Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These frequently asked questions are designed to provide a better understanding of the Division of Fire Safety, our services and our fire safety recommendations. You may browse our frequently asked questions by selecting a topic listed below, or you can scroll down the page to view them all.

Fire Safety Recommendations

Homes, Apartments, Multi-family dwellings

Q? How often should I change the battery in my smoke detector?

A. The Division of Fire Safety recommends the battery in smoke detectors be changed twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. At a minimum, smoke detector batteries should be replaced annually. Detectors should also be checked monthly to be sure the audible alarm is operating properly.

Q? Should I have a fire extinguisher in my home and what type should I purchase?

A. The Division of Fire Safety recommends you keep at least one fire extinguisher in your home, preferably one extinguisher per level. A fire extinguisher should be placed in your kitchen near cooking appliances in case of emergencies. An extinguisher should also be available in the garage area or where mechanical rooms (furnace, water heater, electrical panel) are located.

Q? Does the Division of Fire Safety recommend the use of carbon monoxide detectors in my home?

A. Yes, if your home has any gas-fired or wood burning appliances (cooking stove, heating appliance, water heater, fireplace, etc.) or has an attached garage, then a carbon monoxide detector is needed. Generally, the carbon monoxide detector should be installed in a central location so occupants can hear the audible alarm. Carbon monoxide detectors should NOT be installed inside a furnace or mechanical room.

For other important home fire safety tips, we recommend you visit the U.S. Fire Administration Web site at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/index.shtm. There are several articles and information available to review and download at no cost.

Additionally, the Division of Fire Safety can be contacted for any information concerning fire safety tips in your home, or you may contact your local fire department for assistance.

Training

Q? I have successfully completed a course (i.e. Hazardous Materials, Fire Officer, Fire Service Instructor) and received my course completion certificate. When can I take the state certification written examination?

A. The Division of Fire Safety establishes regional testing dates and locations throughout Missouri. Please refer to our testing and course calendar for dates and locations.

Q? How long after successfully completing a course do I have to take the State Certification Exam?

A. You must complete the certification process within one year of the course completion date. You will be required to retake the course if you want to become certified and have failed to meet the one year requirement.

Q? Do I have to successfully complete a course and pass the State Certification tests for Hazardous Materials Awareness or Operations before I can be certified at the Fire Fighter I and II level?

A. Yes. In order to be certified to the Fire Fighter I and II 1001-current standard you must have documentation that you have successfully completed the Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations courses and then passed the appropriate State Certification Exams for both.

Q? After my Fire Fighter I and II classes are complete, can my instructor then administer the state written examination?

A. No. All Division of Fire Safety State Certification written exams must be administered or proctored by a Division of Fire Safety staff member.

Q? What are my options for testing if I am unable to attend the regional scheduled certification exam or require a retest?

A. If you are unable to take the exam on the scheduled region date/location or need to retest, you may test at any of the regional testing dates or at the Division of Fire Safety, located in Jefferson City, every third Saturday of the month. Deadline dates for these Saturday exam dates can be found on the testing and course calendar.

Q? Do I have to test within my region?

A. No. You may test at any location throughout the state. Just remember to submit your application and required documentation by the due date listed on the testing and course calendar.

Q? How long after I have taken the written State Certification Exam will I receive my results?

A. The Division of Fire Safety will score all exams and students will be notified by letter or certificate accordingly within 30 days of the exam.

Q? If I call the division can I get my written certification exam results?

A. No. Certification test scores are not released to any individual, instructor, fire chief, agency or organization, and they are not retained in the individual's file. A letter of notification of pass/fail status is forwarded to each student completing the exam at his or her home address.

Q? If I don't pass the state exam, how long do I have before retesting?

A. A student failing the exam may retest 14 days after receiving notification of failure. Visit the testing and course calendar for test dates and locations or contact the Division of Fire Safety offices. Also, if a student does not retest within one year of the course completion date, his or her records will be deemed inactive.

Q? How long do I have to submit my completed Fire Officer practical skills book?

A. Two months. Failure to do so will result in automatic failure.

Q? If I do not pass a practical skills examination, can I retake it?

A. This differs slightly for each certification level. Please refer to the appropriate certification booklet for clear examination requirements.

Q? If I am a certified Fire Investigator, Fire Inspector, or Fire Service Instructor do I need to re-certify to keep my certification current?

