Frequently Asked Questions
Municode Chapter 38 Section 505.1 Address Identification
New and existing buildings shall be provided with approved address identification. The address identification shall be legible and placed in a position that is visible from the street or road fronting the property. Address identification characters shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabi numbers or alphabetical letters. Numbers shall not be spelled out. Each character shall be not less than 12 inches (304.8 mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 1/2 inch (12.7 mm). Where required by the fire code official, address and building numbers shall be provided in additional approved locations to facilitate emergency response. Where access is by means of a private road, buildings that do not immediately front a street, and/or the building cannot be viewed from the public way, a monument, pole or other sign with minimum 6-inch (152.4 mm) height building numerals or address and 4 inch (101.6 mm) height suite/apartment numerals of a color contrasting with the background of the building or other approved means shall be used to identify the structure. In multi-suite structures, the rear entrances of the suites must be labeled with 4-inch (101.6 mm) height suite numerals of a color contrasting with the background of the building or other approved means. Address identification shall be maintained.
- R-3 Single Family occupancies shall have approved numerals of a minimum 3½ inches (88.9 mm) in height and a color contrasting with the background clearly visible and legible from the street fronting the property and rear alleyway where such alleyway exists.
- Structures located within the historic district may utilize a minimum of 6 inches (152.4 mm) high numbers as approved by the Fire Code Official.
2021 IFC Section 1008.2 Means of Egress Illumination Required
The means of egress serving a room or space shall be illuminated at all times that the room or space is occupied.
- Occupancies in Group U.
- Aisle accessways in Group A.
- Dwelling units and sleeping units in Groups R-1, R-2 and R-3.
- Sleeping units of Group I occupancies.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 901.6.4 False Alarms and Nuisance Alarms
False alarms and nuisance alarms shall not be given, signaled or transmitted or caused or permitted to be given, signaled or transmitted in any manner.
Section 901.6.4.1 False Alarm and Nuisance Alarm Penalty
The owner or manager of an occupancy in which the fire alarm system signals or transmits more than three false alarms, as the result of a mechanical, electrical, or component failure within the alarm system, in any rolling 12-month period shall be fined as follows for subsequent false or nuisance alarm beyond the third false or nuisance alarm in the rolling 12-month period:
- Fourth false or nuisance alarm shall be fined at $500.
- Fifth false or nuisance alarm shall be fined at $1,000.
- Sixth and all subsequent false or nuisance alarms shall be fined at $1,500.
False alarms as the result of weather-related activation or false alarms caused by the initiation of the alarm system by the activation of a manual pull station, or the activation by a person(s) tampering with a detection or signaling device or component of the alarm system, shall not be subject to penalty.
Municode Section 906 Portable Fire Extinguishers.
906.1 Portable fire extinguishers shall be installed in all of the following locations:
- In new and existing Group A, B, E, F, H, I, M, R-1, R-2, R-4 and S occupancies
- In Group E occupancies, portable fire extinguishers shall be required only in locations specified in items 2 through 6 where each classroom is provided with a portable fire extinguisher having a minimum rating of 2-A:20-B;C.
- Within 30 feet (9144 mm) distance of travel from commercial cooking equipment and from domestic cooking equipment in Group I-1, I-2, Condition 1; and R-2 college dormitory occupancies.
- In areas where flammable or combustible liquids are stored, used or dispensed.
- On each floor of structures under construction, except Group R-3 occupancies, in accordance with Section 3316.1.
- Where required by the sections indicated in Table 906.1.
- Special-hazard areas, including but not limited to laboratories, computer rooms and generator rooms, where required by the fire code official.
906.2 General Requirements.
Portable fire extinguisher shall be selected, installed and maintained in accordance with this section and NFPA 10.
- The distance of travel to reach an extinguisher shall not apply to the spectator seating portions of Group A-5 occupancies.
- Thirty-day inspections shall not be required and maintenance shall be allowed to be once every 3 years for dry-chemical or halogenated agent portable fire extinguishers that are supervised by a listed and approved electronice monitoring device, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
2.1 Electronic monitoring shall confirm that extinguishers are properly positioned, properly charged and unobstructed.
2.2 Loss of power or circuit continuity to the electronic monitoring device shall initiate a trouble signal.
2.3 The extinguishers shall be installed inside of a building or cabinet in a noncorrosive environment.
2.4 Electronic monitoring devices and supervisory circuits shall be tested every 3 years when extinguisher maintenance is performed.
2.5 A written log of required hydrostatic test dates for extinguishers shall be maintained by the owner to verify that hydrostatic tests are conducted at the frequency required by NFPA 10.
3. In Group I-3, portable fire extinguisher shall be permitted to be located at staff locations.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 507.5 Fire Hydrant Systems
New and existing fire hydrant systems shall comply with Sections 507.5.1 through 507.5.6 and:
- A fire hydrant is an approved national standard three-way hydrant connected to six-inch or larger water mains.
