Frequently Asked Questions
Palm Springs Fire Department
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Inspection
Q: Why does the fire department require a successful smoke alarm inspection
on residential properties prior to the sale or transfer of any real property?
A: In 1986, the State of California enacted Health & Safety Code Section
13113.8(a) requiring smoke alarms in single family residences. Soon
thereafter, the City of Palm Springs passed a local ordinance requiring smoke
alarms in all dwelling units (Ordinance No. 1833, Section 8.04.510 and
California Fire Code Section 907.2.11.6).
Q: Which types of residential properties require smoke alarm inspections?
A: Single family residences; condominiums; duplexes; and mobile homes.
Q: What type of smoke alarms does the City of Palm Springs require?
A: All battery operated smoke alarms shall contain a non-replaceable, non-
removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for ten years
and listed with the Office of State Fire Marshal. Either ionization or
photoelectric smoke alarms are acceptable.
Q: Where should smoke alarms be located?
A: Battery Operated smoke alarms shall be installed within 10 feet of the outside
of each sleeping room and/or den doorway and inside each bedroom.
Smoke alarms must be permanently installed on the ceiling (preferred), or
between 4 inches to 12 inches below the ceiling if on the wall. They shall be
at least 4 inches from any corner.
Each floor/level shall have at least one smoke alarm installed.
In homes built since January 1, 2005 , smoke alarms must be
installed inside and outside of each sleeping room and/or den, receive their
primary power from the building wiring and shall be equipped with a battery
back-up. All smoke alarms shall be interconnected so that operation of any
smoke alarm causes the alarm in all smoke alarms within the dwelling to
Smoke alarms should not be installed in bathrooms, kitchens, or within 36
inches of ceiling fan blade tips, or within 36 inches of HVAC registers.
Q: Can I replace a hardwired smoke alarm with a battery-powered smoke
A: No. If smoke alarms must be replaced, it shall be with smoke
alarms having equal or higher protection. Hardwired smoke alarms must be
replaced with smoke alarms that are hardwired with a battery back-up and
interconnected smoke alarms must be replaced with interconnected smoke
Q: How long does a smoke alarm last?
A: Smoke alarms shall be replaced every 10 years (from date of manufacture).
Q: Can smoke alarms be painted?
A: No. Any paint on a smoke alarm voids the manufacturer’s warranty – the
smoke alarm shall be replaced.
Q: Can smoke alarms be installed with 2-sided tape or Velcro?
A: No. Smoke alarms must be permanently installed using at least 2 screws
on the mounting plate.
Q: My smoke alarm is “chirping”, is something wrong?
A: Smoke alarms are designed to emit a “chirping” sound when the battery
power is low. Replace the battery. If this does not fix the problem, replace
the smoke alarm.
Q: Can smoke alarms that are part of my home security system and
monitored by an off-site security company be tested?
A: Yes. Be sure to notify your alarm monitoring company that your smoke
alarms will be tested by the fire department at the time of your
appointment so they can be placed in “test” mode. You must have the
security code to silence the alarm after fire department testing.
Q: What else does the fire department look for at the time of inspection?
A: In addition to properly located and functioning smoke alarms, inspectors
also look for the following:
- Address numbers that are posted and visible from the street.
- Non-compliant security bars or roll-down shutters on sleeping room windows
- and doors.
- Fire sprinkler maintenance.
Q: What are the requirements for address numbers?
A: Approved address numbers shall be placed in a position that is visible from
the street fronting the property. The numbers shall contrast with their
background. Numbers shall be a minimum of 4 inches high with a minimum
stroke of ½ inch. Address numbers placed only on the street curb do not
meet these requirements.
Q: What are the requirements for security bars and roll-down shutters?
A: All sleeping rooms are required to have a second exit (window and/or door).
All security bars and roll-down shutters must be equipped with approved
release mechanisms that can be manually opened from the inside without the
use of a key, electricity, special knowledge or effort. Release mechanisms
must be maintained in an operable condition. Sleeping rooms and dens with
security coverings must be equipped with smoke alarms installed
inside and outside of each sleeping room/den. (California Fire Code, Section
1029.4; Health & Safety Code 13113.9).