A. Yes. Please refer to the certification booklets found in each certification level on the training unit homepage for recertification requirements.

Q? I am a certified Fire Investigator, Fire Inspector or Fire Service Instructor and have not received my renewal notice. Why?

A. Most of the time it is because you have moved and we were not notified of your new address. It is important that you update your information with the Division of Fire Safety so that you are properly notified when your recertification is due. Failure to do so may result in expiration of that level.

Q? What courses are you accepting for the Rescue Technician certification process?

A. The only classes currently approved for the certification process are offered by the University of Missouri, Fire and Rescue Training Institute.

Q? From what sources are the state certification exam questions generated?

A. Each certification level uses different reference material for the generation of the test questions. Please refer to each certification booklet for references used.

Q? I have misplaced my State Certificate(s). Can I get a copy?

A. No. We do not issue replacement certificates for any level. Once the original State Certificate is issued, we cannot reproduce a certificate. While we will not replace certificates, we can issue an official verification letter on our letterhead stating the levels for which you have been certified.

For questions regarding training, contact Kim Becker at Training@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

Investigations

Q? Who can request services of the Division of Fire Safety's Investigations Unit?

A. Services can only be requested by representatives of law enforcement and fire service agencies. Citizens or representatives of the insurance industry cannot request investigative services. (RSMo 320.230)

Q? Are investigations conducted by the Division of Fire Safety the same as investigations conducted by an insurance investigator?

A. No, although these types of investigations are similar in nature and often parallel each other, investigations conducted by the Division of Fire Safety are completely separate from investigations conducted by insurance investigators on behalf of an insurance company.

Q? What is the statute violation for burning a vehicle?

A. Knowingly burning, which is when a person knowingly damages property of another by starting a fire, is a Class D felony. (RSMo 569.055)

Q? When can a person be charged with negligent burning?

A. When they start a fire with criminal negligence (should have been aware of the risk) that causes damage to property of another.

Q? When can a person be charged with reckless burning?

A. When they recklessly (was aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk) damage or destroy a building or inhabitable structure of another by starting a fire. (RSMo 569.060)

Blasting

Q? Who does the Missouri Blasting Safety Act regulate?

A. The act regulates users of explosives, which are defined as “any individual, proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, company, or joint venture that is required to hold authority to receive or use explosives under statutes or regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and who employs licensed blasters.”

The act also regulates blasters defined as persons “qualified to be in charge of and responsible for the loading and firing of an explosive or explosive material.”

Q? Who enforces the requirements of the Missouri Blasting Safety Act?

A. The Missouri Division of Fire Safety enforces the Missouri Blasting Safety Act. The division is responsible for testing blasters and investigating violations of the act. The State Blasting Safety Board is also responsible for assisting the division in regulating the act’s requirements.

Q? What are the registration requirements of the act for users of explosives?

A. Any individual, proprietorship, partnership, firm, corporation, or company that uses explosives in Missouri must register with the division prior to use. A $200 fee must be submitted with the initial registration. Any explosives user required to register must also file an annual report with the division for the preceding calendar year by January 31. A $500 fee, plus $2 per ton of explosives used in Missouri for the year must be submitted with the annual report.

Failure to register will result in penalties and fines.

Q? What is considered a violation of the act for users of explosives?

A. It is a violation of the Missouri Blasting Safety Act for any explosives users to:

  • Engage in blasting other than by a licensed blaster or an individual working under the direct supervision of a licensed blaster.
  • Fail to calculate the scaled distance, conduct monitoring of vibration and noise levels, and conduct record keeping as required.
  • Fail to carry a minimum of $1 million in commercial general liability insurance.

Q? What are the requirements of the act for users of explosives?

A. Any explosives users in Missouri must:

  • Notify the Division of Fire Safety in writing or by telephone at least two business days before using explosives at a site where blasting has not been previously conducted. If blasting will be conducted at an ongoing project, the user is only required to make one notice to the division before the first use of explosives.
  • Notify the appropriate representative of the municipality where the blasting is to occur in writing or by telephone at least two business days in advance of blasting at that location.
  • Notify the owner or occupant of any residence or business within the jurisdiction of a municipality located within a scaled distance of 55 from the site of blasting prior to the start of blasting at any new location.

Q? Are explosives users required to have a blaster’s license?

