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Loss Prevention and Investigations

outside photo of the Loss Prevention and investigations building

Location: 634 Park Ave. Salisbury, NC 28144
Contact Us: (704) 638-4467

The Loss Prevention and Investigations Division includes the department Fire Marshal, Fire Inspectors and Fire & Life Safety Education Specialist.

Fire Prevention Division

The Fire Prevention Division is charged with improving the lives of its residents by preventing fires and reducing the impact of fires that occur. To accomplish its mission, the division performs inspections of businesses and occupancies as mandated by the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshall, the State of North Carolina Building Codes, and local ordinances. In addition, the division investigates all major fires occurring within the Fire Department's jurisdiction. The division is divided into five major units, each of which is responsible for a distinct focus on prevention.


The Fire Prevention Division performs inspections of businesses within the City of Salisbury to assist business owners in eliminating hazards and maintaining a safe workplace. These Inspectors are responsible for enforcing city council adopted codes and ordinances, issuing various permits, follow-up on citizen complaints in regards to possible hazards, and maintaining records for businesses in the city.

The focus of an inspection is to identify and correct problems that may lead to a fire, delay notification of a fire, and to remove any obstacles that may impede or block egress from a building. Examples of these may include combustibles stored near the furnace or water heater, an alarm system or sprinkler system that has not been maintained or storage in an exit way.

To request a Fire Inspection, fill out the Fire Department's common request form:

Common Request Form

Business Registration

A fire inspection & signature is required for all business registration applications (except for home occupation.)

The City of Salisbury's business registration form:

Certificate of Registration (PDF)


The Fire Investigation Unit is responsible for determining the cause of fires and assists in the investigation of other related incidents. Strong, aggressive investigations will decrease the number of incendiary fires as well as accidental fires. The identification of the cause and circumstances of how a fire occurred will often prevent a similar incident from happening again. The information that is discovered may be used for a new fire prevention and/or public education program to prevent an incident. The fire investigation unit does prosecute individuals responsible for incendiary fires and threats to burn property.

NC Public Records Law / Fire Records

132-1. "Public records" defined.

  1. (a) "Public record" or "public records" shall mean all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, photographs, films, sound recordings, magnetic or other tapes, electronic data-processing records, artifacts, or other documentary material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions. Agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions shall mean and include every public office, public officer or official (State or local, elected or appointed), institution, board, commission, bureau, council, department, authority or other unit of government of the State or of any county, unit, special district or other political subdivision of government.
  2. The public records and public information compiled by the agencies of North Carolina government or its subdivisions are the property of the people. Therefore, it is the policy of this State that the people may obtain copies of their public records and public information free or at minimal cost unless otherwise specifically provided by law. As used herein, "minimal cost" shall mean the actual cost of reproducing the public record or public information. (1935, c. 265, s. 1; 1975, c. 787, s. 1; 1995, c. 388, s. 1.)
  3. NC General Statues
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 132-1.4A(c), criminal investigations records are not public records. However, as a public matter of law and interest, a basic fire report may still be provided upon request.


The Fire Prevention Division enforces all ordinances mandated by the City of Salisbury. For a complete list of fire related ordinances, please visit the Municipal Codes.

Code/Procedural Interpretation SFD Interpretation: Use of Portable Outdoor Heaters

Code Reference: North Carolina Fire Code, Section 603
Subject: Can I use portable propane fueled radiant heaters on my restaurant patio or outdoor seating area?
Interpretation: Yes, but only under certain circumstances.

The North Carolina Fire Code allows the use of portable gas-fired outdoor heaters ONLY under the following guidelines:
  1. Heaters cannot be used in any tent or under any canopy or membrane structure.
  2. A minimum clearance of 5-feet shall be maintained between the heater and the building, combustible decorative material, or exit or access thereto.
  3. Heaters shall not be located beneath any awning, sunshade or similar building attachments.
  4. Heater shall be UL Listed and installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  5. Heater shall be fitted with a tip-over switch that will automatically shut off the flow of gas if heater is tilted to more than 15 degrees to vertical.
  6. The heating element or combustion chamber shall be protected from physical contact.
  7. Heating element or combustible chamber shall be permanently guarded as to prevent accidental contact by persons or material.
  8. To request approval for use: Please remit detailed plans, location of use and heater type to

Open Burning:

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Campfires, outdoor cooking fires and bonfires are permissible, unless prohibited by local ordinances or temporary burn bans, provided that only vegetation such as firewood is burned. Fires must be controlled and never left unattended. A Portable outdoor fireplace is a portable, outdoor, solid-fuel-burning fireplace that may be constructed of steel, concrete, clay or other noncombustible material. A portable outdoor fireplace may be open in design, or may be equipped with a small hearth opening and a short chimney or chimney opening in the top.

