Fire Prevention Information Bulletins

Panic Hardware, Exit Sign, and Emergency Lighting Suppliers

The following companies sell and install panic hardware:

1. Security Safe and Lock Seattle 206-624-3086

2. Argus Safe and Lock Bellevue 425-451-4012

3. Bulger Safe and Lock Seattle 206-363-8797

The cost ranges from about $250.00 up to $800.00 depending on how elaborate the hardware is, i.e.: alarms, etc.

The following companies sell and install exit signs and emergency lighting:

1. Pacific Coast Industrial Lighting Woodinville 425-481-5001

2. Nelson Electric (installation only) Seattle 206-523-4525

3. Netversant Power Systems Seattle 206-340-1955

Cost for installation of one exit sign or one set of double emergency lights is about $180.00. The cost may be greater based on distance to a power source.

There may be additional companies that provide this equipment. Please check the yellow pages in your phone directory.


Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants are installed and maintained for the protection of the residents and building owners of the community from extended loss by fire. It is important that certain regulations and standards be observed so that the use of the hydrants by the Fire Department is not impaired.

The following regulations, as well as those set forth by the National Fire Protection Association, the American Insurance Association, the Water Departments, and those covered by City/County Ordinance, must be observed to enable this department to function properly without delay.

  • All fire hydrants are to be free of bulkheads, fences, brush, plants, hedges, etc. with at least three feet clearance all around.
  • All fire hydrants are to be free of obstacles in order that the fire hydrant may be seen by approaching fire trucks for at least 200 feet.
  • All hydrants should be painted a color so as to be visible under adverse light and weather conditions. The colors painted on the hydrants are applied by Water Purveyors and are not to be changed except by permission of these departments.
  • All fire hydrants should have at least 15 inches of clearance between the ground and the bottom of the lowest port. This must be figured at finished grade level. The break-away flange must at all times be above the finished grade level.

We thank you for your cooperation.


Chimney Fires and Chimney Sweeps

Chimney fires can be a frightening and sometimes destructive experience. A chimney fire is also something that does not have to occur if you take the right precautions. Here are some ways to avoid them:

  • Use only seasoned, dry wood to build fires in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Build smaller, hotter fires which burn more completely and produce less smoke.
  • Give your fire a generous air supply.
  • NEVER burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash, or Christmas trees in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Consult the stove manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use of your woodstove.
  • Have your chimney cleaned annually by a professional chimney sweep.

If you plan to hire a chimney sweep to inspect or clean your chimney, or to perform any repairs or improvements, here is a checklist of things you should know about the person or company before you hire them:

  • Is he or she a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep? This means they have successfully passed a certificate examination and will have a photo ID badge.
  • Does the company or individual carry a valid business insurance policy to protect your home and furnishings against accidents?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company offer current references? Don’t hesitate to check them.
  • Does the company have unresolved complaints filed with the state consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau?

For further information on chimney safety, including locating a certified chimney sweep in our area, the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website is a good resource.



Unused Underground Residential Heating Oil Tanks (UURHOTS)

The Kirkland Fire Department is frequently asked questions by homeowners concerning the requirements for dealing with their unused underground residential heating oil tanks (UURHOTs) when they switch to another type of home heating. This information bulletin is provided to answer some of the most common questions and concerns regarding these tanks.

There are hundreds of UURHOTS in the City of Kirkland and many of them still contain heating oil. They are typically 200-300 gallons in size and are constructed of bare 12-gauge shell (about 1/8th inch thick - half the thickness of larger commercial tanks). The life of these tanks at best is about 30 years before corrosion makes them prone to leaking. Tanks this old should not be refilled with heating oil, and they should not be considered as usable for any future conversion back to oil heat.

The International Fire Code technically requires that any underground fuel tank which is unused for longer than one year be closed in a manner approved by the Fire Chief. This requirement has always applied to commercial tanks, such as are found at gas stations. Some jurisdictions also require a permit for abandonment or removal of tanks previously used to store fuel oil for residential heating tanks.

