Fire inspections are important for the safety of the public, people who live and work in buildings and for firefighters who may have to enter the building in an emergency situation. It is imperative that in an emergency, all building occupants are able to get out in a safe and timely manner.
The British Columbia Fire Services Act requires that all “Public” buildings are inspected on a regular system of inspections. The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service inspects all public buildings on a one or two-year rotational basis, or sooner if required.
During a fire inspection, the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is checking to ensure the buildings and the process and/or occupants are meeting the requirements of the current edition of the British Columbia Fire Code and the Fire Service Bylaw 3055-2020. This includes checking the condition and maintenance of fire protection equipment such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, automatic suppression system, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, power systems, exiting, fire department access and the presence of fire hazards.
To book a non-scheduled inspection, contact the Fire Prevention Division at 604-853-3566.
Know your Responsibilities
Making sure buildings are free of ﬁre hazards isn’t just common sense – it’s the law.
Building owners are legally responsible for fulfilling certain requirements of the British Columbia Fire Code – and could receive fines and/or jail time for non-compliance. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.
Division C, Part 2, Section 2.2, Sentence 188.8.131.52 of the code states, “Unless otherwise specified, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this code.”
The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service has compiled the Fire Safety and You booklet to make local building owners aware of their responsibilities under the fire code. The booklet includes responsibilities of a general nature as well as those that are specific to particular building types or uses.
Types of Buildings Covered in the Fire Safety and You Booklet
Other than private family dwellings, all buildings in the City of Abbotsford are subject to fire inspections and are responsible for meeting certain standards under the B.C. Fire Code. This includes the following types of occupancies:
Multi-unit residential occupancies, such as townhouses and apartments (common areas only)
- Assembly occupancies, including Halls, Churches, Restaurants, and Pubs
- Daycares and Preschools
- Hospitals and Health Care Facilities
- Retail and commercial
- Schools and Educational Facilities
- Service stations, including Gas Stations and Automotive Repair Shops
In addition to the common Fire Code requirements listed inside the booklet, additional requirements apply to all of the occupancies listed above. Owner/occupant inspection information handouts are available from the City of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service for these occupancies.
All fires under the BC Fire Services Act are required to be investigated within three days. Fires are investigated for cause, origin and circumstance. By investigating the fire, we are able to determine if it could have been prevented and once determined, measures can be put into place to prevent re-occurrences.
Most fires are accidental and are therefore preventable, but some fires are intentionally set and then become a criminal offense. In these cases, the police are involved with the fire investigator on the fire scene and assist with seizing of evidence and possible criminal charges.
Fire lanes are put in place to allow the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service access to the site so they can perform firefighting functions. The British Columbia Building Code requires that: Fire lanes must be a minimum 6 metres wide, 5 metres high and have a 12 metre center line radius.
- If a dead-end is over 90 metres in length, a fire truck turnaround must be installed.
- Turnarounds and fire lanes must be a solid surface that safely supports the weight of our heaviest apparatus.
- Fire lanes must be marked with signage approved by the Fire Chief.
- All gates and chains must be approved by the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service.
- All gates and chains blocking public access to the fire lanes must be clearly marked on both sides. For signage requirements, refer to the Fire Service Bylaw No. 3055-2020.
No person shall park a vehicle within 5 meters of a fire hydrant, measured from a point in the curb or edge of the roadway closest to the fire hydrant as stated in the Consolidated Street and Traffic Bylaw No. 1536-2006.
Fire Prevention Tip
Property owners and managers are reminded to ensure trees and vegetation is trimmed to meet height and width requirements of the fire lanes.
“Make Fire Safety – Part of your Business”
The British Columbia Fire Code, Section 2.8 requires the establishment and implementation of a Fire Safety Plan for every building containing a Group 'A' - Assembly (churches, schools, restaurants, etc.) or Group 'B' - Care/Detention (care home, prison, etc.) occupancy and to every building required by the Building Code to have a Fire Alarm System.
The implementation of a Fire Safety Plan helps to assure effective maintenance and utilization of Life Safety features in a building, to protect people from fire. The required Fire Safety Plan should be designed to suit the resources of each individual building or complex of buildings.
Fire Safety Plans are intended to assist the owner of a building with the basic essentials for the safety of all occupants. They are also designed to ensure an orderly evacuation at the time of an emergency and to provide a maximum degree of flexibility to achieve the necessary Fire Safety for the building. There is a review fee depending on the building systems.
For more information, contact the Fire Prevention Division.
Fire Safety Plan Templates:
In order to prevent and mitigate the fire and life safety issues associated with vacant properties, the City of Abbotsford requires that all vacant and/or abandoned properties be secured against unauthorized entry until such time as the property is demolished and/or lawfully occupied.
The property owner(s) or their agent(s) who have vacant and/or abandoned properties are responsible to:
- Secure and maintain the condition of their property (structures and land) such that all potential fire and life safety hazards are mitigated.
- Regularly inspect the condition of their property and take corrective measures as needed.
The hazards and risks associated with vacant premises are enforced through the City of Abbotsford’s Fire Service Bylaw No. 3055-2020 and Securing Vacant Premises Guideline.