North Carolina Fire Code Section 302

Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

North Carolina Fire Code Section 307.4.2

Burning Permit:
Commercial $25.00
Residential No charge

Sec. 16-65. - Fireworks

Fireworks. Any fireworks or explosive[s] of any kind or nature are prohibited, except by special permit.

Firework/Pyrotechnic Display (per display) $200.00

Sec. 13-173. - Fire lanes

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Designation Pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 160A-301 and for the protection and safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the city, there are hereby established certain fire lanes as designated on that map and subject to those policies on file in the office of the traffic engineer. Fire lanes may be established upon the request of the property owner or person in general charge of the operation and control of the area, with approval by the city manager, both on private property which constitutes a public vehicular area as that term is defined by G.S. 20-4.01(32), and on any public drive, driveway, road, roadway, street, alley or other surface generally used or reserved for the movement or parking of motor vehicles.

Blocking fire lane; authority to remove vehicles.

It shall be unlawful for any person to park a vehicle or permit it to stand, whether attended or unattended, or to put or place any other object, structure or obstruction in a fire lane which has been established and properly marked under the provisions of this section; provided, however, that it shall not be unlawful for governmental vehicles, including municipal transit buses, or nongovernmental emergency vehicles, including rescue squad vehicles, to stop, stand or travel within such fire lanes when required to do so in the performance of their official duties.

Any vehicle which shall be or remain standing or parked in any fire lane established under this section may be removed by or upon order of the chief of police or his designee with the concurrence of the property owner upon whose premises the fire lane is located.

(Code 1977, §§ 15-301, 15-302)

Parking in a Fire Lane $50.00

Plan Reviews

A review of all commercial building plans (new construction and remodeling) is performed by the Fire Prevention Division prior to the issuance of a building permit. Automatic fire sprinkler, automatic fire suppression, fire alarm, and commercial kitchen hood systems are reviewed also.

The plans are reviewed for compliance with all of the related fire codes as adopted by the City of Salisbury. The plans are checked for compliance with items such as:

  • Maximum occupant load determination for the building and occupancy
  • Location and type of the required fire rated assemblies
  • Fire extinguisher size and number
  • Determine if a fire alarm system is required
  • Determine if an automatic fire sprinkler system is required
  • Other fire or life safety deficiencies
  • Proper number, size and location of exits and doors


Public Education

The Salisbury Fire Department is committed to providing the community with life safety education. We believe in the power of prevention and education and offer a wide range of services. Our aim is to reduce life and property loss in our community. By educating those who live and work in Salisbury, we can save lives.

The Public Education section of the Fire Prevention Division is responsible for educating the public concerning the dangers presented by fires. The majority of the Public Education effort is in area schools, where the Fire Prevention staff provides age-specific training to children each year. The Public Education section also provides training for employees and residents of nursing homes, as well as any commercial business that requests fire safety training for its employees.

To request Fire Prevention training for kids, fill out the Fire Department's common request form:

Common Request Form

Tips to Prevent False Fire Alarms

Salisbury Fire Department responds to over 6400 calls per year with about 10% being false alarm responses. False alarms unduly delay responses to true emergencies and divert limited resources from providing necessary services.

Steps To Prevent False Fire Alarms

  1. Notify the 9-1-1 communications center and your alarm company before testing or repairing your system. Tell them to place the system “on test”. Call them back when testing is complete to verify system is “off test”.
  2. Know how to cancel a false alarm. If you are absolutely sure you know what caused the alarm, (for example, you hit an incorrect button on the alarm pad) notify the alarm company to have the fire response cancelled. If you are unsure of the alarm, allow the fire department to respond.
  3. Dust can set off smoke detectors. If you are spray painting, sanding floors, installing drywall, etc…there is a chance it may set off the detector. Smoke detectors can be covered when performing construction work. Remember to uncover once work is completed.
  4. Fire alarm systems need to be serviced regularly (once a year). You want it to perform when it is supposed and not give false alarms. Deal only with qualified, licensed professionals.
  5. Fire alarm equipment should be installed properly. Smoke detectors do not belong in kitchens, attics, garages or bathrooms. You may have heat detectors installed in these areas or photo-electric alarms to reduce the likelihood of false alarms.
  6. Make sure the alarm company has your correct contact information. The fire department will often need to refer to this information to gain access to the property if no one on site upon arrival.

By following these steps, you can do your part in reducing false alarms and therefore reducing the hassle and cost they incur.

False Alarm Fines

In an effort to reduce false alarms, risk to businesses, citizens and firefighters, and thereby improving response to other emergency calls, the City of Salisbury ordinance regarding alarms is to promote public safety while encouraging proper maintenance and use.