However, the City of Kirkland does not require a permit for these types of tanks, which are specifically excluded by in the Kirkland Municipal Code* from permit requirements (see below).

If you need additional information or assistance, please feel free to contact the Kirkland Fire Prevention Bureau at 425-587-3650.

*Kirkland Municipal Code, Title 21 Chapter 21.20.30, IFC Section 105.7.7 amended

Section 105.7.7 of the International Fire Code is amended to read as follows:

A construction permit is required:

1. To repair or modify a pipeline for the transportation of flammable or combustible liquids.

2. To install, construct or alter tank vehicles, equipment, tanks, plants, terminals, wells, fuel-dispensing stations, refineries, distilleries and similar facilities where flammable and combustible liquids are produced, processed, transported, stored, dispensed or used.

3. To install, alter, remove, abandon or otherwise dispose of a flammable or combustible liquid tank.

Exception: A permit is not required for the abandonment or removal of underground storage tanks previously used to store fuel oil for residential heating. It is the property owner’s responsibility to make the decision on how to proceed with abatement.


Developing Your Own Fire Evacuation Plan

Note: This information is NOT intended to be used for the development of the "Emergency Plan in Lieu of Areas of Evacuation Assistance" in new commercial buildings as required by the Kirkland Building Department Policy Number 1.010.)

A Fire Evacuation Plan is a well thought out design that takes into consideration the unique features of your building and its occupants. No one plan will work for every building, but the main components are the same. Fire Department personnel are available to review your fire evacuation plan once it is completed.

 Getting Started

Survey the building

Determine what type of fire and life safety systems are present including fire alarm systems, smoke detectors, voice alarm system, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, manual pull alarms, and fire doors. If your fire alarm system is monitored, be sure to keep the name and phone number of the monitoring company readily available at the fire alarm panel.

If you are not completely familiar with your fire alarm system or other fire protection features, contact your building management or a professional fire protection company to learn more about them.

Survey the building occupants.

Does your building house a changing population, as in a retail store or restaurant, or will the building occupants be familiar with the facility? Note any special needs that individuals may have, such as non-English speaking or physical disabilities.

Developing A Plan

Develop a floor plan.

Design a basic floor plan for each floor of the building. On each floor, indicate the location of all fire exits, manual pull stations, and extinguishing equipment. Post the floor plan throughout the building. Mark "YOU ARE HERE" according to the location of the posted plan. Then, mark the path to the two closest fire exits. Also note that elevators must not be used as a fire exit.

Develop written procedures.

This can be a simple flyer that you distribute to tenants, or a bound document that details the roles of staff and tenants during a fire emergency. This document should be readily available for building occupants and distributed to new staff during orientation.

Assign a meeting place.

Choose an outside location for occupants to meet after evacuating at a distance from the building. In the event of an evacuation, this is a place to assemble and take a head count. The meeting place location should be far enough away from the building to keep individuals out of the way of firefighting activities and away from falling glass and debris.

Implementing The Plan.

Staff or resident meetings, new employee orientations, and building newsletters are effective ways of introducing tenants to a new Fire Evacuation Plan. Explain the routes of evacuation and point out alarms and extinguishing equipment. Let them know where the predetermined meeting place is for each floor or section of the building, if evacuated. Explain the proper procedures for reporting a fire. Stress that elevators cannot be used for evacuation in a fire emergency.

Recruit Floor Wardens.

Floor wardens are volunteers selected from among the building staff and tenants. Their role is to assist in the evacuation of occupants from the building in the event of a fire alarm. Floor wardens are on the front lines of emergency response when a fire occurs. They must be familiar with the building evacuation plan, and should receive training at least annually.

The Kirkland Fire Department can provide assistance in training employees or residents. Contact the Public Education Section at 587-3650.

Reporting Emergencies.

The spread of fire can be very fast. It takes less than three minutes for a free-burning fire to reach temperatures over 1,000°F. Controlling the fire and evacuating everyone safely depends on immediate notification of the emergency to the Fire Department and building security or management personnel.

Post all phones with the Fire Department's emergency number.

