The FDNY Bureau of Fire Prevention is the FDNY bureau responsible for permitting and licensing of materials, operations and facilities regulated by the Fire Code and FDNY Rules, and is primarily responsible for enforcing those requirements and other Fire Code provisions regulating the manufacturing, storage, handling use and transportation of hazardous materials, and the design, installation, operation and maintenance of facilities and premises. Fire Prevention has approximately 350 inspectors, including 11 district offices, and conducts thousands of premises inspections each year, including witnessing the tests of critical fire safety systems.
While Fire Prevention inspectors are not responsible for monitoring construction activities generally, they do conduct inspections at construction, demolition and abatement sites throughout New York City in connection with various materials, operations and facilities regulated by the Fire Code and FDNY Rules, such as torch operations and the use of flammable and combustible liquids and compressed gases.
Some Fire Prevention units inspect buildings at the conclusion of their construction to ensure that such critical fire safety systems as fire alarm systems and commercial cooking fire extinguishing systems are operational and in good working order.
Organization of the Bureau of Fire Prevention
The Bureau of Fire Prevention includes the following specialized units responsible for performing the inspectional duties indicated:
These offices conduct annual inspections citywide relating to the manufacture, storage handling, and use of hazardous materials, including flammable and combustible liquids and compressed gases. Its inspections include the review of flammable paint-spraying operations, motor fuel and fuel oil storage systems, large-capacity refrigerating systems and commercial cooking equipment.
Fire Suppression Unit
Standpipe and Sprinkler System Tests. This unit witnesses the five-year tests of sprinkler and standpipe systems, including the five-year flow tests of residential sprinkler systems and performance testing of gaseous, chemical and non-water fire suppression systems. It processes sprinkler installation recommendations from fire companies and evaluates sprinkler removal requests filed with DOB. It also inspects the facilities of portable fire extinguisher servicing company certificate applicants.
Hazardous Cargo Vehicle Inspections. This unit inspects vehicles used for local deliveries of hazardous materials, and issues permits for such vehicles. It also authorizes the transportation of explosives and fireworks within New York City, and arranges escorts for such materials.
Hazard Control Unit
Blasting/Special Effects Inspections
This unit performs inspections, and issues permits for construction and demolition blasting using explosives, fireworks displays and entertainment-industry special effects.
Bulk Fuel Safety Inspections
This unit performs inspections of new motor fuel storage system installations, including compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations. It also peforms inspections of new flammable and combustible liquid storge systems at bulk plants and terminals.
This unit performs inspections of and issues permits for medical gas systems and chemical labs in hospitals, research centers, schools and commercial establishments. It also issues permits for bulk (tank) chemical storage and inspects interstate and intrastate petroleum pipelines delivering fuel to bulk oil terminals and airports.
Central Station Inspection Unit
This unit performs annual inspections of all private fire alarm central stations, from which fire alarms in commercial buildings, hotels and other premises are received and retransmitted to FDNY’s communications offices.
Fire Alarm Inspection Unit
This unit inspects fire alarm, smoke detection and emergency voice communication systems in office buildings, hotels, hospitals, schools, and other premises, to ensure that they have been installed and are operating as required by the Building Code and the Fire Code.
Public Safety Inspection Unit
This unit annually inspects high-rise office buildings and hotels, and is responsible for enforcing Local Law 5’s requirements for fire safety in high-rise office buildings. It also schedules and conducts on-site examinations for Fire Safety Directors certificates of fitness.
Places of Assembly Inspections
This unit conducts annual inspections of places of assembly (occupancies that accommodate 75 or more persons), including movie theaters, cabarets, restaurants and catering establishments.
Public Buildings Inspections
This unit conducts inspections of such institutions as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, colleges, day care centers, day camps, group homes, shelters, prisons and foster care facilities.
Technology Management Unit
Commercial Cooking Fire Extinguishing System Inspections
This unit reviews commercial cooking fire extinguishing system plans and inspects them to ensure that they have been installed and are operating as required by the Fire Code. Such systems are located in such occupancies as restaurants, hospitals and hotels.
Fire Protection Plan Unit
This unit reviews the fire protection plan required to be filed for office buildings by the Building Code. It reviews the plans for such premises as they relate to the communications, sprinkler, standpipe, HVAC and smoke detector systems and elevator recall. It also inspects construction sites to confirm that the building systems conform to the fire protection plan.