(Ord. No. 2006-51, § 5, 11-7-06)
An alarm user shall be subject to fines and warnings depending on the number of false alarms emitted from an alarm system within a twelve-month period from the date of the first false alarm based upon the following schedule:
# Of False Alarms Fines
1-2 $0.00
3-5 $50 each time
6-7 $100 each time
8-9 $250 each time
10 or mores $500 each time

If cancellation occurs prior to a police officer's arrival on the scene (non-fire alarm), this is not a false alarm for the purpose of fines, and no fines will be assessed. However, this does not apply to fire alarm response. Since fire department officers continue to respond, even when notified that the fire alarm has been cancelled, fines (if applicable) shall still be assessed according to the schedule under subsection (a).

Payments must be received by the city within thirty (30) days or a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) late payment fee will be added to the account.

Knox Box

A key box (Knox Box) is required for all commercial buildings with either fire alarm or sprinkler system and multi-family properties per North Carolina Fire Code 506.1.

To order a Knox Box:

  • Visit the Knox website
  • Click "Buy Now"
  • Select “North Carolina” in the state selection box
  • Type in "Salisbury Fire Department” for local fire department/agency
  • Select the appropriate Lockbox and complete order
  • Order will be reviewed by Salisbury Fire Department Fire Marshal and then shipped upon approval.
  • Contact Salisbury Fire Marshal upon installation for your keys to be locked inside the box
  • If you have any questions or issues, please contact us: (704) 638-4467

Knox Box Types:

  • Surface-Mounted Lock Box
    • Size Standard: Model 3261, Size Large: Model 4401
    • Should be mounted 5 ft. from the floor to center of box. Easily visible and close to the natural entrance of structure.
  • Knox Pad Lock Gate / Key Switch
    • Standard Model
    • Mounted no higher than 5 ft. from the floor to center of box.

North Carolina State Building Code: Fire Code: Section 506:

Key Boxes 506.1: Where required. 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 a key box to be installed in an approved location. The key box shall be of an approved type and shall contain keys to gain necessary access as required by the fire code official.

506.1.1 Locks: An approved lock shall be installed on gates or similar barriers when required by the fire code official.

506.2 Key box maintenance: The operator of the building shall immediately notify the fire code official and provide the new key when a lock is changed or re-keyed. The key to such lock shall be secured in the key box.


Look for places fire can start. Take a good look around your home. Gather evidence of fire dangers and address the problems.

Look in the kitchen:
  • Flammable objects off the stove.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops.
  • Make sure someone is closely watching any food being cooked.
Look at your heaters:
  • Keep anything that can burn three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Get heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected.
  • Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Put a screen in front of the fireplace.
Look at your electricity:
  • Make sure all electrical work is done by a qualified electrician.
  • Use only one heat-producing appliance per outlet at a time.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Be sure light fixtures use light bulbs with the correct number of watts.


A working smoke alarm will let you know if there is a fire. Fire moves fast. You could only have minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds.

When the smoke alarm sounds off:

  • Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.
  • Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Make sure someone can help them.
  • When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
  • Go to your outside meeting place. Call 9-1-1.
  • Never go back inside for people, pets, or things.

Smoke alarm basics:

  • It is important to test them monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or if they do not respond when tested.
  • Alternates for deaf/hard of hearing:

    • Strobe lights flash on alternate devices when the smoke alarm sounds. The lights warn people of fire.
    • When people who are deaf are asleep, a pillow or bed shaker can wake them so they can escape.
    • When people who are hard of hearing are asleep, an alert device that uses a loud, mixed, low-pitched sound can wake them. They may find a pillow or bed shaker helpful. These devices are triggered by the sound of the smoke alarm.


    No matter where you are—at home or in a public building—it’s important to think about your safety from fire. Home is the place where fires happen most often, but fires can happen at other places as well. Learning two ways out of every room could save your life.

    At home:

    • Make a home escape plan with all household members. Draw a map of each level of the home, showing all doors and windows. Make sure you have two ways out of every room.
    • Practice day & nighttime fire drills.
    • Share your escape plans with guests.
    • If you live in an apartment or condo, talk to the building manager about the evacuation plans.
    • If smoke or fire is blocking one of your exits, use your second exit to escape to safety.

    At places of public assembly:

    • When you enter a building you should look for all available exits.
    • Be prepared to use your closest exits. You may not be able to use main exit.
    • Make sure aisles are wide enough and not blocked by chairs or furniture.
    • Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained.
    • If there are not at least two exits or if exit paths are blocked, report the violation.

    Every Second Counts. Plan Two Ways Out!

    In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

    1. Create an escape plan. Make sure there are two ways out from each room. Visit the NFPA to learn more about escape plans.
    2. Make sure everyone in the home knows the plan.
    3. Pick a place to meet outside the home.
    4. Practice the escape plan twice a year.
    5. Once outside, stay outside.

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