Yearly Fire Inspection of All Charter Schools
To: School Leaders and Board Chairs of All Charter Schools
From: Lisa Long, Executive Director
Date: January 27, 2023
Subject: Yearly Fire Inspection of New York City and Rest of State Charter Schools
All charter schools operating in New York State are required to have an initial fire inspection and valid Certificate of Occupancy prior to the use of any building to be occupied by anyone, including, but not limited to, children, faculty, and/or staff. Thereafter, charter schools are required to maintain a valid Certificate of Occupancy and must obtain annual fire inspections as a condition of operation. Fire inspection reports are required to be completed annually. Failure to meet these requirements can result in the immediate inability to continue to operate in the applicable facility.
Charter Schools in New York City
For charter schools in New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) co-located space, the NYCDOE assumes all responsibility for the building, and no further action is needed from the school unless otherwise notified by the NYCDOE. All other charter schools located in New York City are responsible for ensuring that the initial and subsequent annual fire inspections occur. In New York City, annual fire inspections are conducted centrally by the FDNY Bureau of Fire Prevention, not the local fire precinct.
An initial fire inspection may be requested from the FDNY by calling the Public Buildings Unit at 718-999-2411 or you may request an inspection online by emailing email@example.com (link sends e-mail). Upon inspection by the FDNY, an A106 form will be issued (see sample below). It is this form, in New York City, that may be requested by your authorizer to verify that the charter school has met all fire inspection requirements.
After the initial fire inspection, the FDNY should automatically schedule fire inspections on an annual basis. If this fails to occur, it is the responsibility of the charter school to ensure that the FDNY is contacted annually, and a fire inspection takes place in the required time frame.
Rest of State Charter Schools
All Charter schools outside of New York City are required to hold emergency drills, and comply with annual fire inspection reporting requirements, as follows:
Schools chartered prior to 2010 are subject to local code enforcement rules and requirements, with the locality serving as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). These schools are required to have an annual fire inspection, between July 1st and December 1st, after which the Nonpublic School Fire Inspection Report must be submitted to the NYSED State Office of Religious and Independent Schools (SORIS) no later than December 16th each year through the NYSED Application Business Portal. Hard copy paper inspection reports are no longer accepted by NYSED. For these purposes, the Nonpublic School Fire Inspection Report and Manual are used.
Schools chartered after 2010 must adhere to the same requirements as all other public schools within New York State (and outside of New York City), with NYSED Office of Facilities Planning serving as the AHJ. Prior to occupancy, all charter school buildings must obtain a valid Certificate of Occupancy from NYSED. These schools are required to have an annual fire inspection, and the due dates for these inspections are determined by the school’s geographic location within New York State. Hard copy paper inspection reports are no longer accepted by NYSED. Instead, each school must obtain a valid Certificate of Occupancy through the NYSED Application Business Portal. The NYSED Office of Facilities Planning can assist charter schools with any questions or comments about this process and can guide charter school representatives through submission of the required information, electronically, through the portal. Additional information on this process can be found at: https://www.p12.nysed.gov/facplan/FireSafety.htm.
Please note: Approval by the NYSED Office of Facilities Planning is required whether or not the building is leased versus owned, and even if the school receives facility approval and/or a Certificate of Occupancy from the local jurisdiction.