This is intended to be a basic explanation of the 2007 California Fire Code. This explanation is not intended to be used as a Fire Code interpretation. Each jurisdiction has various amendments to the code and the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has the final say.


Accessible means of egress – A continuous and unobstructed way of egress travel from any accessible point in a building or facility to a public way.

Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.


California Fire Code (CFC) – The CFC is the California amended version of the International Fire Code (IFC). Many jurisdictions make their own amendments to the CFC.

Class I Standpipe System – A system that provides 2½ in. hose connections to supply water for use by fire departments and those trained in handling heavy fire streams.

Class II Standpipe System – A system that provides 1½ in. hose stations to supply water for use primarily by trained personnel or by the fire department during initial response.

Class III Standpipe System – A system that provides 1½ in. hose stations to supply water for use by trained personnel and 2½ in. hose connections to supply a larger volume of water for use by fire departments and those trained in handling heavy fire streams.

Control Valve – A valve controlling flow to water-based fire protection systems. Control valves do not include hose valves, inspector’s test valves, drain valves, trim valves for dry pipe, preaction and deluge valves, check valves, or relief valves.


Dry Standpipe – A standpipe system designed to have piping contain water only when the system is being utilized.


Exit – That portion of a means of egress system which is separated from other interior spaces of a building or structure by fire-resistance-rated construction and opening protectives as required to provide a protected path of egress travel between the exit access and the exit discharge. Exits include exterior exit doors at ground level, exit enclosures, exit passageways, exterior exit stairs, exterior exit ramps and horizontal exits.


Fire Hydrant – A valved connection on a water supply system having one or more outlets and that is used to supply hose and fire department pumpers with water.

Fire Department Connection(FDC) – A connection through which the fire department can pump supplemental water into the sprinkler system, standpipe, or other system, furnishing water for fire extinguishment to supplement existing water supplies.


Horizontal Exit – A way of passage from one building to an area of refuge in another building on approximately the same level, or a way of passage through or around a fire barrier to an area of refuge on approximately the same level in the same building that affords safety from fire and smoke originating from the area of incidence and areas communicating therewith.

Hose Station – A combination of a hose rack, hose nozzle, hose, and hose connection.

Hydraulically Designed Sprinkler System – A calculated sprinkler system in which pipe sizes are selected on a pressure loss basis to provide a prescribed water density, in gallons per minute per square foot, or a prescribed minimum discharge pressure or flow per sprinkler, distributed with a reasonable degree of uniformity over a specified area.


Indicating Valve – A valve that has components that show if the valve is open or closed. Examples are outside screw and yoke (OS&Y) gate valves and underground gate valves with indicator posts.

International Fire Code (IFC) – The IFC is part of the “International Codes”, they are model codes that are developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and available for jurisdictions to amend and adopt.


Knox Box – A name brand of a quick access key box that is required in Sec 506.1 of the CFC. The Fire Department carries keys to the box and within the box are keys to the specific occupancy, building or facility.


Manual Standpipe – Standpipe system that relies exclusively on the fire department connection to supply the system demand.


National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA membership totals more than 81,000 individuals from around the world and more than 80 national trade and professional organizations. (The NFPA develops codes and industry standards.)

NFPA 13 – Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems

NFPA 13D – Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.

NFPA 13R – Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including Four Stories in Height

NFPA 14 – Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems

NFPA 25 – Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems

NFPA 72 – National Fire Alarm Code®

NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives

NFPA 704 – Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response


Pipe Schedule System – A sprinkler system in which the pipe sizing is selected from a schedule that is determined by the occupancy classification and in which a given number of sprinklers are allowed to be supplied from specific sizes of pipe.


Rate-of-Rise Detector – A device that responds when the temperature rises at a rate exceeding a predetermined value.


Supervisory Device – A device arranged to supervise the operative condition of automatic sprinkler systems.


Wet Standpipe System – A standpipe system having piping containing water at all times.

Sec 508.5.4 –