors were last replaced; and
- The phone number of the appropriate contact within the Fire Department for reporting suspected violations of Section 409.
- Instructions and website link to access the fire safety training video that the Fire department shall post and maintain on the Internet; and
- Instructions in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino directing persons who wish to view general fire safety guidance in any of these languages to do so on the Fire Department's official website and providing a link to this website. The Fire Department shall post such general fire safety guidance on its official website not only in English but also in Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. Further, to assist owners with providing the required instruction in their Disclosure Information, the Fire Department shall post on its website sample instructions in Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino, that owners may copy and include in their Disclosure Information.
The Disclosure Information may also include any other information that would assist a resident to escape or prevent a fire in the building.
(b) The owner of the Apartment House or the owner's agent shall provide an oral explanation of the Disclosure Information to new residents before the new residents commence occupancy in the building, a written copy of the Disclosure Information to new residents on or before the commencement of occupancy, and a written copy, updated as appropriate, to all building residents on or before January 31 of each year.
(c) The owner of the Apartment House shall maintain a record of its compliance with this Section 409.2 by retaining a copy of the Disclosure Information for at least two years. An owner's failure to maintain such records shall create a rebuttable presumption that the owner has violated this Section 409.2.
Printing Requirements. (409.4) (NEW)
(a) The Disclosure Information [Section 409.2] shall be provided in writing. If provided in hard copy, it shall be printed on white paper, 8.5" x 11" (216mm x 279mm), or larger, in no smaller that 10-point font.
NOTE: The annual Disclosure Information may be provided to tenants via email (soft copy).
SFFD HELP: Compliance Date for Section 409.2: January 1, 2018
Posting Requirements. (409.3)
(a) A sign or sticker shall be affixed at the main point of entry to the Apartment House, or at such other location that the Fire Marshal approves in writing, that contains the phone number of the owner, property manager, or other person who can give the Fire Department or other building inspector prompt access to the building to conduct safety inspections.
(b) The Department of Building Inspection shall enforce this Section 409.3 pursuant to periodic health and safety inspections required by code.
SFFD HELP: Compliance Date for Section 409.3: March 10, 2017
Penalties and Enforcement. (409.5) (NEW)
The Chief of the Fire Department (which includes, for purposes of this Section 409.5, the Chief's designee) shall be responsible for enforcement of the provisions of Section 409.
(a) The Fire Chief shall issue a written notice of violation to an owner the Chief determines is in violation of Section 409. Violators shall have 30 days from the date of such warnings to correct violation(s).
(b) Where a violation has not been corrected after 30 days from the date of issuance of a warning, the Fire Chief may assess and collect administrative penalties from the owner for any violation of Section 409 in accordance with Administrative Code Chapter 100, "Procedures Governing the Imposition of Administrative Fines," as may be amended from time to time. Chapter 100, which is incorporated herein in its entirety, shall govern the amount of fees and the procedures for imposition, enforcement, collection, and administrative review of administrative citations. Each violation of a provision of Section 409 shall constitute a separate violation for purposes of Chapter 100.
SMOKE ALARM INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice.
(a) On or before January 31, 2017, and on or before January 31 of each year thereafter, owners of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy in which one or more units is rented or leased shall provide each tenant with a written notice regarding smoke alarm requirements on a form provided by the Fire Department. The Fire Department shall develop the notice in consultation with the Department of Building Inspection and shall make the notice available on its website in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
The Fire Department shall update the notice as necessary from time to time to reflect changes in the law, and the owner shall provide the most recent notice to tenants. The notice shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
- Information regarding the importance of maintaining smoke alarms in working condition for life safety;
- A brief summary of legal requirements for smoke alarms in dwelling units;
- A statement that the landlord is obligated to provide operable smoke alarms in good working condition in the dwelling unit in accordance with the Housing Code and Fire Code and the landlord must promptly repair or replace inoperable smoke alarms upon request; and
- Attached as a separate appendix to the notice, a list, to be prepared by the Rent Board, of tenants' rights organizations that provide counseling to tenants on issues related to fires, and contact information for those organizations.
(b) For all Apartment Houses as defined in the Housing Code, the building owner shall post the Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice referenced in subsection (a) in at least one conspicuous location in a common area of each floor of the building.
