Fire Inspection Services

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Citrus County Fire Rescue

Inspection Services

Citrus County Fire Rescue staff ensures compliance of State and Local fire codes relating to all commercial construction in Citrus County, including the cities of Inverness and Crystal River.

A fire safety inspection is a visual surface survey for fire safety hazards that may cause a fire, contribute to its rapid growth or prevent the occupants' safe escape from a fire.

Commercial Building Plan Review

A review of all commercial building plans (new construction and remodeling) is performed by Fire Prevention prior to the issuance of a building permit. Automatic fire sprinkler, automatic fire suppression, fire alarm, and commercial kitchen hood systems are reviewed also.

The plans are reviewed for compliance with all of the related fire codes as adopted by Citrus County. The plans are checked for compliance with items such as:

Proper number, size and location of exits and doors

Maximum occupant load determination for the building and occupancy

Location and type of the required fire rated assemblies

Fire extinguisher size and number

Determine if a fire alarm system is required

Determine if an automatic fire sprinkler system is required

Other fire or life safety deficiencies

For questions regarding building permits and commercial inspections, contact Fire Inspector Gannon Westmoreland.

Office 352-527-5348

Fax 352-527-5394


For Inverness fire related inquiries, please contact the City of Inverness at (352) 342-7845.

Construction Review Information and Review Process

Contact Fire Prevention for a fire or life safety seminar for your business, organization or group.

Fire Prevention

The major concept of minimum fire code requirements is first and foremost the safe evacuation of the building's occupants. A safe and clear atmosphere is essential for the expedient and safe escape of everyone. Any obstacle prevents or slows their escape and causes the occupants to panic. Exit signs and emergency lights make exits obvious and easy to locate. Fire rated separations, corridors, doors, dampers, automatic fire sprinklers, etc. are necessary to limit the smoke and the fire's progress allowing additional time for the occupants to escape.

The fire safety process begins with the building's construction features. The Florida Building Code requirements play an important part in fire safety. The construction features provide a sound foundation for slowing or limiting the fire's destructive power and providing an easier escape. The exit features are maintained (limits smoke and fire intrusion) and a premature collapse on the occupants or firefighters fighting the fire is prevented.

Typically, the major portion of the building's structural components, as related to fire safety, is dictated by the Florida Building Code. Construction features such as; occupancy and building size limitations, occupancy and tenant separations, structural protection, etc. are usually determined by the Building Code. Egress, fire protection systems, etc. are sometimes found in both the Building Code and the Fire Code. The Code section that affords the most life safety will be applied.

Usually, the Florida Fire Prevention Code will be concerned with the interior portion of the building and may have additional construction requirements. They may include; protection of storage areas, details for multi-story buildings, corridor and exit construction, an automatic fire sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, or other fire protection features.

The reduction of fire damage to the building or its contents is another concern. Most life safety features have a dual role. For example, a fire sprinkler system will limit the spread of the fire to allow the occupants time to escape. In most cases, the fire sprinkler system has also extinguished or limited the spread of the fire. Primarily, the occupancy, tenant and hazard separations attempt to separate the fire from the occupants as they escape, but they also limit the spread of fire.

In the majority of the occupancies, as the occupant load (number of people in the building) increases, so does the fire safety requirements. The potential for disaster increases as the number of people in a building increase. Normally, a single person in a building at the time of a fire will be able to escape the fire without getting nervous. The possibility of a restricted escape is reduced. With a large number of people present, the occupant's movements are restricted by other people, tables, chairs, etc. and an increase of nervousness heightens the potential for panic.

Building Review

The Fire Prevention Section will review all commercial building plans for their compliance with the applicable State statutes, Florida Administrative Codes, County codes, ordinances or regulations. These may include, but are not limited to, applicable Florida State Statutes, Florida Fire Prevention Code, Citrus County Code, Citrus County Land Development Code, etc. Other laws, ordinances, or standards may also apply to a particular project.

During a plan review, the Fire Prevention Plan Examiner will utilize the Florida Fire Prevention Code (2004 Edition) and apply them to the appropriate occupancy or circumstances. The referenced Codes may direct the examiner to apply other related Codes or Standards. Fire Prevention recommends the contractor or builder to purchase or have available a copy of the Florida Fire Prevention Code (2004 Edition). During the review process, a conflict may occur between two Laws, Codes or Standards. Whichever provides the highest level of life safety will apply. Life safety cannot and will not be compromised.

In addition to the Building Department's requirements, the following information is necessary for Fire Prevention to complete a commercial plan review. The more of the appropriate information that is provided, the quicker the plan review will be processed.


Occupancy classification of the building or portions of the building must be identified. The use of each room is necessary to determine the appropriate Code requirements.

Site Plan

Minimum 20 ft. fire department access roadways. The Land Development Code may require wider access aisles.