In Kirkland, call 9-1-1 for Fire, Medical Aid, or Police. Make sure the address of the building appears on the telephone. If the building manager wants to be notified, the appropriate number should also be listed on or near the phone.

Building occupants should be instructed to call 9-1-1 whenever an emergency occurs.

They should be prepared to state:

a. The type of emergency.

b. The address of the building.

c. The nearest cross street.

d. The extent of the fire and specific information, if known.

The caller should never hang up until told to do so by the emergency operator.

Automatic Fire Alarm Reporting

A common misconception is that all building fire alarms are monitored by the Fire Department. This is not true. When fire alarms are monitored, it is done by private monitoring companies. When such a company receives a signal indicating an alarm has been activated, they in turn notify the appropriate fire department dispatch center. Never make the assumption that a fire alarm will automatically be reported to the Fire Department. Always make sure that a call has been placed directed to 9-1-1 regardless of whether your building is monitored by a private monitoring service.

Fire Alarm Response Procedures

Treat every alarm as an emergency.

In every instance, if an alarm sounds, all building staff and occupants should react as though it is a real emergency.

1. The Fire Safety Director, or responsible staff member, proceeds to the fire alarm panel. Initial evacuation begins immediately upon alarm.

2. Notify the Fire Department by calling 9-1-1.

3. If available, trained building staff members investigate to determine the location of the fire, and take steps to extinguish it if possible.

4. When the Fire Department arrives, the officer in charge takes command of the scene.

5. If building staff determine that the alarm is false prior to the Fire Department's arrival, call 9-1-1 and relay the information to Fire Department dispatchers.

6. Upon instruction of the fire dispatcher, building personnel may silence the alarm. DO NOT RESET THE ALARM!

7. The Fire Department dispatcher will notify the fire companies in route to your building that a false alarm has been indicated. One fire company will continue to your building to verify that the alarm is false. All other fire department response will be canceled.

It is extremely important not to reset the fire alarm when you believe an alarm is false, until directed to do so by the Fire Department. If the alarm is reset prior to Fire Department permission, it may be necessary for the Fire Department to search your building completely to verify the alarm is false.

Procedures for Persons Unable to Use Exit Stairs

If you can move to the exit and have persons to assist you:

 Move to the exit stairwell. Wait until all persons on the floor have evacuated and traffic in the stairwell has cleared. If the stairwell is free of smoke, enter and wait on the stairwell landing. Two people should wait with you, while one person should inform the arriving Fire Department of you location. Make sure that the door is securely closed.

If you are waiting in the exit stairwell and traffic builds from the evacuation of upper floors, reenter your floor to allow others to pass and the stairwell to clear.

If there are too many individuals to wait on the landing, an area of refuge should be sought on that floor, such as an apartment or a room with a door, window, and telephone. Use the fire survival skills described below.

Assistants should not attempt to carry you down the stairs unless conditions in the stairwell become threatening. If conditions deteriorate, the assistants can then perform a carry down the stairs to a safer area.

If you are unable to leave the floor:

 If you do not have persons to wait with you, or if you are unable to leave your unit, refuge should be sought on that floor. The most appropriate location would be a totally enclosed room with a telephone and window. This may be your apartment or an office.

Observe the following survival rules:

Use towels or clothing to block openings around doors or vents where smoke might enter. Put a wet cloth over your mouth and nose.

Place a signal in the window. The signal can be anything that will call attention to your location. For instance, tie the curtains in a knot.

If smoke or fire enters your unit, call 9-1-1 to report your location. Stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.

It is advisable not to open or break windows. Often smoke from the outside of the building can enter through open windows. Breaking windows will put you at great risk to smoke entering from the outside, and will hamper rescue efforts below.

Fire Drills

In a fire drill, building occupants should duplicate as closely as possible the actions they would take if a fire occurred. A log book, indicating the date, time, and section of the building in which the drill is conducted should be kept. If your building fire alarm is monitored, notify the monitoring company of the drill immediately prior to its occurrence. There is no need to notify the Fire Department.

Fire drills may be pre-announced to building staff or occupants, or they may be unannounced. Consideration of the building occupants and the use of the building may determine which type of drill is most appropriate.