NOTE: If no such common area(s) exists, the building owner shall provide a copy to each residential tenant in the building.
SFFD HELP: Compliance Date = January 31, 2017
FIRE ALARM MAINTENANCE, INSPECTION AND TESTING FORM (SFFC Section 907.8.5)
Testing, Inspection and Filing Requirements.
(a) The building owner is responsible to maintain the fire and life safety systems in an operable condition at all times. The building owner must have the system(s) tested and inspected every year by service personnel who meet the qualification requirements of NFPA 72, as amended from time to time, for maintaining, inspecting, and testing of the systems.
- Filing Statement of Compliance. With regard to fire alarm systems in Apartment Houses, as defined in the Housing Code, the building owner shall file a Statement of Compliance with this annual testing and inspection requirement with the Fire Department, on a form provided by the Fire Department, in accordance with the following schedule:
(A) for buildings with nine or more units, on or before January 31, 2017, and thereafter on or before January 31 of each odd-numbered year, and
(B) for buildings with three to eight units, on or before January 31, 2018, and thereafter on or before January 31 of each even-numbered year.
The Fire Department shall consult with the Department of Building Inspection in developing the Statement of Compliance form. The Fire Department shall post all Statements of Compliance it receives on a City website maintained by the Fire Department no later than 60 days from January 31 each year.
- Posting Statement of Compliance in Common Area. In addition to filing the Statement of Compliance, the building owner shall post a copy of the most recently filed Statement of Compliance in at least one conspicuous location in a common area of each floor of the building or, if no such common area(s) exist, the building owner shall provide a copy to each residential tenant in the building. The building owner shall comply with this requirement no later than 60 days from the date of filing of the Statement of Compliance.
- Enforcement. For purposes of enforcement of this subsection (a), the Fire Department shall be responsible only for posting the Statement of Compliance forms on the City website, and the Fire Department and/or the Department of Building Inspection shall respond to any complaint received by the respective department pertaining to compliance with this subsection in the case of the Fire Department, or compliance with Section 908 of the Housing Code in the case of the Department of Building Inspection. The Departments may also enforce these requirements pursuant to periodic health and safety inspections required by code.
SFFD HELP: Compliance Dates = January 31, 2017 (9 or more units); January 31, 2018 (3-8 units)
(b) The building owner shall maintain written records of inspection and testing, as specified in NFPA 72, as amended from time to time, until the next test and for one year thereafter.
Fire Alarm Service Sticker.
(c) The building owner shall place, or shall have servicing personnel place, a sticker on the exterior of the fire alarm control panel cover that includes the company name, phone number, and the date of the last inspection or testing.
FIRE ALARM SLEEPING AREA REQUIREMENTS (SFFC Section 1126.96.36.199)
Sleeping Area Requirements
For all buildings that are required to have a fire alarm system under this [Fire] Code, the Building Code, the Housing Code or any other law, the building owner shall upgrade the fire alarm system, if necessary, to comply with the sound level requirement for sleeping areas set forth in Section 188.8.131.52 of NFPA 72 (2013 edition), as amended from time to time, upon either (a) completion of work under a building permit with a cost of construction of $50,000 or more or (b) July 1, 2021, whichever occurs first.
NFPA 72 (2013)
184.108.40.206 Where audible appliances are installed to provide signals for sleeping areas, they shall have a sound level of at least 15 dB above the average ambient sound level or 5 dB above the maximum sound level having a duration of at least 60 seconds or a sound level of at least 75 dBA, whichever is greater, measured at the pillow level in the area required to be served by the system using the A-weighted scale (dBA).
220.127.116.11 If any barrier, such as a door, curtain, or retractable partition, is located between the notification appliance and the pillow, the sound pressure level shall be measured with the barrier placed between the appliance and the pillow.
18.104.22.168 Effective January 1, 2014, where audible appliances are provided to produce signals for sleeping areas, they shall produce a low frequency alarm signal that complies with the following:
(1) The alarm signal shall be a square wave or provide equivalent awakening ability.
(2) The wave shall have a fundamental frequency of 520 Hz +/- 10 percent.
If you have any additional questions regarding these requirements or related procedures, please feel free to contact the SFFD Bureau of Fire Prevention at: (415) 558-3300.