Consistent with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation and subsequent Memorandum for Construction Guidance, the City of Richland has temporarily suspended inspections.
Occupancy Load Calculations
Governor Inslee’s Covid19 occupancy load restrictions related to re-opening in Phases 1-4 have generated a huge increase in requests from Richland business owners to have the Fire Marshal’s Office calculate their occupancy loads. We do not have the resources or your business’s specific information to make these calculations. Additionally during plan reviews, occupancy loads are figured for an entire building, fire area or total occupancy. It is our understanding that the occupancy loads that Governor Inslee is referring to are for only the customer accessed areas, to help adhere to the social distancing requirements. We do not have a clearly defined answer from the Governor’s Office on how they would like the occupancy loads calculated.
Occupancy loads are generally determined by the International Fire Code and, Section 1004 and the International Building Codes. As with all codes, The process to calculate occupancy loads is a very convoluted process and there is no single chart or definition to determine an occupancy load. Some of the additional considerations beyond square footage that can further limit your occupancy load include:
- Fixed seating vs. non fixed seating
- Your fixed seating actual measurements
- Non-fixed seating vs. un-concentrated seating vs. standing only areas,
- The total occupancy and/or fire area and now possibly only the customer accessed area square footage
- The presence of fixed fire alarm and sprinkler system that have current annual testing recorded through the Fire Marshal’s Office
- Egress pathways sizes
- Exit numbers and sizes
- Even bathroom counts can decrease your occupancy load counts
When seeking occupancy loads, we recommend starting with your building owner and/or a design professional to determine your occupancy loads as related to the Covid19, Phase 1-4 requirements. Washington Labor and Industries is the enforcing agency for the Governors modified occupancy loads and social distancing requirements. The Washington Labor and Industries website currently states, “L&I regional offices are closed to public visits until further notice. Offices can still help you by phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays (except state holidays). Use the phone number for your closest regional office, or you can call the Office of Information and Assistance at 360-902-5800.”
Additionally an article put out by the Spokane Valley Fire Department https://www.kxly.com/spokane-valley-fire-dept-provides-guidelines-on-reduced-building-occupancy/ may further explain the complexity related to determining occupancy loads. An additional resource can also be an online “occupancy load calculator” such as, https://www.fireinspection360.com/occupantload. On-line occupancy load calculations only provide generic occupancy load numbers and should be reviewed for accuracy by your design professional and the Washington State Department Labor and Industries.
Commercial Life Safety InspectionsLearn more about the inspection program designed to prevent fires and injuries in businesses.
Inspection ProgramThe Richland Fire and Emergency Services Department's inspection program exists to reduce fire and injury by eliminating the hazards that are known to cause problems. This inspection program has been refined over the years in an effort to best serve the community. The Prevention Division implements this program.
The Commercial Inspection Program is comprised of visits to the businesses of our community by a certified fire inspector, who surveys the sites for any building deficiencies or other hazards to life or property that may exist. The basis used for any corrective actions necessary is the International Fire Code (IFC).
Inspection FrequencyThe frequency that a business is inspected depends primarily on its occupancy group and the consideration of other risk factors. The purpose of our inspection program is to identify hazards to life and property. At the same time, by educating the business community as to the causes of fire, future fires or other problems may be reduced or eliminated. The effectiveness of the program as a whole is dependent on the ability of the inspectors to educate building owners, business owners and occupants of the need for corrections when necessary and the reasons for them. For more information on the program, contact us at (509) 942-7703.
Post-Emergency Property Protection Program
The Richland Fire & Emergency Services (RF&ES) Post-Emergency Property Program (P4) maintains a list of pre-qualified private contractors who may be used to secure buildings and/or property following an emergency incident.
Our standard for the P4 program details the requirements and expectations. If your company would like to be a part o this program, please call (509) 942-7703.
These contractors are currently qualified for this program:
- 1-800-BoardUp 1-800-262-7387
- Quality Restoration Solutions (509) 492-7765
- Northwest Restoration (509) 946-9766
- First Choice Restoration (509) 734-7737
Fire Protection Systems Confidence Testing
Read more about testing and reporting your business's life safety protection system.
The International Fire Code and related standards specify the confidence testing requirements for the fire protection systems listed below. Property owners, or their designee, are solely responsible for the timely testing of fire protection devices, correcting deficiencies and reporting test results. Automatic courtesy notifications from Tegris Fire Inc. may be sent when systems are due for testing.
|Standpipes||Every 5 Years|
|Rolling and Sliding Fire Doors||Annually|
|Clean Agents and Halon||Annually|
|Wet Chemical (except range hoods)||Annually|
|Private Fire Hydrants||Every 5 Years|
|Other Systems||As Determined by RFD|
After the system is tested, the testing contractor will submit the results to RF&ES using the Tegris Fire Inc. online reporting system. Any system deficiencies shall be reported and may require correction before the system is approved by the fire department.
See our standard for Fixed-Fire Protection Equipment Testing.