When central water is present within 1200 ft. of the project, a fire hydrant is required for new building construction and new additions. The fire hydrant shall be within 500 ft. curbline distance of the farthest portion of the building. This distance is measured along the edge of the roadway (not right-of-way) and/or driveway. It is not measured as a radius ("crow flies"). A fire apparatus must be able to drive on an all weather driving surface capable of supporting the weight of the apparatus from the hydrant to the building. The cost of a fire hydrant may be recovered in the savings in insurance premiums over a period of a few years.

Show the hydrant location or make a note of why it is not applicable. Interior remodeling that does not encompass new construction or additions, do not require a fire hydrant.

Structural Details

The building size may be limited by the Standard Building Code and in some sections of the Florida Fire Prevention Code.

Indicate the location and wall details of any required tenant or occupancy separations.

A typical wall section of any fire rated separations (walls, ceilings, etc.) is necessary. Include the independent testing laboratory design number for the type of separation.

Providing a detail of the type and installation of the fire penetration sealing components (dampers, sleeves, sealants, etc.) is helpful.

Occupancies such as assembly, business, educational, health care, residential, mercantile, etc. usually require the storage and hazardous areas to be separated from other areas by a one-hour fire rated assembly. The door(s) in these assemblies must be fire rated and have a self-closing device.

Stairs (interior and exterior means of egress components) must meet the requirements of the Florida Fire Prevention Code in reference to the tread, riser, landings, etc.

Exit Components

Occupant load factors in the Florida Fire Prevention Code are used to determine the maximum safe occupant load of a building.

Indicate the size and locations of all exits. The typical exit width is 36" in clear width.

Exit doors are to be side hinged and no wider than 48" in width.

Exit doors should swing outward or toward the direction of exit travel. Areas with more than a 50 person occupant load must comply with this standard.

Exit signs are required. Certain conditions may require the signs to be illuminated and have battery back-up.

Most large buildings or occupancies must have at least two exits as remote from each other as practical. Large occupancies may require more and/or larger exits to meet the exit capacity requirements of the Florida Fire Prevention Code . The main exit and the secondary exit widths are usually calculated with different formulas.

Fire exit corridors may be required to be separated from other areas by a one-hour fire rated assembly.

Typically, buildings with 100 person occupant loads or more are required to have panic hardware on the required exits.

Travel distances to exits may become an issue and require more exits than were provided.

No dead end corridor shall exceed 20 feet.

Miscellaneous Requirements

Interior finishes become more crucial and restrictive as the occupant load increases. The interior finish requirements are listed in the Florida Fire Prevention Code & Building Code.

Fire Sprinkler Requirements

Typically, a fire sprinkler system will considerably reduce the cost of fire insurance. "Trade-offs" are provided in the Codes when fire sprinkler systems are added. They may include; the size of building may be increased, rated separations may be reduced, attic compartments may be increased, travel distances to exits may be increased etc.

Must be engineered and installed by a Florida licensed fire sprinkler contractor.

A separate permit and review is required.

A ground inspection of all components prior to installation, 200-psi test and a final inspection are required.

A fire sprinkler system is required in:

Occupancies that exceed the maximum square feet requirements of the Standard Building Code

Hazardous occupancies

Assembly occupancies over 300 person occupant load

Educational occupancies below the level of exit discharge

Health care occupancies

Some hotel occupancies

Some apartment buildings

Some lodging and rooming occupancies

Some residential board and care occupancies

Mercantile occupancies over 3 stories, over 12,000 feet, etc.

Most high rise buildings and

Other conditions that may require a fire sprinkler system

Fire Alarm Systems

Are required in:

Assembly occupancies over 300 person occupant load

Educational occupancies

Hotel occupancies

Apartment buildings (over 3 stories or more than 11 living units)

Health care occupancies

Lodging and rooming occupancies

Residential board and care occupancies

Class A mercantile occupancies

Most high rise buildings

Business occupancies (two or more stories above level of exit discharge, 50 occupants above or below level of exit discharge, or 300 person occupant load); Industrial occupancies with more than 100 person occupant load or 25 people above the level of exit travel Some storage occupancies

Other conditions that may require a fire sprinkler system

Must be designed and installed by Florida licensed fire alarm contractor. A separate permit and review is required and a final inspection and functional test is required prior to a Certificate of Compliance or Occupancy.

The Fire Prevention Codes have many exceptions and differences and are applied on a project by project basis. One seemingly minor modification may create a major change in what is required. For example, a small increase in the area of an Assembly Occupancy may increase the occupant load. Thereby, an automatic fire sprinkler system and a fire alarm system would be required. All for a few extra square feet.

Keep in mind, the Fire Prevention Plan Examiner will not design the building or fire safety features. However, if you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Fire Prevention Section.