Los Angeles Fire Code
Division 9

Access, hydrants, and fire flow requirements

SEC. 57.09.01.  SCOPE.

     This division regulates Fire Department access, fire hydrants, and fire-flow. Fire hydrant and fire-flow requirements are based upon land use. Also included are minimum requirements for Supplemental Fire Protection based on Fire Department response time capabilities, personnel, apparatus availability, and fire-flow.

SEC. 57.09.02.  DEFINITIONS.

     Access Road - A way designated for vehicular travel which provides access from the public street or alley to buildings or structures upon the premises.

     Fire-flow - The quantity of water available or needed for fire protection in a given area. Fire-flow is normally measured both in gallons per minute G.P.M. and duration of flow.

     Fire Lane - A roadway which is required to provide access for Fire Department apparatus and which conforms to all requirements of this division.

     Supplemental Fire Protection - Equipment and systems, and the arrangement and alterations of such equipment and systems not otherwise required in the Los Angeles Municipal Code which are accepted in lieu of or are required in addition to compliance with the specific requirements of this division as determined by the Chief.

SEC. 57.09.03.  FIRE DEPARTMENT ACCESS.

     A. Any person owning or having control of any facility, structure, group of structures or premises shall provide and maintain Fire Department access in accordance with provisions of this section.

     B. If any portion of the first story exterior walls of any building structure is more than 150 feet from the edge of the roadway of an approved street, an approved fire lane shall be provided so that such portion is within 150 feet of the edge of the fire lane.

     EXCEPTION:

An entrance to any dwelling unit or guest room shall not be more than 150 feet in distance of horizontal travel from the edge of roadway of an improved street or approved fire lane.

     C. When required access is provided by an improved street, fire lane or combination of both which results in a dead-end in access of 700 feet in length from the nearest cross street, at least one additional ingress-egress roadway shall be provided in such a manner that an alternative means of ingress-egress is accomplished.

     D. Where fire lanes are required under Subsection B of this section to provide access for Fire Department emergency vehicles, and such fire lanes are other than access roads, they shall be granted to the City without cost as easements from a public street or alley to the required terminal point. Provided, however, that the easement requirement may be waived, unless otherwise required by the General Plan of the City of Los Angeles, where the Department determines that the acquisition of an easement is not necessary for the protection of the public safety and welfare. Fire lanes shall be designated and maintained as follows:

     1.  Fire lanes shall have a minimum clear roadway width of 20 feet when no parking is allowed on either side.

     2.  Those portions of a fire lane which must accommodate the operation of Fire Department aerial ladder apparatus shall have a minimum clear roadway width of 28 feet when no parking is allowed on either side.

     3.  Those portions of a fire lane 30 feet on either side of a private fire hydrant shall have a minimum clear roadway width of 28 feet.  No parking shall be permitted within those portions of the roadway which are within 30 feet of and on the same side of the roadway as a private fire hydrant.  (Amended by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.

     4.  Where parking is allowed on only one side of a required fire lane parking shall be on the same side of the roadway as the hydrants.

     5.  Where parallel parking is allowed on either side of a fire lane, the roadway width shall be increased eight feet for each parking lane.  (Amended by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.)

     6.  Where access requires accommodate of Fire Department apparatus, overhead clearance shall not be less than 14 feet.

     7.  Dead-end fire lanes shall terminate in cul-de-sacs or other approved turning areas consistent with the Department of Public Works Standard Street Dimension Plan D-22549.  (Amended by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.)

     8.  Fire lanes shall be paved to the City Engineer’s standards for public alleys.

SEC. 57.09.04.  FIRE LANE MAINTENANCE.

     (Amended by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.)

     Any person owning or having control of any facility, structure, group of structures or premises, shall maintain all fire lanes in an unobstructed manner.

     EXCEPTION:

     Gates and Gate Devices approved by the Department.

SEC. 57.09.05.  SIGNS.

     A. Fire lanes shall be posted with signs not less than 17 inches by 22 inches in size, with lettering not less than one inch in height, stating “NO PARKING — DESIGNATED FIRE LANE. VIOLATORS WILL BE CITED VEHICLE CODE SECTION 22500.1. VEHICLES PARKED IN VIOLATION WILL BE TOWED AWAY AT OWNER’S EXPENSE.” Signs shall also contain a telephone number of the Los Angeles Police Department which may be called by the person owning the vehicle to find out where it has been towed. Signs shall be in plain view at all entrances to required fire lanes and the spacing of signs shall be as required by the Chief. The bottom of such signs shall be six feet above the adjacent ground surface.  (Amended by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.)

     B. The installation of approved fire lane signs on private roadways is the responsibility of the owner of the property.

SEC. 57.09.06.  FIRE-FLOW.

