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 carries out the division's fire prevention activities.

Fire Prevention Code

The City of Bay City has adopted the International Fire Code (IFC) 2009 edition. In adopting this code the city made necessary additions, deletions and amendments to allow the code to conform to local conditions.

Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date fire code addressing conditions hazardous to life and property from fire, explosion, handling or use of hazardous materials and the use and occupancy of buildings and premises.  The IFC 2009 edition is designed to meet these needs through model code regulations that safeguard the public health and safety in all communities, large and small.

This comprehensive fire code establishes minimum regulations for fire prevention and fire protection systems using prescriptive and performance-related provisions.  It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new system designs.  The 2009 edition is fully compatible with all the International Codes (I-Codes) published by the International Code Council (ICC) including the International Building Code, International Energy Conservation Code, International Existing Building Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Mechanical Code, ICC Performance Code, International Plumbing Code, International Private Sewage Disposal Code, International Property Maintenance Code, International Residential Code, International Wildland-Urban Interface Code, and International Zoning Code.

The IFC provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for fire safety professionals to discuss performance and prescriptive code requirements.  This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions.  This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.
The Bay City Fire Code is contained in a 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. 

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 International Fire Code (IFC) 2009 edition, 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.