Smoke Alarm Inspections FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

 Palm Springs Fire Department

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Inspection

Program

 

 

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

     sound.

 

     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

      alarm?

 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

     alarms.

 

 

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

      remote-control compliant?

 A:  No.  Roll-down shutters must have an approved manual opening device.

 

 

Q:  What are the requirements for residences equipped with an automatic fire

      sprinkler system?

 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:

         

                           https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/43p9qqyy/  

 

 

 

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. $106.00 – One Hundred-Six Dollars

 

 

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)

     Expiration date

     Name as it appears on the card

     Business name on card?

     Billing address

     Phone number as provided to the credit card company

 

 

Q:  Do you inspect properties in other cities or unincorporated areas of Riverside

     County?

 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

     scheduling.

 

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

     present.

 

 

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.