- A two-way hydrant is not recognized unless it was installed before January 1, 1985 or it was installed in conjunction with nationally approved sprinkler systems.
- Fire hydrants shall conform to the latest version of the AWWA Standard for Dry Barrel Fire Hydrants.
- Fire hydrants shall have one 4.5-inch steamer and two 2.5-inch side connections with National Standard threads. The centerline of the steamer connection shall be a minimum of 18 inches above the ground surface.
- The City of San Marcos Water Department shall have the authority to develop and approve new fire hydrant installation methods and standards consistent with the application of this section.
- Hydrants shall be installed in accordance with local jurisdiction construction standards.
Section 507.5.1.2 Intersections. Fire hydrants shall be at every street intersection, or as otherwise required by the fire code official.
507.5.1.2.1 Location. Fire hydrants shall be located within 6 feet of the edge of the pavement unless the fire chief determines another location is acceptable for fire department use.
Section 507.5.2 Cost. The cost of maintaining fire hydrants on private property will be the burden of the occupant and/or owner of that property.
507.5.2.2 Inspection of Private Fire Hydrants. It is the responsibility of the property owner to have all the fire hydrants located on his/her property tested once every year in accordance with NFPA 25. Private hydrant systems shall be inspected, tested, and serviced annually, and the owner shall correct any deficiencies immediately. Hydrants shall be flushed, valves operated and gaskets and caps inspected. Hydrant paint shall be maintained in good condition. Inspection, testing and maintenance service shall be provided by a qualified contractor or qualified property owners representative in which all components unique to the property's systems are inspected and tested at the required times and necessary maintenance is provided. A qualified contractor or qualified property owner's representative is a person that has knowledge of the installation, construction, and operation of fire hydrant systems and the hazards involved. A record of the inspection and any deficiencies corrected shall be electronically copied to the fire code official in the method prescribed by the fire code official.
Section 507.5.4 Obstruction. Unobstructed access to fire hydrants shall be maintained at all times. Posts, fences, vehicles, growth, trash, storage and other materials or objects shall not be placed or kept near fire hydrants, fire department inlet connections or fire protection system control valves in a manner that would prevent such equipment or fire hydrants from being immediately discernible. The fire department shall not be deterred or hindered from gaining immediate access to fire protection equipment or fire hydrants.
507.5.5 Clear space around hydrants. A 5-foot (1524 mm) clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of fire hydrants, except as otherwise required or approved.
507.5.7 Marking. The location of all fire hydrants shall be identified with a blue reflective road dot placed near the center of the roadway in front of the hydrant.
Municode 503.3 Fire Apparatus Access Roads Marking.
Striping, signs, or other markings, when approved by the fire code official, shall be provided for fire apparatus access roads to identify such roads or prohibit the obstruction thereof. Striping, signs and other markings shall be maintained in a clean and legible condition at all times and be replaced or repaired when necessary to provide adequate visibility.
- Striping - Fire apparatus access roads shall be continuously marked by painted lines of red traffic paint six inches (6") in width to show the boundaries of the lane. The words "NO PARKING FIRE LANE TOW AWAY ZONE" or "FIRE LANE NO PARKING TOW AWAY ZONE" shall appear in four inch (4") white letters at 25 feet intervals on the red border markings along both sides of the fire lanes. Where a curb is available, the striping shall be on the vertical face of the curb.
- Signs - Signs shall read "NO PARKING FIRE LANE TOW AWAY ZONE" or "FIRE LANE NO PARKING TOW AWAY ZONE" and shall be 12" wide and 18" high. Signs shall be painted on a white background with letters and borders in red, using not less than 2" lettering. Signs shall be permanently affixed to a stationary post and the bottom of the sign shall be six feet, six inches (6'6") above finished grade. Signs shall be spaced not more than fifty feet (50') apart along both sides of the fire lane. Signs may be installed on permanent buildings or walls or as approved by the Fire Chief.
The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited.
- Storage and handling of fireworks as allowed in Section 5604
- Manufacture, assembly and testing of fireworks as allowed in Section 5605
- The use of fireworks for fireworks displays as allowed in Section 5608
- The possession, storage, sale, handling and use of specific types of Division 1.4G fireworks where allowed by applicable laws, ordinances and regulations, provided that such fireworks and facilities comply with the 2006 edition of NFPA 1124, CPSC 16 CFE Parts 1500 and 1507, and DOTn 49 CFR Parts 100-185, as applicable for consumer fireworks
A violation of this ordinance is declared to be a common and public nuisance. The owner, lessee or occupant of the property or structure where fireworks are being stored or used shall be deemed responsible for violation of this section.