A. No, an explosives user is not required to hold a blaster’s license, but all blasting on behalf of a user of explosives can only be performed by licensed blasters. No individual shall load or fire explosives or direct any individual to load or fire explosives unless that individual has a valid blaster's license or is under the direct supervision and responsibility of an individual having a valid blaster's license.

Q? Is there any state regulations relating to surface blasting operations in Missouri?

A. No, local governmental jurisdictions in some areas of the state have restrictions and regulations. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Bureau of Mines regulates underground blasting operations.

Q? What are the registration requirements of the act for blasters?

A. Blasters must submit an appropriate application to the division, including all required documentation. A license may be granted to applicants who have held a valid license or certification from another source in the last three years if all of the qualifications for obtaining the license meet or exceed the provisions of this section.

A license may also be granted to an individual employed as a blaster on or before December 31, 2000, and who has accumulated 1,000 hours of training or education pertaining to blasting and experience working for a specific user of explosives within two years immediately prior to applying for a license.

Q? How does a blaster obtain a license?

A. The Division of Fire Safety administers standard examinations for qualifying individuals to obtain a blaster's license. No individual is allowed to take an examination to obtain a blaster's license unless that individual has completed an approved training course within two years of taking the examination. The division must also approve all training courses for blasters.

Q? Does a blaster’s license expire?

A. Yes, a blaster's license expires three years from the date of issuance. To qualify for a license renewal, an individual must provide documentation of completing eight hours of approved explosives-related training, at least half of which must be completed within the year prior to renewal.

For questions regarding blasting safety, contact investigation@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

Fireworks

Q? Who is required in the state of Missouri to obtain a Special Fireworks Display permit? Who grants this permit?

A. Anyone who discharges special fireworks as defined by Missouri statute (RSMo 320.106.11) is required to obtain a special fireworks permit. This permit is granted by the Division of Fire Safety or any local fire services that have authority in the area where the display is to be conducted. (RSMo 320.126.4)

Q? What fireworks do not require a permit by the state of Missouri?

A. Devices containing less than .025 grains of explosive compounds such as matches, toy pistols, toy canons, party poppers or other similar devices as defined by RSMo 320.131.5.

Q? Is there any state regulations relating to surface blasting operations in Missouri?

A. No, local governmental jurisdictions in some areas of the state have restrictions and regulations. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Bureau of Mines regulates underground blasting operations.

Q? Does the Division of Fire Safety have the authority to make exemptions on the powder contents of fireworks?

A. No.

Q? Does the Division of Fire Safety regulate storage bunkers for fireworks?

A. No. The U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and some local governmental jurisdictions have regulations for bunkers used for storage of explosive material.

Q? What is required of a person or business to sell display or proximate fireworks products and services in the state of Missouri?

A. Any person or business selling products or services for a fireworks display or a proximate display in the state of Missouri must be permitted as a manufacturer or distributor by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. The person providing the services or conducting the display must be a State Licensed Display Operator or State Licensed Proximate Operator and have the proper permit for the display site issued by the Division of Fire Safety or the local fire service Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and any federal permits that might be required per RSMo. 320.126 (2).

Q? If a person enters the state of Missouri to purchase display or proximate fireworks to be used in another state, what is required?

A. This person must have a federal license and must have, if applicable, permit(s) for the state the fireworks are to be used in.

Q? What is required of a local government entity to possess and/or conduct a display or proximate display of fireworks?

A. They must have a display permit issued by the local AHJ or the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and a licensed display operator or proximate display operator to conduct the display. They must also meet all other requirements per RSMo. 320.126 (6) (7).

Q? Are proximate fireworks regulated by the state of Missouri?

A. Yes, as per RSMo 320.126. Legislation passed in 2004 states that all indoor and outdoor proximate displays (theatrical) are regulated by the State Fire Marshal. All displays shall be inspected and approved by the local fire service jurisdiction or AHJ. If the local jurisdiction does not prevail, an application by a licensed operator or licensed proximate operator must be submitted to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. A plan review will be submitted and field personnel will review an inspection of the facility before any permit is issued.

For questions regarding fireworks safety, contact Bill Zieres at Investigation@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

Fire Inspection Unit

Q? Do I need a fire inspection?

