Fire Prevention & Life Safety

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Senate Bill 1069 

Are Fire Sprinklers required in Accessory Dwelling Units?

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, less than or equal to 1,200 square feet – 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 or equal to 1,200 sq-ft. and less than or equal to 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

Accessory Dwelling Unit with attached carport and/or attached garage shall be protected by fire sprinklers. 

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.   

Fee Schedule - 7/1/2017

Fee Schedule - 1/1/2018

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 all 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.
  • Fires are not allowed on any City Beaches. 

Outside Backyard Burning

  • The annual backyard burning season ended April 30th, 2018.
  • Burn permits are $52.
  • 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.

Child Seat Safety

Child Seat Safety Inspection Sites (by appointment only)

  • California Highway Patrol 831-662-0511 
  • Santa Cruz City Fire Department 831-420-5280
  • Scotts Valley Fire Protection District 831-438-0211 
  • Watsonville Fire Department 831-768-3209 
  • Dominican Hospital Monthly events 
  • For most agencies, please schedule car seat appointments 4-6 weeks in advance

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation & AED Training

The Santa Cruz Fire Department does not provide CPR training to the public.  Please see our list of CPR Providers.   

Living with Fire in Santa Cruz County

After the Fire

  • When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact. 
  • This 16-page booklet provides information on recovering from a fire, including what to do during the first 24 hours, insurance considerations, valuing your property, replacement of valuable documents, salvage hints, fire department operations, and more. 

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