     A. Fire-flows shall comply with Table 9A for an structures, group of structures or facilities by the type of land development, or as otherwise determined by the Chief.

TABLE 9-A

FIRE-FLOW BY TYPE OF LAND DEVELOPMENT

Type of Land Development Fire-Flow in Gallons Per Minute
Low Density Residential 2,000 G.P.M. from three adjacent fire hydrants flowing simultaneously
High Density Residential and Neighborhood Commercial 4,000 G.P.M. from four adjacent fire hydrants flowing simultaneously
Industrial and Commercial 6,000 TO 9,000 G.P.M. from four to six fire hydrants flowing simultaneously
High Density Industrial and Commercial (Principal Business Districts or Centers) 12,000 G.P.M. available to any block (where local conditions indicate that consideration must be given to simultaneous fires, and additional 2,000 to 8,000 G.P.M. will be required).

     1.  Where street alignments mandate the installation of dead-end mains, the fire-flow in gallons per minute may be adjusted downward, depending on the type of land development.

     2.  A minimum residual water pressure of 20 pounds per square inch is to remain in the system with the required gallons per minute flowing.

     3.  (Repealed by Ord. No. 167,326, Eff. 11/16/91.) 

     B. Fire hydrant spacing and type of hydrant by type of land development.

 

TABLE 9-B

Type of Land Development Net Land Area Served Per Hydrant Distance Between Hydrants on Roads and Fire Lanes Type of Hydrant
Low Density Residential *150,000 Sq. Ft. 600 Ft. 2 1/2" x 4" Double Fire Hydrant
High Density Residential & Neighborhood Commercial *100,000 Sq. Ft. 300-450 Ft. 2 1/2" x 4" Double Fire Hydrant (Amended by Ord. No. 169,944 Eff. 8/20/94).
Industrial & Commercial *80,000 Sq. Ft. 300 Ft. 2 ½" x 4" Double Fire Hydrant or 4" x 4" Double Fire Hydrant
High Density Industrial & Commercial *40,000 Sq. Ft. 300 Ft. 4" x 4" Double Fire Hydrant

*This figure will be systematically reduced where greater fire- flow is required due to restricted access, depth of lots, length of blocks, or additional hazards.

     1. Every first story dwelling unit, first story guest room, and all first story portions of any commercial or industrial building must be within 300 feet of an approved fire hydrant.

     2. All fire hydrants shall have 21/2" x 4" outlets or 4" x 4" outlets and conform to the minimum standards of the American Water Works Association for wet barrel hydrants. A minimum of one fire hydrant is to be provided at each intersection. “Built-up” type single 2-1/2" outlet hydrants (6" pipe surmounted by an angle valve) shall be used in areas having a static water pressure of 210 P.S.I. or more.

     3. Streets with raised median center dividers, excessive traffic loads, or more than 80 feet in dedicated width require the installation of hydrants on both sides of the street. Additional intermediate hydrants are required in areas where restricted access, depth of lots, or blocks exceeding the maximum hydrant spacing intervals exist.

     C.  Land use and required fire flow.  (Added by Ord. No. 169,944, Eff. 8/20/94.)

PROPOSED TABLE 9-C

RESPONSE DISTANCES THAT IF EXCEEDED REQUIRE THE  INSTALLATION OF AN AUTOMATIC FIRE SPRINKLERS SYSTEM
(Amended by Ord. No. 172,414, Eff. 2/21/99.)

* Land Use Required Fire Flow ** Maximum Response Distance to LAFD Fire Station:
Residential Housing an Engine or Truck Company
Low Density Residential 2,000 g.p.m. from three adjacent hydrants flowing simultaneously 1-1/2 miles
High Density Residential and Commercial Neighborhood 4,000 g.p.m. from four adjacent hydrants flowing simultaneously 1-1/2 miles
Commercial ***Housing an Engine Company and Truck Company
Engine Company Truck Company
Industrial and Commercial 6,000 to 9,000 g.p.m. from four hydrants flowing simultaneously 1 mile 1-1/2 miles
High Density Industrial and Commercial or Industrial (Principal Business Districts or Centers) 12,000 g.p.m. available to any block (where local conditions indicate that consideration must be given to simultaneous fires, an additional 2,000 to 8,000 g.p.m. will be required)  3/4 mile 1 mile

*Land use designations are contained in the community plan elements of the General Plan for the City of Los Angeles.

**The maximum response distance to LAFD fire stations pertains to areas outside the boundaries covered by the Hillside Ordinance (Ordinance Number 168,159). When a portion of any subdivision, as that term is defined in Section 17.02 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, falls outside of the one and one-half mile distance requirement, automatic fire sprinklers will not be required in that portion whenever a review by the Chief has determined that no unacceptable increase in hazard to the public will result.

