The Lynden Fire Department (LFD) would like to inform the public about Life Safety Inspections (LSI). With the addition of 7 day a week day staffing these inspections are now feasible. Each business within the City Limits of Lynden will be required to have an LSI annually. The Fire Chief or firefighters that come to the business are there to inspect for the safety of employees, visitors, and customers of your business using the latest version of the International Fire Code (IFC). After an inspection is complete the LFD will meet with the responsible party and inform them of any hazards or violations. The business will have what the LFD determines as a timely manner to fix the problem. The LFD will come back and check that the proper fixes have been made. A violation will not result in a business being shut down and will not result in any citations unless the business fails to cooperate with the LFD. The LFD wants to work hand in hand to make our community and businesses as safe as possible. Some of the common hazards firefighters are faced with are: blocked exits, outdated or missing fire extinguishers, lack of exit signs, overloaded extension cords, faulty emergency lighting to name a few. To assist the LFD, listed below are some of the items the inspectors will be looking for during an inspection. Some items maybe different according to the type of occupancy and number of people.


-Ensure your address is clearly posted on your building, and is visible from the street. Numbers must be a minimum of 4″ in height. Use contrasting colors.

Electrical Panels

-Keep storage at least 30 inches from electrical panels. Identify and label all electrical panel switches. Do not tape electrical breaker switches in the open (on) position.

Emergency Lighting

-Check your emergency lighting once a month. This can be done by turning off the breaker(s) to your overhead lighting. Always call a licensed electrician to perform this task if you’re unsure how too. Also check to ensure the light bulbs in your exit signs are working. The bulbs need to work with both normal power and when power is lost.

Protective Systems

-Make sure your fire protection systems (fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire extinguisher) are serviced by a registered company on an annual basis.

Emergency Exits

-Always keep exits unblocked and accessible.
-Never have more than ONE approved locking device on an exit door.
-Exits and exit access doors shall be marked by an approved exit sign readily visible from any direction of egress travel. Access to exits shall be marked by readily visible exit signs in cases where the exit or the path of egress travel is not immediately visible to the occupants. Exit sign placement shall be such that no point in an exit access corridor is more than 100 feet from a sign.
-Exit signs shall be internally or externally illuminated or shall be of approved self-luminous type.

Fire Extinguishers

-Provide a minimum 2A-10BC rated fire extinguisher, mounted and accessible, within 75 feet of all points in the building. Stairs, ramps, and elevators cannot be used in the travel distance. Each level needs separate extinguishers. Fire extinguishers shall be located in a conspicuous and readily available locations immediately available for use. Fire extinguishers shall not be obscured from view.
-Fire extinguishers shall be installed so that its top is no more than 5 feet above the floor if less than 40 pounds. Fore fire extinguishers over 40 pounds, the top shall be no more than 3.5 feet above the floor.
-Cooking equipment involving vegetable or animal oils and fats shall be protected by a Class K rated portable fire extinguisher provided within 30 feet travel distance of commercial-type cooking equipment.
-Fire extinguishers shall be serviced annually and shall have a current service tag attached.

Extension Cords

-Never use extension cords for permanent wiring. If you need power to an area call a licensed electrician to install a new outlet(s). Listed surge protectors are allowed.
-Extension cords shall not be affixed to structures, extended through walls, ceilings or floors.


-Keep “combustible” storage and other items at least 24 inches from the ceiling in non-sprinklered buildings, and 18 inches below the sprinkler heads in sprinklered buildings.


-Have your cooking hood fire suppression system serviced bi-annually. The service is required to be done by a registered fire protection company. Also, make sure you keep the hood and vents clean to help prevent fires.
-If you cook with animal based oils (i.e. lard), ensure you have a 40BC rated fire extinguisher within 30 feet of all points in the kitchen. If you cook with vegetable oils (i.e. canola oil), you’ll need a “K” rated fire extinguisher within 30 feet of all points in the kitchen.
-Also check with the company servicing your cooking hood fire suppression system to ensure your system is “listed for the oil you use”. Older systems (before 1998) sometimes will not extinguish fires in equipment with vegetable based oils.
-Every room or space that is an assembly occupancy shall have the occupant load of the room or space posted in a conspicuous place and maintained by the owner.

Knox Box

-Last but not least. Have a Knox box installed at your front door with a key to the front door. This is a code requirement and is a very safe system. Your LFD inspector will leave you an order form to order your Knox box. Fill it out and bring to the station (215 4th St.) with payment to Knox Company. I will sign it and send it off to the Knox Company. There is a possibility of sharing a box with one of your neighboring business.

If you have any questions, comments or would like to schedule an inspection; please call the Lynden Fire Department, (360)354-4400 during office hours Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Or stop by at 215 4th Street across from the Lynden Library.

 Gary Baar