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Fire Inspection & Plan Review

Fire Inspections

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) has statutory authority to conduct fire and life safety inspections in childcare, health care, and residential care facilities that are applying for a new license or renewal of an existing license through the Department of Early Learning (DEL), Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), or Department of Health (DOH). All licensed care facilities may request a fire and life safety class on how to comply with maintenance requirements. Facility administrators may receive continuing education credits.

  • Childcare Facilities

    Orientations/Consultations
    DEL provides an orientation for regulatory and licensing information regarding licensing of childcare centers. DEL may invite the SFMO to these consultations/orientations.

    Inspection Information
    These inspections are completed upon request from the DEL for new licenses, changes to an existing license or when DEL feels there has been a critical change or safety concern of childcare facilities. DEL will not issue a license without an approved fire inspection from the SFMO.

    Childcares will be inspected to the state adopted International Fire Codes. Once a request for inspection has been received from DEL, an inspection will be scheduled. Critical assessment inspections are unannounced. An inspection document will be provided for both the initial and follow-up if a follow-up is required. If there is an appeal of the violations WAC 212-12 outlines this process.

    Required Documents for Inspection
    A certificate of occupancy or letter from the local authority having jurisdiction designating the space with appropriate use and legible floor plan.

  • Healthcare Facilities

    Inspection Information
    These inspections are completed in coordination with the DSHS or DOH survey teams. The facilities that fall into this category are Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, End Stage Renal Dialysis and Hospice Care facilities.

    Inspections
    Healthcare facilities are inspected to the 2012 Life Safety and Health Care Codes. Nursing Homes are inspected on average annually. Hospitals receive inspection approximately every 18 months and the Ambulatory Surgical Centers are inspected upon request of DOH. All of these inspections are unannounced.

    Plan of Correction (POC)
    A POC is prepared by the facility to address code citations received.

    Informal Dispute Resolution (IDR)
    IDRs are used when a facility would like to informally challenge a code citation. Unless you become entitled to a federal administrative hearing following imposition of a federal remedy, this is the only opportunity to challenge the Life Safety Code deficiencies described on the enclosed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Form 2567L.

  • Residential Care Facilities

    Inspection Information
    These inspections are completed upon initial licensing, complaint or on an annual basis for Assisted Living Facilities, Group Homes, and Residential Treatment Facilities. Residential care facilities are inspected annually except for group homes which are inspected every three years.

    Inspections
    Residential Care facilities are inspected to the state adopted International Fire Codes. Inspection documents are provided to the facilities upon completion of inspection. If a follow-up inspection is needed to correct violations, these are normally completed approximately 30 days later unless an extension is requested. Once a facility has an approved inspection, the licensing authority (either DSHS or DOH) will be notified. If the facility wishes to appeal the cited violation(s), WAC 212-12 outlines this process.

  • Informal Dispute Resolution (IDR)

    To request an informal dispute resolution meeting (IDR), please send your written request to the SFMO with a courtesy copy to DSHS:

    Washington State Patrol
    State Fire Marshal’s Office
    Attention: CDSFM
    PO Box 42642
    Olympia, WA 98504-2642

    Department of Social and Health Services
    Residential Care Services
    Attention: Nursing Home IDR Program
    PO Box 45600
    Olympia, WA 98504-5600

    If you request an IDR, you must still submit a POC within the time limits described above.

    The written request should:

    • Identify the specific deficiencies that are disputed;
    • Explain why you are disputing the deficiencies;
    • Indicate the type of dispute resolution process you prefer (face-to-face, telephone conference, or documentation review);
    • Specify if an alternate Field Manager is preferred;
    • Include a copy of the CMS 2567L;
    • Be sent during the same 10 calendar days you have for submitting a POC for the cited deficiencies; and
    • Include a copy of the LSC survey CMS form 2567L.

    During the informal process you have the right to present written and/or oral evidence refuting the deficiencies. An incomplete review and dispute resolution process will not delay the effective date of any enforcement action.

  • Right of Appeals for State Cited Facilities

    Step 1: Administrative Appeal
    A facility will have an opportunity to dispute cited deficiencies with a chief deputy state fire marshal. The purpose of this informal process is to give the facility an opportunity to refute cited deficiencies after an inspection. A written request with an explanation of the specific deficiencies that are being disputed shall be submitted within ten days of receipt of the correction notice.

    All submittals shall be sent to:

    Washington State Patrol
    State Fire Marshal’s Office
    Attention: CDSFM
    P.O. Box 42642
    Olympia, WA 98504-2642

    If a facility is successful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the chief deputy state fire marshal will remove or make the appropriate corrections to the citation. If a facility is unsuccessful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the facility will be notified in writing that the citation will remain unchanged. The facility will then have the option to proceed to step #2 in the administrative appeal process.

    Step 2: Administrative Appeal
    If a facility is not satisfied with the decision made during the administrative appeal (step 1), they may appeal the decision in writing within seven days of receipt of the written decision to the prevention division assistant state fire marshal. If a facility is successful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the assistant state fire marshal will remove or make the appropriate corrections to the citation. If a facility is unsuccessful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the facility will be notified in writing that the citation will remain unchanged. The facility will then have the option to proceed to step #3 in the administrative appeal process.

    Step 3: Administrative Appeal
    If a facility is not satisfied with the decision made during the administrative appeal (step 2), they may appeal the decision in writing within seven days of receipt of the written decision to the director of fire protection. If a facility is successful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the director of fire protection will remove or make the appropriate corrections to the citation. If a facility is unsuccessful in demonstrating that a deficiency should not have been cited, the facility will be notified in writing that the citation will remain unchanged.

    Step 4: Agency Action
    This is a final agency action.

Fire Safety & Training

The following classes can be sponsored at your facility or by the SFMO at an offsite location. Classes can also be provided after or during an inspection.

  • Fire Safety for Licensed Care Facilities Class (3-Hour Class)

    This class is provided at no charge to state licensed facilities by the SFMO. DSHS has approved and accredited this training program for 3 continuing education (3 CEs/CE123998) credits that can used to meet a long term care worker’s CE requirements. Class instruction includes lessons on fire protection features of buildings, fire prevention and code deficiencies, emergency management, fire drills and evacuation.

  • Special Focus Class

    A special focus is a 20-30 minute class that can be on any number of topics. Current topics include: Facility maintenance staff document review, fire drills, disaster preparation, and fire extinguisher training.

  • Benefits of Class

    After taking the Fire Safety for Licensed Care Facilities class, facilities have shown a 53% decrease in violations:

    • Learn skills to improve the outcome of your next Fire and Life Safety inspection.
    • Enhance safety for residents, staff and visitors.
    • Participants receive three CE contact hours.
    • Facilities receive free materials to help establish a training program and policies.

  • How-To Schedule a Class

    To schedule a class, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office by e-mailing Inspections@wsp.wa.gov or SFMOPlanReview@wsp.wa.gov.

Plan Review

The SFMO provides plan review and inspection services of state funded public school construction projects. The SFMO only provides these services when a local jurisdiction does not have access locally. All fire and life safety plan review projects for fire and life safety are conducted in accordance with the state adopted International Codes.

  • Plan Review Program

    The Plan Review Program assists and collaborates with the local fire jurisdictions in performing the following:

    • Pre-construction meetings with school project managers, architects, general contractors, and others;
    • Plan reviews and site inspections of newly constructed public schools; and
    • Plan review of Fire Protection Systems; including fire sprinkler, fire alarm, and kitchen hood systems.

  • Inspection Contracts

    The SFMO will provide these services contractually to any and all local jurisdictions that may not have the time, availability, or perhaps the resources to provide these functions.