Here is a guide as to what you can do to ensure your place of residence is safe for you as well as fire fighters who may need to enter your home in the event of a fire or emergency:
Los Angeles Fire Code Safety & Evacuation Standards
1. Front Door: Must open fully to allow emergency technicians and stretchers inside the home.
2. Aisles to all rooms: 3 foot clearance, measured with a yardstick. 4 feet to allow EMTs access to be on one of both sides of the stretcher during emergencies and not to fall down.
Reason: firefighters in full gear & stretcher to access all rooms, front and back door, hallways, bedrooms, kitchen, and bathroom.
3. Stacks: under 3 feet high of boxes, clutter, etc on the floor.
4. Ceiling clearance = 2 feet: Nothing should be stacked on top of bookcases.
Reason: To prevent movement/falling during earthquakes.
5. Bookcases, tall furniture, armoires bolted to the wall w/L-brackets.
Reasons: Safety, earthquake protection, and disaster preparedness.
6. All exits must open fully. This means front and back doors can open wide enough for the EMTs to enter and exit with your loved one on their stretcher.
7. Windows need to be clear of stacked boxes to permit healthy room ventilation.
8. Weight load concerns. Multi-story buildings are not prepared for unusually large weight loads in the middle of the room in apartments above the 1st floor. Fire-load pounds/weight limit of 45 lbs/square foot for safety, maintaining building integrity. This is more important for tenants not on the first floor of multi-story buildings.
9. Electrical outlets should only have 3 or 6 plugs in use, according to the outlets capacity. Clearance should be 1 foot at each outlet.
Reason: electrical fires occur from overloaded circuits where too many appliances plugged into overworked outlets can’t safely handle the excess draw of electricity requested.
10. No flammable liquids in the home, such as gasoline, kerosene, etc. (Lighter fluid is OK.)
Reason: Reduce the need for a fire department visit.
11. No open flames (other than stove while cooking.) Fireplace must have 1 foot clearance.
12. Pets? No more pets than can be quickly evacuated in an emergency situation by the owner.
Reason: In a fire, emergency responders won’t have much time looking for too many pets.
13. Working plumbing: toilets, sinks, tub, hot and cold running water
14. Working electrical appliances: stoves, refrigerators, heaters, etc.
Reason: CA Health & Safety Code Section 17920.3 concerns any part of a home where any condition exists that endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public or occupants becomes a substandard building. This section lists about 30 specific items.
15. Heaters. Plug in units are illegal as fire hazards.