A. Because fire and building codes are adopted at the local level in Missouri, there is no state requirement for facilities to have an annual inspection unless such occupancy is regulated by Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Mental Health or Department of Social Services. Some communities have adopted local fire or building codes with which occupancies are required to comply. The Division of Fire Safety strongly encourages commercial occupancies to have an annual fire safety inspection to ensure compliance with nationally recognized fire codes. Such inspections provide a safe working environment for you, your employees and your customers.

Q? Does Missouri have a statewide fire code?

A. Missouri does not have a statewide fire code, but Missouri does have state regulations affecting most licensed day cares nursing home facilities and other state licensed facilities. Always contact your local jurisdiction for any applicable adopted codes.

Q? How can I report a fire hazard?

A. To report a possible fire hazard, you may contact the Division of Fire Safety office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (573) 522-6207. You may also email the division at Inspect@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

The division requires information about the violation, including the address of the violation and responsible party's name, if available. Your contact information for further assistance and outcome information is also required.

Q? What if I have a fire safety question?

A. You may email Inspect@dfs.dps.mo.gov with your question.

Q? Do I need to have fire safety equipment inspected?

A. If you are in a community that has adopted a fire code or your licensed facility requires compliance with fire safety rules, then equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, standpipes, etc. are typically required to be serviced on an annual basis.  Other systems may require inspections at different times throughout the year.  Fire protection and extinguishing systems can only be installed and serviced by companies qualified to do so.  If you have any questions please call (573) 751-2930. 

Q? How many fire extinguishers are recommended for my building?

A. The fire code says all commercial buildings are required to have a minimum 2A*10B*C rated fire extinguisher within 75 feet of all points of the building(s).  Stairs may not be used as a path to an extinguisher.  Typically, one 2A*10B*C extinguisher can serve a maximum 3,000 square foot area. Some operations and facilities have more stringent requirements.

Q? How often should I change the battery in my smoke detector?

A. It is recommended that the battery be changed at least once a year or whenever the detector makes a chirping sound, indicating low battery power.

Q? What is the best type of fire extinguisher to have in my facility?

A. Generally speaking, the best type is one marked "ABC." The minimum size allowed is one marked 2A-10B:C.

Q? Why am I required to have my fire extinguisher inspected annually?

A. Fire extinguishers are considered a high-pressure device. A malfunctioning gauge can indicate a full charge when in fact the extinguisher is not fully charged. Also, the hose can become blocked by debris.

Q? Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?

A. If your home has any gas-fired or wood burning appliances (cook stove, water heater, furnace, fireplace, etc.) or has an attached garage, a carbon monoxide detector is required. Generally, the carbon monoxide detector should be installed in a central location so the occupants can hear it. Carbon monoxide detectors should not be installed inside a furnace room.

Q? How often should I conduct fire and disaster drills?

A. You must conduct fire drills on a monthly basis and disaster drills every three months.

Q? Can artwork be hung on walls?

A. Artwork and teaching materials are limited to 30 percent of the wall's surface.

Q? Can artwork be hung from the ceiling?

A. Not unless the material used has a fire resistive rating or has been treated with a fire resistive material.  Rapid flame spread occurs when combustible material is hung from the ceiling and burning debris can fall onto occupants.

Q? Why are portable space heaters not allowed?

A. Portable space heaters are well known for causing or being a contributing factor in fires. These devices are easily tipped over and pose a burn injury risk to children.

Q? Why are un-vented gas appliances not allowed?

A. Un-vented gas appliances are not allowed due to potential carbon monoxide risks.  Nationally recognized fire codes do not allow these appliances to be located in a childcare setting.  It should be noted that manufacturers’ guidelines instruct the owner to keep a window open during the use of these appliances.

For questions regarding the Fire Inspection Unit, contact Joanne Page at Inspect@dfs.dps.mo.gov or (573) 522-6207.

Amusement Ride Safety

Q? How do I know if a particular amusement ride has been inspected?

A. Upon completion of the permitting process, the Division of Fire Safety issues each ride an adhesive operating permit that is to be placed on or near the rides control panel or operator's station.

Q? What type of amusement rides are required to be inspected?

A. RSMo 316.203(1) defines an amusement ride as any mechanical device that carries or conveys passengers along, around or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, pleasure or excitement.

Q? Are inflatable or bounce attractions required to be inspected?

A. No, these attractions are not required to obtain a state-operating permit due to the absence of mechanical moving parts, although inflatable dry slides over 20 feet in height shall have an annual inspection and obtain a state operating permit.

Q? Are water related rides such as slides or wave pools required to be inspected?

