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State Fire Marshal's Office Programs

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) provides many services to provide safety to life and property from fire for the citizens of the Commonwealth. A listing of programs is below.

Adult Care Residences: Annual inspections of adult care and assisted living facilities are mandated by the Code of Virginia §9.1-207. In all areas without local enforcement of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC), those inspections are done by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Additional information can be found at the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Child Care Facilities: The State Fire Marshal’s Office is mandated by the Code of Virginia §63.2-1716 to inspect childcare facilities operated by religious institutions, which are exempt from licensure by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), if not inspected by local fire officials. Through a Memorandum of Agreement with the VDSS, the SFMO inspects licensed childcare centers in localities where there is not a fire official. Additional information on licensed and religious exempt child care facilities is available on the Virginia Department of Social Services Web site.

Consulting Services: The SFMO provides assistance to fire and building officials, architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners and occupants with items relative to the SFPC, or the fire safety provisions of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC), including referenced standards. With limited resources, many small, local governments rely heavily on this assistance for the proper application of, and conformance with the USBC and SFPC.

Critical Infrastructure and Key Asset (CIKA): The SFMO makes periodic inspections of CIKA buildings which are buildings of a critical nature that if they were lost would be extremely difficult to replace, would present a risk to the safety of the citizens and visitors to the Commonwealth, or reduce the ability of fire, rescue, and police services in the Commonwealth to respond to or mitigate emergencies, and present the possibility of a large loss of life and injury from an occurrence of fire, explosion, natural disaster, or terrorism. CIKA buildings are not intended to replicate those of Homeland Security but include those that are critical in protecting life and property within the Commonwealth from all hazard events.

Explosives: As required by the Code of Virginia §27-97, the SFMO issues permits for the storage, use, and sale of explosives in areas with no local enforcement. This includes investigation of complaints.

Fee Based Inspection Programs: The SFMO has been authorized to collect permit fees for inspections of several occupancy classifications. The fee schedules are located in Section 107.12 of the 2012 Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code

Hospitals: The SFMO inspects hospitals annually in areas of the state that do not have local enforcement of the SFPC.

Hospitals and Nursing Homes: The State Fire Marshal’s Office is under contract with the Virginia Department of Health to inspect primarily hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health facilities for conformance with the appropriate section of the National Fire Prevention Association 101, Life Safety Code. The SFMO is reimbursed with federal money from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This program allows the SFMO to ensure additional fire safety is provided in a large number of high-risk facilities. Note, facilities in localities enforcing the Statewide Fire Prevention Code through a local fire official also may receive fire safety inspections from those local officials. Additional information on this program can be found at the Virginia Department of Health and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Local Jails: In accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement with the Virginia Department of Corrections, the State Fire Marshal’s Office annually inspects local and regional jails in areas with no local enforcement of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. This is done as part of the certification of the jails. For additional information on the certification of local jails, see the Virginia Department of Corrections Web site.

Night Clubs: The SFMO annually inspects nightclubs in areas of the state do not have local enforcement of the SFPC.

Other State Buildings: The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is mandated by the Code of Virginia §36-98.1, to provide assistance to the Department of General Services on the fire protection and prevention provisions of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC). This includes plans review, consultative assistance, and construction inspections for conformance with the fire safety provisions of the USBC. Additional information on State buildings can be found at the Department of General Services.

Public Schools: Annual inspections of public schools are mandated by the Code of Virginia §9.1-207. In areas that do not have local enforcement of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC), these inspections are done by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. To Additional information on public and private schools can be found at the Virginia Department of Education.

Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity (RCIP): As of July 2014 VDFP assumed full responsibility for the RCIP program as the administration and enforcement activities of the program was transferred to VDFP from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The SFMO reviews and approves certificates of testing from manufacturers and conducts inspection of retail establishment to ensure cigarette packages are stamped in accordance with statutory requirements. Fire Standard Compliant Cigarette Certification

Requests and Complaints: The SFMO responds to complaints and requests for State Fire Prevention Code inspections in localities that do not have local enforcement.

Seat of Government Buildings: The SFMO has been authorized to inspect state owned buildings at the seat of government. These are the state buildings located in Richmond, or near the Capital Square area, and includes all of the state high rise buildings in that area.

State Colleges and Universities: The Code of Virginia §9.1-207 mandates annual inspections for all student residence facilities (dorms) owned, leased, or otherwise operated by a state college or university. These inspections are done annually by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

State Owned Residential Care Buildings: The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is mandated by the Code of Virginia §9.1-207, to complete annual fire safety inspections of state owned residential care buildings. These inspections include primarily correctional and mental health facilities. Additional information on mental health facilities can be found at the Department of Behavioral Health & Development Services and Department of Corrections Web sites. 

Private Colleges and University Dormitories: The SFMO inspects private college and university dormitories annually in areas of the state that do not have local enforcement of the SFPC.

Private Schools: The SFMO will inspect private schools annually in areas of the state do not have local enforcement of the SFPC. Additional information on public and private schools can be found at the Virginia Department of Education.

Public Service and Education: The SFMO develops and presents educational programs for college administrators, fire service organizations, building official groups, inspectors, school teachers, and other client groups. The SFMO makes public service announcements through the news and electronic media to include product danger warnings. These warnings include the danger of fire works and Christmas trees during the appropriate holidays. Additional fire safety information can be found at the Virginia Fire and Life Safety Coalition and at the U.S. Fire Administration.

For more information, contact: or (804) 371-0220.

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Last Updated: Monday, September 19, 2016