Fire Code/Prevention

The primary function of the fire service is the protection of lives and property, and the best way to do this is through fire prevention. Fire prevention includes all activities that reduce the number or severity of fires. These activities include, but are not limited to, fire prevention inspections, code enforcement, building plans review, fire investigation, and public fire safety education. The Fire Marshal, or the Fire Awareness Unit carry out most of the division's fire prevention activities.

Fire Prevention Code

The City of Bay City has adopted the 1993 Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA) National Fire Prevention Code. In adopting this code the city made necessary additions, deletions and amendments to allow the code to conform to local conditions. The National Fire Prevention Code was written to avoid conflicts with the BOCA Building Code that was also adopted by the City of Bay City. The BOCA building and fire codes are updated and reissued every three years, and the next update is expected in 2000.

The Bay City Fire Code is contained in this computerized information system. Questions about the fire code can be directed to the Bay City Fire Marshal at 989-892-8601. Please note that schools and hospitals are under the control of the State of Michigan. Information on the model code, or copies of it can be obtained from:
Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc.
4051 W Flossmoor Road
Country Club Hills, IL 60477

They can be reached by telephone at 708-799-2300 or faxed at 708-799-4981.

Fire Prevention Inspection

The goal of a fire prevention inspection is to protect lives and property from the effects of fire by discovering and correcting deficiencies defined by code or in the law. The fire marshal or fire inspector addresses four specific areas in an effort to protect the building and it's occupants. The first area is preventing fires from starting. The second area is once a fire has started what precautions can be taken to prevent the fire from spreading. The third area addresses insuring that the building's occupants can safely escape from the building in an emergency. The final area includes insuring fire protection systems and equipment, such as alarms and sprinklers are installed and operating correctly. All these factors are addressed in the Bay City Fire Code, local ordinances, or state law and provide the fire inspectors their legal basis for action.

Educating the Owner/Occupant

The fire marshal or fire inspector will try to educate the property owner or occupant to bring about voluntary compliance with the code. It is important to remember that many of the items contained in the code came about due to single fires that killed many people or destroyed a large amount of property. These were lessons that were hard learned, and they should not be repeated. If voluntary compliance cannot be obtained the fire marshal or inspector will start administrative actions to bring about enforcement of the code, and if that fails legal action is taken in Bay County Circuit Court.


The interpretation of the BOCA National Fire Prevention Code by the fire marshal or fire inspectors can be appealed to the Fire Code Board of Appeals. Please see the Fire Code Board of Appeals section for more information on this process.

Review of Building Plans

The review of building plans allows the fire marshal to ensure that all new buildings meet the fire code before they are built. It's far more cost effective to detect a fire code problem before the building is built than to have it changed after the building is completed. In the past the Building Department approved the construction of buildings based on the building code, and the fire marshal had to try to enforce the fire code after the fact. The current system ensures fire safety, and is more cost effective to the building owner.