 *** The maximum response distances for both LAFD fire suppression companies (engine and truck) must be satisfied.

SEC. 57.09.07.  RESPONSE DISTANCES THAT IF EXCEEDED REQUIRE THE INSTALLATION OF AN AUTOMATIC FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM.

     (Amended by Ord. No. 172,414, Eff. 2/21/99.)

     A. Response distances based on land use and fire flow requirements shall comply with Table 9-C.  These requirements pertain to all buildings and structures, groups of structures, or facilities unless otherwise determined by the Chief.

     B.  Where a response distance is greater than that shown in Table 9-C, all structures shall be constructed with automatic fire sprinkler systems.  Additional fire protection shall be provided as required by the Chief.

SEC. 57.09.08.  SUPPLEMENTAL FIRE PROTECTION.

      (Former Sec. 57.09.07 Renumbered by Ord. No. 169,944, Eff. 8/20/94.)

     A. Where the Chief determines that any or all of the supplemental fire protection equipment or systems described in this section may be substituted in lieu of the requirements of this division with respect to any facility, structure, group of structures or premises, the person owning or having control thereof shall either conform to the requirements of this division or shall install such supplemental equipment or systems. Where the Chief determines that any or all of such equipment or systems is necessary in addition to the requirements of this division as to any facility, structure, group of structures or premises, the owner thereof shall install such required equipment or systems.

     B. Supplemental fire protection equipment or systems shall consist of:

     1. Fire protective signaling systems which shall be installed in accordance with Division 122 of this article.

     2. Fire hydrants which shall be installed in accordance with section 57.09.06 of this division, or as required by the Chief.

     3. Automatic fire extinguishing systems which shall be installed in accordance with, but not limited to, L.A.F.D. Standard Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 55, and 59.

     4. Smoke removal systems which shall be designed for the hazard to be protected and shall be approved by the Chief.

     5. Standpipe systems which shall be installed in accordance with Chapter 9 of the L.A.M.C. (Plumbing Code).

     6. Systems or equipment not specified: The installation, arrangement of, or alteration thereto, of other fire protection equipment or systems which are deemed necessary to provide minimum fire protection as may be required by the Chief.

SEC.  57.09.09.   ACCESS BOX.

     (Amended by Ord. No. 170,954, Eff. 4/16/96.) 

     When access to or within a structure or premises is unduly difficult because of secured openings or where immediate access is necessary for lifesaving or fire fighting purposes, the Chief has the authority to order the owner or person having control of the structure or premises to install an access box in an approved location accessible to the Fire Department.  The  access box shall be of a type approved by the Chief and shall contain all keys, access cards, buttons, switches, locks, and actuators determined by the Chief to be necessary  for access.  No person shall violate an order of the Chief.

SEC. 57.09.10.  NOTIFICATION.

     (Former Sec. 57.09.09 Renumbered by Ord. No. 169,944, Eff. 8/20/94.)

     Any person owning, controlling, or otherwise having charge of any Supplemental Fire Protection equipment or systems as required by the division shall immediately notify the Fire Department at any time such protection is inoperable or taken out of service. The Fire Department shall also be notified when Supplemental Fire Protection is restored to service.

SEC. 57.09.11.  PROPERTY ADDRESSES.

     (Added by Ord. No. 170,954, Eff. 4/16/96.)

     A.  Every person exercising or having ownership, possession, custody, control, or charge of any building, structure, parking lot, or premises shall have and maintain the established street address number thereon upon or near each entrance from a public street and from any other access way.  The Chief shall have the authority to prescribe the manner and location of placement of such street address numbers.  “Access way,” shall include, but not be limited to any alley, waterway, stairway, driveway, or walkway.

     B.  The minimum dimensions of any street address number established on or after June 1, 1973 shall be as follows:

     1.  The height in inches of any number or letter therein shall be the sum of one-tenth (1/10) of the distance in feet of the number from the boundary of the property (upon which the building, structure, or parking lot is situated) abutting the street, plus two (2), providing that every number shall not be less than four inches in height.

     2.  The overall width of any figure in or comprising the number or letter shall be one-half (1/2) of its height.

     3.  The width of any portion of a figure in or comprising the number or letter shall be one-tenth (1/10) of its height.

     C.  Design (including shape and style) as well as location of the street address numbers shall be such that they are legible and easily readable.  Irrespective of whether the street address number was established before or after June 1, 1973, the Chief shall have the authority to prescribe a street address number larger in size than the dimensions stated in Subsection B when it is determined that due to lighting conditions, building location, shadows, background, or other reasons, street address numbers of minimum dimensions will not be easily readable from the street or approach to the entrance.  A street address number of unusual design or placement may not be employed without prior written approval of the Chief.