Hydrants and Access Unit

The Fire Departmentís Hydrants and Access Unit is responsible for ensuring that newly constructed buildings meet minimum requirements for fire department emergency access and proximity to a fire hydrant.  A paraphrased summary of these requirements follows.  Please refer to Division 9 of the Fire Code which follows this page for more detail.  We encourage you to consult with the Hydrants and Access Unit early in the planning process for your project. The Hydrants and Access Unit can be reached between 7 A.M. and 4:30 P.M., Monday through Friday, at (213) 482-6543.  You may also be referred to the Hydrants and Access Unit for review of your project during the building permit approval process or for clearance of a condition of approval placed by another city agency.

Access

All portions of the exterior walls of any structure, other than a residential structure, must be no more than 150 feet from where a Fire Department emergency vehicle would park if responding to an emergency in your building.  The door to the furthest dwelling unit in a residential structure (single family dwellings, apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels, etc) must be no more than 150 feet from where a Fire Department emergency vehicle would park.

Dead ends

Fire department access to a structure which ends in a dead end cannot be more than 700 feet in length. Any street or fire lane more than 700 feet long must continue to where it intersects another street.

Fire Lane

A fire lane on your property must be provided if your structure is located more than 150 feet from a public street (see Access). A fire lane must be at least 20 feet wide and be kept free of obstructions (including parked cars) at all times (add 8 feet of width for each lane of parallel parking). A gate may be installed across a fire lane with the approval of the Fire Department but may not reduce the required width. If a fire lane is providing access to a private fire hydrant, the fire lane must be 28 feet wide for 30 feet either direction from the fire hydrant. If the fire lane is providing access to a building 28 feet or taller at the roof edge, the fire lane must be 28 feet wide along the building. Fire lanes must have 14 feet of unobstructed overhead clearance. Fire Lanes must terminate at a public street or an approved turn-around and must meet the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering standard for paving a public alley.

Fire Lane Signs

A fire lane must be clearly designated on your plan and must be posted as described in Division 9.05.

Fire Hydrants

All portions of the exterior walls of any structure, other than a residential structure, must be no more than 300 feet from a public or private fire hydrant. The door to the furthest dwelling unit in a residential structure (single family dwellings, apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels, etc.) must be no more than 300 feet from a public or private fire hydrant. If a public fire hydrant is not within the required distance, the installation of an additional public fire hydrant or a private fire hydrant will be necessary. You must pay for the installation of the fire hydrant.

Private fire hydrants are required by the Fire Department when a public fire hydrant cannot be located close enough to a proposed structure. Only Los Angeles Fire Department approved fire hydrants may be installed. Your plans will need to indicate the location of the fire hydrant, how it will be protected from damage by vehicles, and where it will be connected to a public water main. A minimum of three feet of clearance in all directions around a fire hydrant is required. You must obtain a completed Service Advisory Request from the Department of Water and Power, contact Water Business Arrangements at (213) 367-2130 or go to http://www.ladwp.com/water/service/sar.htm for more information. This report must be presented along with your plans to obtain Fire Department approval. A separate Fire Department Permit is required; the fee is currently $468.00. This fee helps to defray the cost of the plan review and field inspection of the installed hydrant.

Your plans will be reviewed and the plumbing installation inspected by the Commercial Plumbing Section of the Department of Building and Safety under a separate permit. Contact the Department of Building and Safety at (888) 524-2845 for more information.

Fire Sprinklers

For residential and many commercial buildings fire sprinklers will be required throughout your building if your building is more than 1.5 miles from the nearest fire station. For some commercial and all industrial buildings the requirements are stricter, refer to Table 9-C at the end of Division 9 in the Fire Code.  There are other ordinances and codes which may require the installation of fire sprinklers in your building. Contact the Department of Building and Safety for further information.

Lock Boxes

A Fire Department approved lock box containing a key or switch to provide access to a building or premises may be required on a case by case basis. Lock boxes are required for any automatic gate installed across a fire lane. Refer to Fire Prevention Bureau Requirement No. 75 for lock box specifications.

The foregoing is a paraphrased summary of the requirements outlined in Division 9 of the Los Angeles Fire Code (57.09.01-57.09.11 L.A.M.C.) and should be used as a guide when designing your building. 

Other agencies to contact

Other city Departments the Hydrants and Access Unit works closely with include the Department of Building and Safety, the agency which will initiate the permitting process; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering; the Department of City Planning; and the Department of Water and Power.  Be sure to consult these other agencies while planning of your project. Consulting these agencies early in the planning process can help to ensure that the review process for your project goes as smoothly as possible.

Fire Hydrants

Although the Hydrants and Access Unit maintains a close liaison with the Department of Water and Power, the Fire Department does not repair or maintain public fire hydrants. Public fire hydrants are used by the Fire Department but are owned and maintained by the Department of Water and Power.  Fire hydrant repairs (leaking, damaged, etc.) should be reported directly to the Department of Water and Power at (800) 342-5397.  Private fire hydrants are tested annually by the Fire Department.  However, repairs and maintenance are the sole responsibility of the property owner.

Because the danger of flooding constitutes an emergency, fire hydrants which have been knocked off should be reported to the Fire Department Dispatch Center directly by calling 911.  The Fire Department will respond to shut-off the water to the hydrant and report the damage to the Department of Water and Power or to the property owner, as appropriate.  Public fire hydrants blocked by parked cars should be reported to the Department of Transportation at (213) 485-4184.  Private fire hydrants which are blocked by parked cars or other obstructions should be reported to the nearest fire station. If you are unsure of the location of the nearest fire station contact the Hydrants and Access Unit for assistance.

Construction Services

Hydrants and Access Unit

221 N. Figueroa Street Suite 1500
Los Angeles, California 90012
Phone: (213) 482 - 6543
Fax: (213) 482 - 6511