Q: Are electrically operated roll-down shutters that operate only with a switch or
A: No. Roll-down shutters must have an approved manual opening device.
Q: What are the requirements for residences equipped with an automatic fire
A: Fire sprinkler heads with paint on them shall be replaced.
Leaking fire sprinkler heads shall be replaced.
Missing fire sprinkler escutcheons and covers (trim piece) shall be replaced.
Q: How do I schedule a smoke alarm inspection?
A: Inspections are booked online on a first-come, first-served basis. You must
have an escrow number to book an inspection appointment. Cancellations or
rescheduled inspections are not allowed. If an inspection fails, or an inspector
must return for any reason, a new inspection must be scheduled and an
additional fee will be charged. Inspections are valid for six (6) months from the
date of inspection. Book your appointment here:
Q: What information do you need in order to schedule an appointment?
A: The following information is required to schedule your appointment:
- Property address and unit number
- Complex or Development name
- Sellers name and phone number
- Escrow number
- Escrow Officer’s name
- Escrow Company and address
- Realty Company name
- Realtor’s or agent’s name and phone number
- Name and cell number of the person that will be present at the inspection
- Are the smoke detectors connected to an alarm system?
- If a bank is the seller, we need the asset manager’s name and phone number
Q: What days do you conduct smoke detector inspections?
A: Mondays and Fridays with the exception of holidays which may be scheduled
on a different day.
Q: Is there a fee to conduct the inspection?
A: Yes. Please see Fee Schedule
Q: Can I pay at the time of inspection?
A: No. Inspectors are not equipped to take payments at the property.
Q: Do I have to pay in advance?
A: Yes. Smoke alarm inspections must be paid at the time of scheduling by
one of the following methods:
Online Scheduling – credit card required (Visa or MasterCard only)
Cash or checks accepted with walk-in scheduling only.
Credit cards accepted over the phone with the following information:
Credit card number
Type of card (Visa or MasterCard)
Name as it appears on the card
Business name on card?
Phone number as provided to the credit card company
Q: Do you inspect properties in other cities or unincorporated areas of Riverside
A: No. Smoke detector inspections are only conducted in the incorporated areas
of Palm Springs.
Q: What is your inspection cancellation policy?
A: Cancellations or rescheduled inspections are not allowed. If an inspection
fails, or an inspector must return for any reason, a new inspection must be
scheduled and an additional fee will be charged.
Q: If I fail the inspection, do I incur another charge?
A: Yes. The inspection fee includes one trip to the property. Failed inspections
will need to be rescheduled and the required fee paid at the time of
Q: What are some things I do to make sure my property passes inspection?
A: Be on time. Inspectors can only wait a short period of time past your
scheduled appointment time before leaving for their next inspection.
Check the property for properly placed and functioning smoke detectors
before your scheduled inspection.
Bring extra batteries, smoke detectors and installation tools with you to the
inspection. Inspectors typically arrive early and if time permits, can wait while
you make any minor corrections.
Q: Will your inspectors enter the property unaccompanied?
A: No. A representative of the property owner or real estate agent must be
Q: What if my property had a recent smoke alarm inspection?
A: Any property that has had a successful smoke alarm inspection within the
previous 6 months does not have to be inspected again. Please provide the
fire department secretary with your previous escrow number. There is no fee
due for providing your new escrow company with the inspection report.
Q: Does my property require a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm?
A: Yes, beginning July 1, 2011. The State of California passed legislation
requiring single and multi-family dwellings to have a functioning carbon
monoxide alarms if the property uses natural gas for heating or cooking, has a
fireplace, or attached garage.
Q: Where should the carbon monoxide alarms be located?
A: Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed outside all sleeping areas in the
immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Carbon monoxide alarms shall be
installed on each level of the home.
Q: What type of power source is required for carbon monoxide alarms?
A: Either battery, or hardwired, dependent on the year your home was built. In
homes built since January 1, 2013, carbon monoxide alarms must receive
their primary power from the building wiring and shall be equipped with a
battery back-up. All carbon monoxide alarms shall be interconnected so that
operation of any carbon monoxide alarm causes the alarm in all carbon
monoxide alarms within the dwelling to sound.