Fire Department Frequently Asked Questions
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Fire Department Frequently Asked Questions
Does my business require a Fire Department Permit

It may.

A permit constitutes permission to:
-maintain, store, use or handle materials;
-conduct processes that produce conditions hazardous to life and property;
-install equipment used in connection with such activities.

Over 50 items or conditions require a permit at a cost of a $80. The best way to determine if a permit is required is to contact the Fire Prevention Division.

What is the process to submit fire sprinkler and fire alarm plans, and what will it cost?

Four sets each of all plans must be submitted to the Building Inspection Division of the Community Development Department. Fees are based on the valuation of all construction work for which the permit is issued and are taken from Table No. 3-A of the Universal Building Code (UBC); plan review fees are based on 65% of the building permit fee. For complete fees call the Building Division at (650) 286-3227.

What is the average turnaround time for Fire Department plan review?

Small projects normally require 3-5 working days; larger projects normally require 10 working days. These estimates are based on accepting complete submittals.

How much advance notice is required when calling for an inspection by the Fire Department?

Required inspections are conducted Monday through Friday and can normally be completed within 48 hours of the request.

My insurance company wants information about the water pressure in the fire sprinkler systems in Foster City. Who can I contact?

Contact the Public Works Department at (650) 286-3270 for any information about the water pressure in Foster City.

How does my fire extinguisher work?

Portable fire extinguishers apply an agent that will cool burning fuel, restrict or remove oxygen or interfere with the chemical reaction so a fire cannot continue to burn.

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Consider where you might need fire extinguishers by identifying hazardous areas where fires are likely to start and what type of fire could occur in each area.

Extinguishers should be kept in a handy location but remote from the anticipated fire area. Everyone in the family should know where they are and how to use them.

An ABC fire extinguisher will extinguish all three classes of fire and is the best type to have in your home. Check your fire extinguisher for detailed instructions on how to operate your particular type.

For fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, upholstery, or plastics, you can use water to extinguish the fire or a dry chemical extinguisher. For fires fueled by flammable liquids and gasses, kitchen greases, paint, oil, kerosene, gasoline or fires involving live electrical equipment or wires use a dry chemical or carbon dioxide extinguisher. If possible, cut off the power to electrical equipment first. Never use water on these types of fires.

What is the best material to use when considering replacing my home's roof?

Foster City requires that roofing materials be of Class C fire rating or better. Wood shingles or shakes may be used to repair an existing roof if the manufacturer has treated the new shakes/shingles with fire retardants; however, wood shakes/shingles are not recommended for a new roof because of the potential for fire loss. The Community Development Department must issue a permit and approve all roofing materials.

Where should I place smoke detectors in my home?

Where you place smoke detectors depends on the size and layout of your home, and where people sleep in your home. Since the primary job of a smoke detector is to awaken sleeping persons and warn them of urgent danger, put a detector in each sleeping room and place additional detector(s) in the hallway or area by the bedrooms within five feet of the door to these rooms. In a house where the bedrooms are upstairs, one additional detector should be near the top of the stairs to the bedroom area.

Don't put detectors within six inches of where walls and ceilings meet, or near heating and cooling ducts. Detectors located in these areas may not receive the flow of smoke required to activate the alarm.

In homes with more than one sleeping area on the same level or on different levels, a smoke detector should be installed to protect each separate sleeping area. For example, in a one-floor plan with only one sleeping area, the smoke detectors should be placed as shown.

In homes with more than one sleeping area on the same level or on different levels (top), smoke detectors should be installed to protect each separate sleeping area and in each sleeping room.

Smoke detectors don't need much attention, regular testing and prompt replacement of batteries is all that is needed. Batteries will last approximately one year. If your battery-powered detector begins to emit its low-power warning sound (usually short beeps), remove the weak battery and replace it immediately with a fresh one. Have a new battery on hand always. However, if you neglect these requirements, your detector won't do its job if a fire starts.

Feel free to contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 650-286-3350 for assistance with proper placement of smoke detectors.

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200