Critique your drill.

Check for the following:

Fire brigade members (if present in your facility) were notified and responded appropriately to the fire floor.

Building occupants could clearly hear and understand the alarm and any additional instructions.

Evacuation was completed in an orderly and expedient manner.

Floor wardens guided occupants to safety, completed floor check and reported to building staff or Fire Safety Director upon completion of evacuation.

Disabled persons were assisted appropriately.

Elevators were not used for evacuation.

Establishing a fire scenario.

You may choose to designate a specific location for the drill "fire", and establish a scenario which would alter the basic fire drill procedures. It is best to attempt this type of drill after occupants have become familiar with their standard evacuation procedures. This type of drill may be more interesting to building occupants, as they have to make decisions when they encounter situations apart from the ordinary.

Ideas for fire scenarios:

1. Post signs or locate building staff inside one of the exit stairwells to inform those attempting to enter that the stairwell is blocked by smoke and they must choose a different route.

2. Use a cardboard box decorated with red paper flames, or a flashing light, to indicate where the drill "fire" is located. Have the staff person discovering it show you the correct procedure to follow.

Apathy or lack of participation in fire drills.

You may encounter some building occupants who refuse to participate in fire drills. Problems with frequent alarms in a building may make matters even worse.

Your best tactic in gaining cooperation in drills is to try to explain the advantages of participation. Explain that under real fire conditions, evacuation can be considerably more complicated. Informing employees that liability for their employees increases if they do not allow or encourage participation in the drill may also influence them to participate. If a fire did occur and one of their employees was injured or killed, it is possible they may be named in some legal action because of their lack of support for learning fire safety procedures.

Making the drill more interesting by using a fire scenario, or checking to make sure the drill will be held at a convenient time, may yield better participation. Some buildings hand out candy to occupants as they leave the building to go to their meeting place, to provide an obvious incentive.

Additional Resources

 The Fire Prevention Bureau provides assistance in evacuation planning, as well as resources for training staff and building residents. Call the Fire Department during business hours at 425-587-3650 for further information.



Restaurant Hood and Duct Systems

If you own or operate a restaurant in the City of Kirkland, the Kirkland Bureau of Fire Prevention wants to provide you with the information you need to keep your restaurant kitchen safe.

First, some basic information on commercial hoods:

Type I hoods shall be installed where cooking appliances produce grease or smoke, such as occurs with griddles, fryers, broilers, ovens, ranges and wok ranges.

· Type I hood systems shall be designed and installed to automatically activate the exhaust fan whenever cooking operations occur.

· The activation of the exhaust fan shall occur through an interlock with the cooking appliances, by means of heat sensors or by means of other approved methods.

· A Type 1 hood requires a suppression system to be installed.

Type II hoods shall be installed where cooking or dishwashing appliances produce heat, steam, or products of combustion and do not produce grease or smoke, such as steamers, kettles, pasta cookers and dishwashing machines.

Domestic cooking appliances utilized for commercial purposes shall be provided with either a Type I or Type II hoods as required for the type of appliances and processes

There are some exceptions to the above requirements, so please contact the Kirkland Building Department in order to determine if you have the correct type of hood, or if a hood is required.

Once you have determined that you have the correct type of hood, here are some additional facts regarding ongoing cooking operations at your establishment:

· All grease producing equipment must be located entirely under the hood, so that all vapors can be captured.

· Grease filters in the hood must always be in place when any equipment is in operation under the hood.

· Commercial hoods, fans, and ducts must be cleaned at intervals necessary to prevent the accumulation of grease.

· The frequency of required hood cleaning depends upon the amount and type of cooking done in your establishment. Some restaurants may need to have their hoods cleaned every few weeks, while for others the time between cleanings may be significantly longer.

· Cleanings shall be recorded, and records shall state the extent, time and date of cleaning. Such records shall be maintained on the premises.

· Automatic fire-extinguishing systems associated with Type I hoods shall be serviced at least every 6 months and after activation of the system.

