Fire Prevention & Life Safety

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Senate Bill 1069 

Approved Accessory Dwelling Units - 1200 square feet or less

Accessory Dwelling Unit constructed on lots with an existing sprinklered primary residence:

a) Attached to main residence – fire sprinklers required

b) Detached from main residence – fire sprinklers required

Accessory Dwelling Unit constructed on lots with an existing non-sprinklered primary residence:

a) Attached to main residence and is less than 50% of the existing sq ft. of the primary residence – fire sprinklers not required

b) Detached from main residence and is less than or equal to 1,200 sq-ft. – fire sprinklers not required

Permits & Inspections 

The Santa Cruz Fire Department provides Permits & Inspections for all specialized fire detection and suppression systems, as well as tent permits, fire dancing permits and other special event permits.   

Submit a minimum of two sets of plans to the Admin office located at 230 Walnut Ave.  We do not require an application.  Our plan review turn- around is up to 12 working days.  Call 831-420-5280 if you have any further questions.

Fire Prevention Standards

Ordering a Knox Box

Visit Knox-Box Rapid Entry System to purchase a knox box.  Choose your item and the search Santa Cruz.  Make sure to choose Santa Cruz Fire Dept at 230 Walnut Ave.  If you choose another department, our key will not work.  Any questions call our Fire Admin office at 831-420-5280

Residential Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements 

  • Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in accordance with the 2010 California Residential Code (CRC).
  • All alarms shall comply with requirements for listing and approval by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Cal Fire Solar PV Installation Guidelines

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (CAL FIRE-OSFM), local Fire Departments (FD), and the solar photovoltaic industry have developed a guideline for installations to increase public safety for all structures equipped with solar photovoltaic systems.   

Business Fire Safety Inspection Program

The fire safety inspection program is to safeguard to a reasonable degree life and property from the hazards of fire and explosion arising from the storage, handling and use of hazardous substances, materials and devices and from conditions hazardous to life or property in the use or occupancy of buildings or premises. 

Fire Safety Complaints

  • For all complaints please call our administration office at 420-5280.  
  • We investigate fire safety complaints, including weed complaints. 
  • We are not able to look over fences, climb fences, enter a back yard unless the resident is present and we have their permission. 
  • If the site is determined to be a fire hazard, a safety notice will be issued. 

Weed Abatement

  • The Weed Abatement program is strictly for vacant lots and runs each year, in Spring and Summer.
  • In early April, owners of all vacant lots in the city are contacted about the need to mow/abate the weeds and overgrowth on their lots before May 15th.  
  • If lots are not mowed, a private contractor will be assigned to mow the lot between May 15th and June 15th, sometimes later depending on the year. The owner will be charged for the contractors’ work, plus a $100.00 administrative fee on your property tax bill.
  • Properties with structures are not part of the weed abatement program, but if weeds are dry and deemed a fire hazard, we will ask the property owner to cut their weeds.

Recreational or Warming Fire

  • Allowed every day - unless there is high wildfire danger.
  • A warming recreational fire is an outdoor fire, burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet (914 mm) or less in diameter and 2 feet (610 mm) or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.
  • Recreational Fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material.  Conditions which would cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.
  • There are no restrictions to indoor fireplace or wood stove burning within City limits.
  • There are no restrictions for the use of BBQ's or grills within City limits.  
  • Fires are not allowed on any City Beaches. 

Outside Backyard Burning

  • The annual backyard burning season has ended.
  • Burn permits are $55.
  • Residents must follow burning guidelines and maintain control of their fire at all times.
  • Burn permits are required for all burning projects and must be completed between the hours of 8 am to 4 pm.
  • Property owners may be held liable if a fire escapes their control and/or burns the property of a neighbor.
  • Permits will only be issued to property owners.

Sky Lanterns are Prohibited in California

Sky Lanterns are made from combustible materials such as paper bags or light fabrics which then take flight by the heat from an open flame candle. These devices are a fire safety hazard and we prohibit their use. These lanterns can travel through the air and come down in areas that can catch fire. The use of Sky Lanterns is prohibited by several laws and codes including the Health and Safety Code, T-19 Public Safety Code, the Public Resources Code, and the International Fire Code.

What are the primary threats to homes during a wildfire?

The Firewise USA Website of the NFPA provides Wildfire Risk Reduction Steps to make your home safer during a wildfire.  

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