|Fire Marshal's Office
City Hall Annex Room 208
10455 Armstrong Street
Fairfax, VA 22030
Hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm weekdays
A safety message from the Fire Marshal
Several hazardous conditions can be created when basement areas are converted into sleeping space. The City Fire Marshal wants you to be aware of these conditions and to be "Safe at Home."
The City Fire Code requires two exits from all bedrooms. The second "emergency" exit may be a door or a window. If a window is used to provide the emergency exit, it must be constructed in accordance with the code. The window must provide an opening of at least 5.7square feet, and the sill must be within 44" of the floor. The window must open easily from the inside, without the need for a key or tools. If the window has security bars, they must be able to open from the inside without a key or tools. If your basement has a door that leads directly outside, this can also be the second exit.
Other important safety requirements also apply to bedrooms. A smoke detector is required in the vicinity of every bedroom, even in older homes. New homes and additions are required to have a smoke detector in every bedroom. Fuel fired appliances, such as gas water heaters and gas or oil furnaces, are not permitted in bedrooms or in closets within bedrooms. Many basement bedrooms do not meet this requirement.
Room size is also important. A bedroom for one person must have at least 70 square feet of floor area. A bedroom used by more than one person must have at least 50 square feet for each person. A bedroom cannot have a door that goes directly to a garage.
Most people feel safe in their homes. The tragic fact is that most fires occur in homes rather than in businesses. Office buildings, factories, stores, restaurants and other businesses must be inspected on a regular basis. Please take a few minutes to check out your home and make sure there are two ways out of every bedroom.
For further information, please call the Office of Code Administration at 703.385.7830 or email.