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State Fire Marshal

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Municipal Fire Code Adoption

​​​By Tom Jenson
Fire Code Specialist

When was the last time you reviewed your city ordinances related to the adoption of the Minnesota State Fire Code (MSFC)? I often review city ordinances after receiving a question from a resident of a particular city and when I do I often find potential issues. Some city codes have not been recently updated. Some haven't been touched for decades. This led to my presentation on municipal code adoption at this year's Fire Marshal Conference in Eagan. Here is a recap of my presentation for those who were unable to attend:

Do you have to adopt the MSFC? No, ​the MSFC was established statewide on October 3, 1975. The best practice for code adoption is to follow Minnesota Statute 299F.011. Also consider including a reference to Minnesota Rule 7511. The Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division (DPS-SFM) has a sample model ordinance when adopting the MSFC.

The sample includes recommendations for designating who is authorized to enforce the code; information regarding any amendments to the fire code; information about required permits and associated fees; and information about penalties for violations and the appeals process.

If you adopt any parts of the appendices in the International Fire Code (IFC) it is very important to closely review the IFC because the majority of the language is more restrictive than the MSFC. An example is fire flow requirements in Appendix B. MSFC Table 507.3 requires only 7,500 gallons of water for a single family home, while Appendix B, Table B105.1(1), requires 60,000 gallons for a 3,600 square foot single-family home. That is eight times more water than required by Chapter 5. And the amounts increase significantly for larger homes. Additionally, Appendix D has more restrictive requirements for apparatus access roads. If there are parts of an appendix you like -- such as turn-around for dead ends -- consider only adopting the desired sections (as opposed to the entire appendix).

Appendix O on grilling at apartments was first developed in 1989 and has not been modified. Amend it to fit the needs of your community. You can also add language on open-burning as these requirements are deleted from Section 307.1.

You might want to consider an ordinance establishing fire lanes and enforcement of the ordinance. MSFC Section 503.3 allows you to require signs but does not contain language sign types and placement. The Edina ordinance is a good example of how to address fire lanes.

Contact the DPS-SFM fire code team at fire.code@state.mn.us if you have any questions.