The California State Department of Social Services/Community Care Licensing (CCL) requires a Fire Clearance for large family day care homes and child care centers/preschools. While processing a licensing application, the CCL staff orders the clearance from the local fire department and within 30 days a fire inspector is sent out to do a pre-inspection. Once the prospective licensee completes the necessary requirements a final inspection is done. There is no charge for Butte County Fire Department inspections.
A Large Family Day Care Home is a providers' own home licensed to provide family day care for nine to fourteen children for periods of less than 24 hours per day. This shall include children who reside at the home. The State Fire Marshal classifies large Family Day Care homes as Group R-3 occupancies.
It is the intent of this guideline to provide minimum requirements for large family day care homes within single-family dwellings. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the home is free of fire and life safety hazards, and that it has proper and sufficient fire prevention devices/equipment, evacuation plans and escape routes.
The fire inspection can take 20-60 minutes depending on the size and condition of the home and number of questions of the provider. If unsafe conditions are cited which need attention (e.g. repairs to electrical wiring, or installation of smoke alarms or fire extinguishers), approval will not be granted until a follow-up visit is made. If, during a visit, the fire inspector notes possible building code violations, a County building inspector may be called in.
Zoning and Building Permits
A fire clearance does not constitute zoning or building clearance. Prior to requesting a fire safety inspection, contact the Butte County Development Services (Planning and Building Divisions) for zoning and building code information.
A conditional use permit may be required.
Non-rated construction shall be limited to one story in height.
The separation between the garage and the house may be of materials approved for one-hour fire-resistive construction on the garage side. A self-closing, tight fitting, solid wood door 1 3/8" thick must be provided between the garage and the house. Fire dampers need not be installed in air ducts passing through the wall, floor, or ceiling separating the garage from the house, provided the ducts are constructed of steel not less than No. 26 galvanized sheet metal and having no openings into the garage.
Large Family Day Care Homes shall be provided with two (2) exit doorways. Every required exit door shall be capable of opening so that the clear width is not less than 32 inches and the clear height is not less than 6 feet and 8 inches. A manually operated, horizontal sliding door may be used as one of the two required exits. Exits may pass through kitchens.
Every required exit door shall be operable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort. A single turn of the knob should release the latch and lock bolts.
In the event a "door open" alarm is necessary it must sound a tone, buzzer or siren distinctly different than the fire alarm and smoke detectors. It must be audible over the ambient noise level of the home.
Yard gates blocking egress to the public way shall also be operable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort.
Large Family Day Care shall be equipped with single station, residential-type smoke detectors that are approved by the State Fire Marshal. Smoke detectors must be located in each sleeping room and hallway leading to them. There must be at least one installed on each floor of the residence. They should be installed according to manufacturer's instructions and tested monthly.
Large Family Day Care shall provide and maintain a device or devices suitable for manually sounding a fire alarm. Such devices shall be attached to the structure, be distinctive in tone, and be audible throughout the structure. A standard, wall-mounted, manually activated electric fire alarm bell is recommended. See attached photos.
A portable fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A: 10BC shall be provided. Extinguishers should be conspicuously located where they are readily visible; preferably located along normal paths of travel. Extinguishers shall be mounted so that the top is not higher than five (5) feet or lower than three (3) feet from the floor. Fire extinguishers shall be serviced annually or immediately after use, whichever occurs first.
Fire drills are required at a frequency of once per month.
Unenclosed gas-fired water heaters and furnaces, within the area used for childcare, shall be protected to keep children from coming in contact with the appliances. This does not apply to kitchen stoves and ovens.
Flammable and combustible liquids stored in the garage or other areas shall not be accessible to children.
Poisons, detergents and cleaning agents must also be stored in an inaccessible place.
Combustible materials must be kept at least 30" from gas-fired water heaters and furnaces.