· In the event that you wish to relocate equipment under your hood, it must be done with a permit from both the Kirkland Building and Fire Department. This is to ensure that the hood is adequate to provide coverage and that nozzles in the hood suppression system are located correctly.

Any activity associated with maintenance or inspection of commercial kitchen hoods shall be by qualified individuals, and a certificate of inspection shall be forwarded to the Kirkland Fire Prevention Bureau upon completion.

You may find companies that provides the services listed above by doing a web search on “Hood and Duct Services Seattle”



Service Station/Repair Garages Safety Inspection Tips

Service Station/Repair Garages Safety Inspection Tips

When personnel from the Kirkland Fire Department conduct annual fire safety inspections at automobile service stations or repair garages, some types of violations are commonly noted. The purpose of this bulletin is to provide you with some general information to help you and your employees comply with fire safety regulations so that you are not caught by surprise when our fire inspectors conduct their annual inspection. Please call the Kirkland Fire Prevention Bureau at 425-587-3661 if you have any questions regarding the requirements.

References used are as follows:

Uniform Fire Code, 1997 edition

Article 11, General Fire-Safety Precautions

Section 1108

Article 29, Repair Garages

Article 52, Motor Vehicle Fuel Dispensing Stations

Article 79, Flammable and Combustible Liquids

National Fire Protection Association

NFPA 88B, Standard for Repair Garages


Smoking shall be prohibited except in designated areas subject to the approval of the Fire Marshal. Smoking and open flames are prohibited in areas for servicing internal combustion engines. Conspicuous NO SMOKING signs shall be posted.

Smoking and open flames shall be prohibited in the areas used for fueling with or dispensing of Class I, II or III-A liquids. The motors of vehicles being fueled shall be stopped. Conspicuous signs prohibiting smoking, prohibiting dispensing into unapproved containers, and requiring vehicle motors to be stopped during fueling operations shall be posted within sight of each customer being served. UFC 79.903(d).


Oily rags shall be stored in metal containers equipped with tight-fitting, self-closing covers.


Parts cleaning and degreasing shall be conducted in approved machines which work properly and are in good repair. Solvents must be compatible with the machines in which they are used; Class I liquids such as gasoline are not allowed to be used in parts cleaning machines. Machines with fusible links shall be checked frequently to ensure the link mechanism is in working order. Link mechanisms shall not be altered in any way that would impair proper action.


Combustible rubbish such as cardboard boxes, oil containers, wrappers, etc., shall be stored in approved metal containers or other approved location and shall be removed from the premises on not less than a daily basis.

Floors shall be kept clean and free of oil and grease. Only approved water solutions or detergents, floor sweeping compounds, and grease absorbents shall be used for cleaning floors.


Flammable or combustible liquids, including stock for sale shall not be stored near exit doorways, stairways, or in a location that would impede egress.

Empty tanks and containers previously containing flammable/combustible liquids shall be stored as carefully as full containers. Containers, when emptied, shall have the covers or plugs immediately replaced.


Portable fire extinguishers with a rating of not less than 2A:20BC shall be installed and maintained on the premises. If used (even partially!), extinguishers shall be removed from access and replaced by a functioning extinguisher. A fire extinguisher shall be provided and located such that it is not more than 75 feet from any pump, dispenser, or fill-pipe opening. Clear access shall be maintained to permit ready use of fire fighting equipment

When facilities have fire sprinkler systems or fire alarms, these systems shall be maintained in reliable operating condition at all times. At a minimum, these systems shall receive annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified person or company. A copy of the test certificate shall provide to the Fire Department.


The pump master switch shall be labeled with signs identifying "Emergency Pump Shutoff."


Electrical wiring and equipment shall be installed in a manner which provides reasonable safety to persons and property. Wiring for heat, power, lights, signal, or control circuits, electrically operated tools, and portable appliances shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of the National Electrical Code; all new wiring installations are subject to inspection by the State Electrical Inspector.

Heating equipment shall be of an approved type. Space heaters are prohibited in areas where combustible liquids are stored or handled.


Joe Sanford, Fire Chief


Christmas Trees in Public Buildings