Fire Inspection Information


Fire inspections are required for all premises except one and two family dwellings and are scheduled based on occupancy type as defined by the North Carolina State Fire Prevention Code. The examples below typically illustrate the minimum frequency rate of inspections; however, it is not an all-inclusive list, and nothing in the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code is intended to prevent a jurisdiction from conducting more frequent inspections than the below schedule. 

The North Carolina Fire Prevention Code, Section 106 states “In order to preserve and protect public health and safety, and to satisfy the requirements of General Statute 160A-424, political subdivisions assuming inspection duties, as set forth in General Statute 160A-411, shall have a periodic inspection schedule for the purpose of identifying activities and conditions in buildings, structures, and premises that pose dangers of fire, explosion, or related hazards.” 

1 Year (Annual) Inspections 

  • ‘A’ – Assembly: Restaurants, Gyms, Nightclubs, Facilities with >100 Occupant Loads, etc…
  • ‘E’ – Educational Facilities: Schools, Daycares
    • Public schools are required to be inspected every six months
  • ‘H’ – Hazardous: Hazardous materials, flammable liquids and explosives facilities, etc…
  • ‘I’ – Institutional: Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Licensed care facilities, etc…
  • ‘R’ – Residential: Apartment buildings, Hotels/Motels, Fraternitites/Sororities, etc…
  • High-Rise Buildings

2 Year Inspections 

  • ‘E’ – Educational Facilities: Private Schools
  • ‘F’ – Factory: Manufacturing/Industrial

3 Year Inspections 

  • ‘A’ – Assembly: House of Worship: Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, etc…
  • ‘B’ – Business: Banks, Barber/Beauty Shops, Educational Occupancies above the 12th grade, Professional Service offices (Architects/Engineers, Attorneys, Dentists/Physicians), etc…
  • ‘M’ – Mercantile: Department, Clothing, Drug, Retail/Wholesale Stores, Markets, etc…
  • ‘S’ – Storage Facilities: Warehouses, Parking Garages, Aircraft Hangers, etc…
  • ‘U’ – Miscellaneous: Tanks, Silos, Greenhouses, etc…

ire Inspectors examine many items within your business. As a public service, The Surry County Fire Marshal’s Office is providing you a self-checklist to assist you and your business in making an assessment of your surroundings before and after the official inspection.

The checklist will give you a better understanding of what Inspectors look for and will assist you in obtaining a complete/passing inspection during the first visit. The checklist is NOT all inclusive as some businesses will require other items above and beyond what is on the list. Your inspector looks forward to discussing these additional items during the visit if requested.

Surry County has adopted North Carolina Fire Code as required by state law. Fire Inspectors use this and other referenced codes as a standard for inspections within the County. You may view the North Carolina Fire Code at the following

This is NOT the only code enforced by the Fire Marshal’s Office. Other referenced codes may be used based on circumstances presented to the bureau inspector.

Should you require further information, please feel free to contact us at the 336-783-9040. An inspector will contact you within a reasonable amount of time to answer your questions.


Combustible and Flammable Material Storage

  • Combustible materials (cardboard, paper, plastics, paint, etc.) shall not be stored in boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, or electrical equipment
  • Combustible materials shall not be stored in exits or exit
  • Outside dumpster shall be kept at least 5 feet away from combustible walls, window, doors, overhangs, and lid shall be
  • Combustible storage shall be at least 2 feet below the ceiling and 18 inches below sprinkler heads. This includes storage
  • Compressed gas containers, cylinders and tanks shall be secured to prevent
  • Flammable materials (gasoline, kerosene, propane, alcohol, ) shall not be stored indoors. This includes fuel tanks of motorcycles, lawn-care equipment, or cooking equipment, etc.

Exits & Emergency Lighting

  • Exit ways and doors shall not be visually or physically
  • Exit ways and doors shall be unlocked when building is
  • Proper exit signs in
  • Illuminated exit signs shall be illuminated at all times that the building is occupied including during power
  • Exit ways shall be illuminated at all-times when the building is occupied including during power failures (Emergency Lighting)
  • Proper lock/hardware on exit door (no-flush bolts, hasps, ).
  • Fire doors, smoke dampers and other fire resistance barriers and assemblies shall not be modified or otherwise impaired from the proper operation at any

Fire Protection Systems Inspection, Testing and Maintenance

  • Records of all fire protection system inspections, tests and maintenance shall be kept on the premises.
  • Sprinkler and fire alarm system shall be serviced
  • Fire protection systems shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times and repaired where defective.
  • Commercial cooking fire protection systems shall be serviced semi-annually.
  • Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal. Cleaning shall be recorded, and records shall state-the extent, time, and date of cleaning.
  • Emergency lighting shall be tested every six
  • Standpipe shall be tested every 5 years and flows taken every 3
Building Maintenance

  • All private hydrants, fire lanes, fire department connections (FDC) and control valves shall be clear, visible and unobstructed, including sand removal. -
  • The building address shall be clearly visible from the street, minimum 4 inches in height with a contrasting
  • Fire-resistance-rated construction shall be maintained. No holes in walls, ceilings, and
  • Occupant load signs must be legible, permanent, and posted in conspicuous location near the main entrance for assembly occupancies. This includes restaurants and
  • Door Labels are required for rooms containing Electrical, Furnace, Sprinkler, Mechanical and/or Generator
  • Charcoal grills, propane grill and heaters or other open-flame cooking devices shall not be located inside a structure, on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. EXCEPTIONS: 1) One and two-family dwellings, and 2) Where balconies/decks are protected by an automatic sprinkler
  • Area around building free of combustible material (weeds, trash, boxes, )


  • A working space of not less than 30 inches wide (or width of equipment), 36 inches deep (in front of) and 78 inches high shall be provided in front of electrical service equipment. No storage within this designated
  • "Power strips" (relocatable power taps) shall be UL listed, polarized, grounded, and equipped with over current
  • "Power strips" shall be directly connected to a permanently installed receptacle. No "daisy chaining".
  • "Power strips" cords shall not extend through walls, ceilings, floors, under doors or floor coverings, nor be subject to environmental or physical
  • Extension cords, multi-plug adapters and flexible cords shall not be a substitute for permanent wiring.
  • All Electrical Boxes shall be properly covered and no exposed
  • No exposed electrical wires. All electrical wiring terminations must be in a junction
  • All Electrical outlets have proper cover in place and not
Portable Fire Extinguishers

  • A minimum of one 2A, 1O:B, C portable fire extinguisher shall be provided within 75 feet of travel distance from anywhere in the business on each
  • A Class K fire extinguisher shall be mounted within 30 feet but no closer than 10 feet of commercial food equipment using vegetable or animal oils
  • Fire extinguishers shall not be obstructed and shall be in a conspicuous location and easily accessible to all
  • When visually obstructed, an approved means shall be provided to indicate
  • Fire extinguisher shall be mounted on wall with manufacture's hanger at least 4" above the floor and no more than 42" above the floor (measured from the top of the extinguisher).
  • Fire extinguishers have evidence of proper annual and monthly
NOTE: This list is a general guideline only for common violations that can be readily determined