The Fire Prevention Bureau is responsible for the enforcement of the New Jersey State Fire Safety Code and for working with businesses and property owners to ensure their occupancies are safe for both the public and first responders. The Bureau is tasked with conducting fire safety and code compliance inspections of commercial properties, schools, public buildings, and certain residential rental properties in accordance with New Jersey State Fire Safety Code. One- and two-family, owner-occupied homes do not fall into this category and are not required to be inspected. The Bureau is additionally responsible for certifying the presence and function of state-mandated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms when any residential property is being sold or rented.
Fire inspections are intentionally not scheduled in advance. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure code compliance and safety standards are being practiced throughout the year, not just when an inspection is scheduled. Fire inspections are not intended to interfere with daily operations, but must be scheduled during business hours so that actual conditions may be observed. They are intended to be as brief and to the point as possible so the customer can get back to business.
The most common problems found during fire safety inspections are:
- Non-functioning or missing exit signs
- Non-functioning or missing emergency lighting
- Missing or outdated fire extinguishers
- Materials stored near heating appliances (water heater, furnace)
- The inappropriate use of extension cords, blocked or obstructed exits or passageways
- Blocked or obstructed electrical panels
- Overloaded electrical outlet
- The use of residential appliances (coffee pots, microwave or toaster ovens)
- Inappropriate storage (too much, stacked too high) of combustible materials
What to Expect
Each inspection usually comprises of two visits to the customer. The first visit is the initial inspection where problems or issues are identified and documented. The customer is also informed of the steps needed to be taken to correct the conditions. A second visit is required to ensure all issues have been addressed. In cases where there is either an inability to correct issues or there is a refusal on the part of the customer to cooperate, penalties may be imposed for subsequent visits or for failure to comply with the State Code.
These inspections are intended to promote and educate the public on fire safety and to identify potential risks to residents, businesses, employees, customers, the general public, and first responders.
Construction Versus Maintenance
The inspection of all new construction or renovations is the responsibility of the Division of Inspections (Construction and Code Enforcement). The Construction Official, Plumbing Subcode, Electrical Subcode, and Fire Subcode Inspectors are the individuals tasked with reviewing plans and conducting ongoing construction inspections. Once construction is completed and the structure is determined to be in compliance with all construction codes, the Building Department issues a “Certificate of Occupancy” or “C of O” to the owner. Once a C of O is issued for a structure, it becomes the responsibility of the Fire Official and the Fire Prevention Bureau to conduct annual inspections. This is the “maintenance” portion of the process.
Drop Off All Applications & Paperwork to our drop box located on the second floor of the Municipal Building next to the Fire Prevention Door. The Municipal Building is found at:
77 Summerhill Road
Spotswood, NJ 08884
Note: Smoke Detector Certification Applications and Instructions sheet have been updated as of January 2023.