Inspection Services/Permits

The Inspection Services Section is a subset of the Fire Prevention Division and is responsible for coordinating and supporting the various fire and life safety inspection programs conducted by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The purpose of those inspection programs is to insure that local businesses and agencies follow the requirements of local fire ordinances and provisions of the California Fire Code (CFC).

Questions and/or concerns involving inspection requirements, permit procedures and/or permit requirements can be directed to the Inspection Services Section at 805-686-5077 or [email protected].

Tents And Canopy Permits

Any tent over 400 square feet and canopy over 700 square feet in size is required to have a CFC Operational Permit. If located with the SBC Fire jurisdiction, obtain and fill out a Santa Barbara County Fire Tent Permit Application. Start this process well in advance of the event to minimize any potential inconvenience.

Special Event Permits (Carnivals, Fairs, and Festivals)

A special event is defined as a temporary gathering of 50 or more participants involving one or more of the following activities:

  1. Exclusive use of public facilities such as buildings, parks, streets, parking lots, athletic fields, etc.
  2. Use of private property where temporary structures (stages, grandstands, tents, canopies), and/or demonstration areas, activity participation areas are utilized by the public.
  3. Closing of a public street or private right-of-way.
  4. Requires temporary installation of equipment and/or buildings.
  5. Requires public safety support based upon Fire Department assessment.

Fire Protection Service Company Inspection Reports

All fire protection systems are required to be inspected and serviced at specific intervals by state licensed service companies. Those service companies are then required to forward a copy of each service report to the fire department having jurisdiction for the given location.

To upload Service Company Inspection Reports, 

Engine Company Business Inspections

Santa Barbara County Fire Department engine company personnel from the local fire stations conduct fire and life safety inspections on an annual or bi-annual basis to insure that businesses adhere to the requirements of the California Fire Code.

Complex Company Inspections

Complex inspections and those businesses that present a larger potential for life and/or dollar loss are conducted by Santa Barbara County Fire Department Inspectors. These inspections include schools, hospitals, large care facilities, hazardous occupancies, and assembly occupancies such as restaurants, movie theaters and auditoriums.

Special Hazard Permits

The following types of fire code operations present unique and especially hazardous procedures:

  1. Pyrotechnic and special effect displays (Fireworks)
  2. Fire performances
  3. Film productions
  4. Explosives
  5. Bonfires
  6. Model rocketry
  7. Welding, cutting, grinding, and other hot-work operations

The requirements for these operations are enforced by our Fire Investigation-Law Enforcement personnel. For more information on requirements/permits,

Fire Code Summaries

Because the California Fire Code is lengthy and complex, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Fire has created Code Summaries which lay out the requirements of the California Fire Code. Our Code Summaries are categorized one of two ways. The first is by Occupancy Types.

Permit Requirements

The second category of Code Summaries covers CFC Operational Permits which may be required when certain uses and/or types of storage are a part of your business.