The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Section is comprised of several units - Fire Code Inspections, Fire Protection Systems Retesting, Environmental Investigations & Fire Investigations. The section administers the provisions of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, applicable sections of the Virginia Construction Code and related Code of the City of Alexandria. Staff inspect existing properties for compliance with these codes as well as providing tips to occupants for achieving code compliance. The section provides inspection and oversight for the retesting of existing fire protection systems. Inspection staff respond to complaints and conduct annual inspections to ensure proper operation of these critical life safety systems. Fire Marshals investigate incidents relating to fires, explosion related incidents, as well as, incidents involving the release of hazardous materials and environmental crimes through the Environmental Investigation Unit. The section is commanded by an assistant fire chief.
NEW! Fire Prevention Permit Fee Schedule (Effective July 1, 2013)
During Business Hours (M-F, 7:30AM - 4PM), call 703.746.5227
Other Than Business Hours (including weekends and holidays), call the "24 hour Nuisance Abatement Hotline" - 703.836.0041
Contact the Fire Prevention staff regarding fire safety violations at 703.746.5227 or submit a complaint via email.
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday, 7:30AM - 4PM
Fire Code Inspections are conducted daily by a staff of fire marshals supervised by an east and west end supervisor. Annual fire prevention permit inspections, complaint inspections and proactive inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code and related City Codes such as:
- Commercial Overcrowding
- Fire Safety Inspections
Fire Prevention Permit Program - provides for annual inspections of properties that store or use hazardous materials or conduct hazardous processes such as welding, auto repair and processes involving the use of flammable or combustible liquids and gases. Additionally, the program includes annual inspections of all assembly and educational occupancies within the City to include restaurants, schools, churches, hotels and day care facilities. Permits are issued annually as part of the inspection process.
- Fire Prevention Permit Application
- Special Event Requirements for Code Administration & Fire Department - If you are planning a special event or are an event coordinator, please take the time to read this policy as some of the information has been updated from previous policies. The policy gives guidelines and requirements for items such as tents, open flame and propane cooking devices, carnivals and fairs, outdoor assembly events, amusement devices and other issues associated with many typical events, as well as some general fire safety requirements
Virginia Fire Prevention Code Appeals
Fire Marshals conduct investigations of fire and explosion related incidents within the City, as well as incidents involving the release of hazardous materials and environmental crimes. Fire Marshals are empowered to conduct criminal investigations, make arrests and prepare cases for prosecution. Fire Marshals also investigate burn related injuries and construction accidents.
Fire Protection Systems Retesting
The Fire Protection Systems Unit (FPS) is comprised of three fire protection retesting teams that are responsible to witness inspection and testing of existing systems. The Fire Protection Systems Unit deals with many different fire protection systems including fire sprinkler, fire pump, standpipe, suppression, fire hydrants, alarm, detection, smoke control, and access control systems.
To schedule a Fire Protection Systems Inspection, call 703.746.4256.
Specialists witness code required inspection, testing, and maintenance on existing fire protection systems to ensure the systems perform as designed, installed, and approved.
Environmental Investigation Unit
The Environmental Investigation Unit (EIU) investigates the release of hazardous materials and environmental crimes, conducts fire code inspections of facilities using and storing hazardous materials and coordinates information to other City agencies about hazardous and industrial related uses within the City of Alexandria.
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
What is Hazardous Material?
Hazardous materials are substances or materials, in any form or quantity, which pose unreasonable risk to safety, health or property when released from their container. Some hazardous materials are more common than others and many can be found within household environments. Many of these products are used on a daily basis without any incident, but can cause problems if not properly handled or disposed.
Examples of common hazardous materials include:
- Fuel and other petroleum products (gasoline, diesel fuel, transmission fluid, motor oil, brake fluid, kerosene)
- Butane, ethanol, methane (natural gas)
- Solvents, paint thinners and strippers, varnish
- Strong cleaning agents (drain cleaners, metal cleaners, brush and paint cleaning agents)
Facilities that store or use hazardous materials may be required to obtain a Fire Prevention Permit required by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, as amended by the City of Alexandria.
Examples of materials or use of materials that typically require a Fire Prevention Permit:
- Service Station, Repair Garage, Auto Body Shops
- Flammable and combustible liquids storage and use
- Cutting and welding, hot work, use or torch or open flame device
- Propane storage and use
- Compressed gases
- Corrosive materials
- Toxic materials
Proper Disposal of Hazardous Materials
Note - it is unlawful to release any hazardous substance or chemical into any storm drain or sewer within the City of Alexandria, including: automotive fluids (oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, gasoline or other motor fuels); paint, paint thinner, varnish, solvents and any hazardous cleaning chemicals.
- Many hazardous materials can be recycled through the City of Alexandria recycling center; click HERE for a list of acceptable and unacceptable recyclable hazardous materials.
City of Alexandria
Commonwealth of Virginia