Fire & Life Safety Checklist

By following these self-inspection guidelines, you can decrease the chances that a fire will destroy your business. These fire safety inspections focus on maintaining a safe work environment and keeping your business in business!


  • The address on the building shall be visible from the street, numbers shall contrast with their background, and suite numbers shall be above front entry and contrast with background. Rear doors shall be labeled with address and suite number.
  • Current keys shall be provided for the Fire Department Knox box.


  • When a keyed lock is used at the front entry / exit, provide a sign over the front door stating "This Door Must Remain Unlocked During Business Hours."
  • With the exception of the front entry / exit, all locking hardware must be single-action, requiring only one motion to unlock the door and exit. The use of thumb-turn deadbolts are allowed only when inner-connected to the door handle.
  • Exit doors shall not be locked, chained, bolted, barred, latched or otherwise rendered unusable. Manually operated flush / surface bolts are prohibited.
  • Remove storage and obstructions from all exits, aisles, corridors, and stairways.
  • When the building is equipped with illuminated exit signs, they shall be maintained at all times.

Fire Extinguishers & Fire Protection Systems

  • A 2A:10BC fire extinguisher is required in any office area and may serve a maximum of 3,000 square feet with a travel distance no greater than 75 feet. Larger rated fire extinguishers are required as determined by the fire department for areas such as warehouses, workshops, etc.
  • Fire extinguishers shall be wall mounted 3.5 to 5 feet from the floor in the path of egress. Fire extinguishers are to be readily accessible and visible at all times.
  • All fire extinguishers are required to be serviced annually and shall have a service tag with the State Fire Marshal's seal attached to extinguisher dated within the past year.
  • A Class K fire extinguisher is required for commercial cooking applications. The extinguisher is to be mounted on the wall no higher than 3 1/2 feet from the floor in the path of egress with a travel distance no greater than 30 feet from the cooking appliances.
  • Where required, a hood and duct fire suppression system for commercial cooking applications requires semi annual service (every 6 months).
  • If the building is equipped with a fire sprinkler system, tenant improvement work may require alterations to the sprinkler system. The system requires quarterly maintenance and state certification every 5 years.
  • If a fire alarm system is in the building, annual service from a state licensed fire alarm company is required.


  • The use of extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring is prohibited. Extension cords shall be used only with portable appliances; large fixed appliances and machinery must be plugged directly into their own wall receptacle. Surge protectors may be used for electronic equipment with cords no longer than 6 feet.
  • All electrical receptacles shall be provided with cover plates.
  • Maintain a 30-inch clearance in front of all electrical panels.
  • Repair or replace worn, damaged, or frayed electrical cords.
  • Combustible materials shall not be stored in mechanical or electrical rooms.

Flammable Liquids / Hazardous Materials

  • A permit for the use, storage, and handling of flammable liquids in excess of 5 gallons is required from the Fire Department. Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored in their original unopened containers. Once opened, flammable liquids must be stored in approved safety containers. Storage in excess of 10 gallons must be in an approved flammable liquids storage cabinet.
  • A business plan must be on file at the San Diego County Health Department Hazardous Materials Division for the use, storage, and handling of hazardous materials. A Fire Department permit may be required.

General Fire Safety

  • Warehouse Operations - All rack storage that is 8 feet tall and higher requires a permit through the city of Poway Building Department prior to installation. This will insure proper design methods that require minimum compliance of seismic anchoring, structural design, and load bearing capabilities, as well as proper aisle spacing and related exiting requirements. As the height increases in rack storage, other requirements and permits will be required from the fire department. Keep all aisles and flue spaces (areas between racks when fastened together and the racks and walls) clear.
  • Reduce storage of combustible materials to 18 inches below the level of sprinkler heads or 24 inches below the ceiling in buildings with no sprinklers.
  • Repair or replace all holes in walls / ceilings (e.g. missing ceiling tiles) in fire-resistive construction.
  • Provide a 30-inch minimum clearance between heat producing appliances and combustible materials.

If you have questions, please call the Poway Fire Department Fire Prevention Division at 858-668-4470.

Business Certificate Information