September 6, 2016

Seattle Fire Escape Inspections

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Seattle Fire Escapes Inspections


Updated April 2012

Fire escapes may be used during emergencies by both building occupants and fire fighters. Many fire escapes were built in the early 1900’s.To assure the safety of their use from year to year the Seattle Fire Code requires them to be checked every five years.

1. A confidence test must be conducted on fire escapes and must be performed by, or conducted under the direct supervision of, a currently licensed Washington State Structural Engineer.The confidence test report must be stamped, dated and signed with the Professional Engineer’s stamp and submitted to the Seattle Fire Department’s Confidence Testing Unit.

There are professional testing agencies listed in various directories. Check for companies listed under fire escapes and fire protection.

Click here for complete Seattle fire escape code: 5973CAM FireEscapeTesting

Send us photos of your fire escape by email:

or click here to submit via an online form


2012 IFC 1104.16.5.1 Fire escape stairs must be examined every 5 years ,by design professional or others acceptable and inspection report must be submitted to the fire code official.


IBC 1001.3.3 All fire escapes shall be examined and/or tested and certified every five years by a design professional or others acceptable who will then submit an affidavit city official.


NFPA LIFE SAFETY CODE 101 The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) shall approve any fire escape by Load Test or other evidence of strength (Certification).


OSHA 1910.37 Exit routes must be maintained during construction, repairs, alterations or provide alternative egress with equivalent level of safety. (permit issued if egress is certified or with egress scaffolding) 

FIVE STEPS to Certify a Fire Escape:

  1. Schedule a pre load test evaluation by a design professional or others acceptable by City Official – AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction)
  2. Said professional will confirm with City Official if there are any other requirements other than load testing or other evidence of strength and if City Official wants to witness initial evaluation
  3. Submit evaluation report to owner/agent and a copy to the City Official as per code
  4. Issue certification, if passed, done by load test or other evidence of strength to City Official or, if failed, owner/agent and city official to confirm next steps (ex. engineer oversight, permits or other conditions)
  5. Please contact your local City Official (AHJ) with any questions about the above steps

Seattle Fire Escape Inspections