Fire Prevention Bureau

The goal of the Middletown Fire Prevention Bureau is to reduce the loss of life and property due to fire through fire prevention activities.

Basic Responsibilities

The Fire Prevention Bureau’s basic responsibilities include:

  • Enforcement of the fire prevention codes
  • Maintains fire inspection records
  • Public education
  • Reviewing Plat and Building plans for new construction and performing acceptance inspections for new fire protection installations

Fire Code Enforcement

Current Codes:

The Fire Prevention Bureau enforces the Ohio Fire Code and the Ohio Basic Building Code as it relates to fire prevention. 

These codes provide the tools necessary to achieve a fire safe environment in the regulated occupancies. Maintaining safe exits, emergency lighting, fire protection systems (such as alarm and sprinkler systems), and other general precautions against fire are addressed.


In the City of Middletown engine company personnel perform most of the inspections. All fire officers of the Middletown Fire Department are required to be Ohio State Certified Fire Safety Inspectors. The Fire Prevention Bureau conducts inspections of large commercial and industrial occupancies as well as schools and other occupancies as determined by the Fire Operation Captain.


Fire Prevention Bureau personnel become involved when violations found are not resolved at the engine company level or in response to referrals or complaints.

Building Safety

In conjunction with the City Building Department, the Fire Prevention Bureau reviews building plans for fire protection and life safety concerns. Fire Prevention personnel assist Construction Service inspectors in performing inspections of new or modified structures.

Top 10 Violations

  • Fire extinguishers missing or not serviced: Fire extinguishers must be serviced by a qualified technician every year. Every business is required to have at least 1 fire extinguisher. It must be within 75 feet of travel from any point in the business.
  • Exit signs and emergency lighting not working: All emergency exits are required to have an approved emergency exit sign that is connected to the building’s emergency power system or have a battery backup. The signs are to be lit at all times. The backup lighting shall work at any time. You can check the backup system at any time by using the test button on the exit sign. Emergency lighting must provide illumination to the entire emergency egress pathway at any time. These lights must work off the building’s emergency power or have a battery backup.
  • Extension cords being used improperly: Extension cords cannot be attached to any part of the building by any means. Extension cords are only allowed to portable devices. Extension cords must be plugged directly into a wall receptacle. Alternatives to extension cords are power surge protectors.
  • Sprinkler/suppression system not serviced: All sprinkler systems must be serviced yearly by a qualified technician. After the inspection, you are to receive a report with the results of the test. Copies of this report must be available to the inspector upon request. Hood suppression systems must be serviced biannually. Report must be available upon request.
  • High-pressure gas cylinders not secured: High pressure gas cylinders must be secured inside or outside so that the tank cannot fall.
  • Emergency egress pathways not maintained to exit doors: A clear path to all emergency exit doors must be maintained with 44 inches of clear space to allow occupants the ability to quickly exit the building.
  • Improper locking devices on emergency exit doors: Emergency exit doors are allowed to have only 1 locking device. Deadbolts that use a key on the inside are not allowed. Surface mounted locks such as deadbolts or padlocks are not allowed. Any locking device that requires special knowledge to its use or requires tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist is not allowed.
  • Piggy backing of surge protectors: Surge protectors must be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Plugging a surge protector into another surge protector is known as “piggy backing” and is not allowed. Multi-plug adaptors are not allowed unless the device is equipped with surge protection.
  • Open electrical devices: all electrical switches, receptacles and junction boxes must have the proper cover installed. This includes open slots in the electric panel.
  • Illegal construction or change of use: Anytime a business does construction/renovation, the Building Department should be notified to obtain the proper permits, if required, and to make sure all applicable building and fire codes are followed. Not obtaining permits can cause your construction to be halted. If changing use group, the Building Department must be notified. Different building and fire codes may apply to the new use group.

Open Burning Policy

Open Burning is defined as any burning that takes place in an unenclosed space. Examples include burning of leaves or grass clippings, ground cover or any construction debris.

Please feel free to contact the Middletown Fire Department with any concerns regarding this policy. It is our intention to make sure all citizens are treated fairly. 

Patio Fireplace

One area of consideration for Open Burning is the patio fireplace. These devices function the same as a masonry or factory built fireplace except that they are portable, outdoor, solid fuel burning patio fireplaces designed to provide ambiance and warmth in outdoor settings. They come in many styles and are typically constructed of steel with heavy duty screening around the firebox. Some are made of concrete or clay with a small hearth opening and are equipped with a short chimney.

These devices do not constitute the type of burning intended to be regulated by Section 307 of the Fire Code. Examples of Section 307 Open Burning include disposal of brush, construction rubbish, or household waste by burning.

If using a portable fireplace, clean and seasoned, Class A materials must be used. They do apply to the regulations of offensive or objectionable smoke or odor emissions and may be ordered to be extinguished. If there is a complaint from a neighbor, the fire may still be ordered to be put out.

Recreational Fires

Recreational fires must be at least 15 feet from a structure and must be below 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height and all combustibles surrounding the fire must be cleared. The fire shall be attended at all times until the fire is extinguished. A method to extinguish the fire must be readily available. Bonfires are allowed only after a permit from the Middletown Fire Department is given.