Fire Bylaw 12472
The Fire Bylaw regulates fire safety in homes and communities.
On this page, read a summary of regulations about:
- Assembly or establishment occupancy limits
- Carbon monoxide alarms
- Exterior means of egress structures
- False fire alarms
- Fire and exit doors
- Fire protection systems
- Flammable and combustible liquids
- Smoke alarms
- Underground storage tanks
- Vacant buildings
For details, refer to the Fire Bylaw, Division B, Article 188.8.131.52.
For your safety, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services enforces a limit on the number of people who may assemble in the same premises, and for any establishment that serves licensed beverages.
The limit to the number of occupants is determined by factors related to the floor layout, width of exits, furniture arrangements, and lighting. For your convenience, download and complete the Occupancy Load Regulations and Calculation package below.
Every dwelling unit in the City needs to have CO alarms installed, if the dwelling unit:
- Has an attached garage
- Has a fuel-fired (natural gas, fuel oil, diesel) appliance (furnace, hot water tank, stove, fireplace)
- Shares a common floor or wall with a parking garage, or a service room containing a fuel-fired appliance
CO alarms can be battery-powered, electrically plugged-in type, or hard-wired. They must be CSA listed.
If hard-wired or electrically plugged-in type, ensure the CO alarm is not connected to an electrical circuit that has an on/off switch, other than at the circuit-breaker.
Where a dwelling unit requires a CO alarm, the CO alarm must be installed either inside each bedroom or outside each bedroom within 5 m of the bedroom door, measured following corridors and doorways.
The manufacturer’s instructions are to be followed for the height of installation of the device. In the absence of manufacturer’s instructions, they are to be installed on or near the ceiling (within 150 mm).
Property owners are responsible for maintaining means of egress including exterior stairs, landings, passageways, and fire escapes in good repair.
Effective June 25, 2020, all buildings over 3 storeys in height other than single-family houses and duplexes with or without secondary suites are required to have professional structural engineers engaged in the inspection, testing, and repair of exterior means of egress. Each exterior means of egress structure must have a weather-resistant tag visible from the ground level which indicates whether the structure is safe to use, use with caution, or is unsafe to use.
For more information on structural assessments on exterior means of egress, read bulletin 2020-001-FI PDF file (306 KB).
A false alarm is when:
- A fire alarm system, security system, or similar system that's designed to notify the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Service of a fire or emergency is activated,
- VFRS is notified directly or indirectly,
- VFRS attends, and
- There is no evidence of a fire or emergency.
In most instances, false alarms are caused by alarm testing, mechanical failure, atmospheric conditions, or mischief.
Other than mischief calls, VFRS will charge a $200 service fee for attending the third and subsequent false fire alarm occurring in one calendar year.
When false fire alarms are caused by a person found to have mischievous or malicious intent, that person can be fined a municipal ticket costing a minimum $500.
- Fire and exit doors shall be equipped with self closing devices.
- Fire and exit doors shall properly close and latch.
- Fire and exit doors shall not be locked to prevent exit.
- Fire doors shall be properly labelled in capital letters a minimum of 6 mm in height. Use the text: FIRE DOOR - KEEP CLOSED
- Suite doors shall be equipped with self closing devices and shall properly close and latch.
- No wedges, blocks, or other devices are permitted to hold doors open. Magnetic hold open devices (with permit) are allowed.