Fire Safety Compliance Inspections, Violations, Orders to Comply, and Citations

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Fire Safety Compliance Inspections

Local fire departments may perform periodic inspections of University buildings. These inspections are performed under the authority of the International Fire Code and may be unannounced. Fire department visits, where possible, should be accompanied by persons responsible for the facility, such as a building coordinator.

For the main campus the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) conducts these inspections. EH&S Building and Fire Safety acts as the liaison between the UW and SFD. If notified and available, EH&S may also accompany SFD during their visit and can act as representative for the responsible person, if the responsible person is not available.

Fire Department methods vary from one locality to another. The authorities having jurisdiction for enforcing the Fire Code at University facilities are as follows:

Seattle Fire Department


Bothell Fire Department


Tacoma Fire Department


San Juan County


Pierce County Fire Department


Kittitas County


Kitsap County Fire Prevention Bureau/Fire Marshal's Office


Clallam County


Code Violations and Corrections

During inspections, code violations may be found. Non-compliant situations may also be discovered while the fire department is responding for a fire or medical call. When violations are identified, they generally need to be addressed within a few weeks, although some more serious violations must be addressed immediately. The timeframe for compliance will determined by the fire department. Repeated violations, serious health and safety risks, failure to correct a finding in a timely manner and other serious matters may result fines and/or re-inspection fees. The Fire Department may also choose to write a more serious citation that could result in severe civil penalties and a court appearance for the responsible party.

Any official communication regarding code findings at UW buildings must be provided to EH&S for tracking and recording. EH&S must be notified following receipt of an Order, Citation, or other serious violations, or if there is conflict with the Fire Department or other agency regulating fire safety.

Hardcopies of fire department paperwork should be sent
via campus mail to EH&S Fire Safety, Box 354400.
If possible, also scan and email to John Gunderson at

In Seattle, SFD will usually presents Notices of Violation or other citations directly to EH&S. After hours, or when an EH&S representative is not available, the responsible person should sign and accept the notice.  These may be presented to UW personnel on scene at the time, such as FOMS, Emergency Management, EH&S, Resident Advisors/Resident Directors (RA/RDs), or other UW staff.

Administrators for facilities not located at the main campus are responsible for receipt of notices, orders and citations. This task should be assigned to a designated person who will work with EH&S.

Although the ultimate responsibility for resolving a citation or notice belongs to the department in violation, EH&S will work with those departments to verify that findings are valid and seek Fire Department approval for alternate solutions when necessary. EH&S can assist with interpretation of the code issues and developing a compliance strategy. EH&S will track and follow up with the responsible parties, communicate directly with fire department to keep them informed of the status, ask for any extensions or clarifications that may be needed, and document and report resolution of the citation or notice to the fire department.

The fire department may re-inspect all identified violations to confirm the problem has been corrected, or accept written verification from EH&S.