5. The possession of fireworks otherwise allowed by State Law.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 503.6 Gates. All gates that obstruct emergency access roads or drives, whether on public or private property, must be permitted by the fire code official and approved by the fire chief, or his designee. Where gates are installed across fire access roads they shall have an approved means of emergency operation. The gates and the emergency operation shall be maintained operational at all times. Electric gate operators, where provided, shall be listed in accordance with UL 325 and be provided with an electronic Knox key switch. Gates intended for automatic operation shall be designed, constructed and installed to comply with the requirements of ASTM F2200.
Section 503.6.1 Main entry gates shall be equipped with an approved automated entry system in accordance with 503.6.2 and be provided with electronic Knox key switches as well as a mechanical disconnect to allow for operation of the gate during power failure.
Section 503.6.2 Infrared Gate Operation. New and existing motorized gates crossing fire lanes shall be equipped with an approved infrared detector system, as approved by the San Marcos Fire Department.
- An infrared detector shall be of a type that receives the infrared frequency utilized by the San Marcos Fire Department. There shall be an adequate number of detectors to allow gate control from multiple approaches, when necessary, as determined by the fire code official.
- The infrared detector shall be of a type designed to work in all weather conditions, and the installation shall protect the detector from physical damage.
- The infrared detector shall be located so that it will receive a clear signal from the approved data-encoded emitter at a distance of 30 feet from the gate, or another approved distance if circumstances warrant a modification. The detector's position shall also be adjusted in an effort to avoid any unwanted opening of the gate potentially caused by other emergency vehicle traffic.
- The signal from the infrared detector to the operating motor of the gate shall override or bypass the opening system or any other system that needs to be overridden or bypassed in order to open the gate.
- When activated by the infrared detector, the motorized gate crossing fire lanes shall operate at a minimum speed of one foot per second and the gate shall be held open for 10 minutes before closing.
- No property shall receive a new Certificate of Occupancy unless it meets all the requirements of this section.
- Existing gate operating systems not in compliance with the approved infrared system shall be updated to the current requirements at the time of application for a new Certificate of Occupancy or no later than 24 months after being notified of this ordinance. Notifications regarding this ordinance will not be sent until the first City of San Marcos emergency response vehicle is equipped with an infrared sending unit.
Section 503.6.3 Gate access information. The owner, owner's authorized agent, operator, occupant or person responsible for the gate shall immediately provide to the fire code official, in the manner prescribed by the fire code official, any code, combination, and information necessary for accessing any gate that obstructs emergency access roads or drives, whether on public or private property. The code, combination, or information must be provided prior to the new or existing gate obstructing any emergency access roads or drives.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 506 Key Boxes
Where access to or within a structure or an area is restricted because of secured openings or where immediate access is necessary for life-saving or fire-fighting purposes, the fire code official is authorized to require one or more key boxes to be installed in approved locations. The key box shall be of an approved type listed in accordance with UL 1037, and shall contain keys to gain necessary access as required by the fire code official. An approved key box shall be provided on the following structures:
1. On new and existing structures under 10,000 sq. ft.:
- At main entry if equipped with an automatic fire protection system.
2. On new and existing structures 10,000 sq. ft. or greater:
- At main entry; and
- At fire sprinkler riser/fire pump rooms, if one is provided.
3. On all existing commercial structures comprised of multiple tenant spaces: a single approved Key Box may serve multiple occupancies in a single building provided the box is located in an approved location and is adequately sized for the number of keys.
The City of San Marcos works with the Knox Box rapid access system. These systems have master keys that allow first responders to immediate access into secure perimeters, gates, buildings, and other properties. This will help minimize property damage and reduce injuries to responders. Visit KnoxBox.com to learn more or purchase a Knox Box.
2021 IFC 506.2 Key box maintenance.
The operator of the building shall immediately notify the fire code official and provide the new key where a lock is changed or rekeyed. The key to such lock shall be secured in the key box.
Use the Property Access Update Form to update contact and access information for businesses and residences inside the San Marcos city limits.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 308.1.4 Open-flame cooking devices.
Charcoal burners, open-flame cooking appliances, LP gas burners, outdoor barbecue grills, or any other outdoor cooking appliance that generates sufficient heat to cook in, on, or about the appliance shall not be operated or stored on balconies or within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.
- One- and two-family dwellings
Municode Chapter 38 Section 307.1.1 Prohibited Open Burning
Open burning that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke emissions or when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous shall be prohibited.
Municode Chapter 38 Section 503.4 Obstruction of fire apparatus access roads. Fire apparatus access roads shall not be obstructed in any manner, including the parking of vehicles. The minimum widths and clearances established in Sections 503.2.1 and 503.2.2 and any area marked as a fire lane as described in Section 503.3 shall be maintained at all times.