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Emergency Fire Apparatus Access

Emergency service vehicles, especially fire apparatus, need to have adequate access to all developments in the event of emergencies at that location. This access will range from general roadway access to developments down to and including access to individual buildings.

Florida Fire Prevention Code and Pinellas County Ordinances within Pinellas County specifies a variety of project and building access requirements.

Emergency Access Requirements

  • Required fire lanes shall be provided with the inner edge of the roadway no closer than 10 feet and no further than 30 feet from the building. Such lanes shall have a surface designed to accommodate fire apparatus with a minimum weight of 32 tons.

  • Access to building: A fire department access road shall extend to within 50 ft (15 m) of a single exterior door providing access to the interior of the building.

  • Buildings having ramps or other elevated roadways shall have posted weight limit signs.

  • Additional requirements: Fire department access roads shall be provided such that any portion of the facility or any portion of an exterior wall of the first story of the building is located not more than 150 ft (46 m) from fire department access roads as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building or facility.

  • Multiple Access Roads: More than one fire department access road shall be provided when it is determined by the AHJ that access by a single road could be impaired by vehicle congestion, condition of terrain, climatic conditions, or other factors the could limit access.

  • Specifications/Dimensions: Fire department access roads shall have an unobstructed width of not less than 20 ft (6.1 m) and an unobstructed vertical clearance of not less than 13 ft 6 in. (4.1 m). Minimum width may be reduced to meet special access with the approval of the fire official.

  • Surface: Fire department access roads shall be designed and maintained to support the imposed loads of fire apparatus and shall be provided with a surface suitable for all-weather driving capabilities.

  • Turning Radius: The turning radius of a fire department access road shall be as approved by the AHJ.

  • Dead Ends: Dead-end fire department access roads in excess of 150 ft (46 m) in length shall be provided with approved provisions for the turning around of fire apparatus.

  • Bridges, Ramps, and Elevated Roads: When a bridge is required to be used as part of a fire department access road, it shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with nationally recognized standards.

  • The bridge shall be designed for a live load sufficient to carry the imposed loads of fire apparatus with a minimum weight of 32 tons.

  • Vehicle load limits shall be posted at both entrances to bridges, ramps, and elevated roadways where required by the AHJ.

  • Grade: The gradient for a fire department access road shall not exceed the maximum approved.

  • The angle of approach and departure for any means of fire department access shall not exceed 1 ft drop in 20 ft (0.3 m drop in 6 m), and the design limitations of the fire apparatus of the fire department shall be subject to approval by the AHJ.

  • Marking of Fire Apparatus Access Road: Where required by the AHJ, approved signs or other approved notices shall be provided and maintained for fire department access roads to identify such roads, or prohibit the obstruction thereof, or both.

The provisions of the emergency vehicle access roads is illustrated as an attachment to these guidelines.