A. No, these attractions are exempt; however, water rides with mechanical moving parts are required to obtain state operating permits.

Q? Who can conduct amusement ride safety inspections?

A. Amusement ride safety inspections must be conducted by an inspector approved by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety.  To be an approved inspector, an individual must be certified by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) or meet minimum criteria as outlined in the State of Missouri Promulgated Rules and Regulations found in 11CSR 40-6.060.

Q? How do I know if an individual has been approved by the Division of Fire Safety as a qualified ride inspector?

A. The division maintains an up-to-date list of those individuals who meet the status of a qualified inspector. Simply contact the division to obtain the list or inquire about a specific individual.

Q? How often is an amusement ride safety inspection required?

A. RSMo 316.210(1) requires an annual safety inspection by a qualified inspector.

Q? What is the safety inspection based upon?

A. An amusement ride safety inspection is to be conducted based upon nationally recognized inspection standards and the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines.

Q? Are all climbing walls required to be inspected?

A. All climbing walls over 10 feet in height are required to pass and annual safety inspection and have a state operating permit. Climbing walls less than 10 feet in height are exempt from the inspection and permitting process.

Q? If an amusement ride accident occurs, what is the responsibility of the amusement ride owner?

A. According to RSMo 316.209, the amusement ride owner is required to cease operation of the ride upon which a fatality, serious physical injury or serious incident occurs. The owner is to immediately notify the Division of Fire Safety at which time an investigation into the incident is to be initiated. Failure to notify the division may result in criminal charges.

Q? Does Missouri's Amusement Ride Safety Act address rider responsibility?

A. Yes, RSMo 316.230 directs riders to obey posted rules and regulations as well as verbal instructions. Violation of this section may result in criminal charges against the rider. For questions, contact Larry Watson, Public Safety Manager, at Amusement@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety

Q? What is the purpose of Missouri's Boiler & Pressure Vessel Safety Act?

A. The purpose of the act is to protect property and ensure the safety of those who work with and come in contact with boilers and pressure vessels.

Q? When did the Boiler & Pressure Vessel Act become law?

A. The law (RSMo 650.200 through 650.295) became effective in 1984.

Q? Whose responsibility is it to ensure that boiler and pressure vessels are inspected on a timely basis and that the inspection certificate for each object is kept up-to-date and posted?

A. The act and promulgated rules and regulations (11 CSR40-2.010 through 11 CSR 40-2.060) make it the owner/operator’s responsibility to ensure required inspections and state operating certificates are posted and up-to-date.

Q? Does the act/law require a facility to allow access to a boiler and pressure vessel inspector to conduct the safety inspection?

A. Yes, access to a facility during a reasonable hour is required for the following inspections: to determine if a boiler or pressure vessel is required to comply with the act/law; to conduct an external inspection without prior notification being given; to conduct an internal inspection during a mutually agreed time prior to the expiration of a state operating certificate; and to conduct an investigation of an accident or alleged violation(s).

Q? The act/law requires boiler or pressure vessels be constructed to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler & Pressure Vessel Codes (ASME Codes). Can boilers and pressure vessels constructed before a certain date still be operated without complying with this code?

A. Yes, in general, if the boiler or pressure vessel was installed before Nov. 12, 1986, and the object complies with a safety inspection, it may be grandfathered from such construction codes.

Q? If a boiler or pressure vessel was installed after Nov. 12, 1986, does it have to comply with ASME Code in relation to construction and be registered with the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors?

A. Yes, all boilers and pressure vessels that fall under the state jurisdiction laws/rules must be code constructed and National Board registered. The Missouri Boiler & Pressure Vessel Board may grant a variance to this requirement during one of its quarterly meetings in Jefferson City.

Q? Is there a fee for a boiler or pressure vessel to be inspected and receive a state certification?

A. Yes, to obtain the state-operating certificate, the fee is $20 for each object. If the inspection is conducted by a Division of Fire Safety Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspector an additional fee is charged based on the size and type of the object inspected ($16 for pressure vessels; $18 for water heaters; and $25 to $45 for boilers).

Q? Is an inspector with the Division of Fire Safety required to conduct the safety inspection?

A. No. Typically, insurance providers for boilers and pressure vessels have individuals on staff that have been approved and commissioned by the state to conduct required safety inspections.

Q? Is it against the act/law to operate a boiler or pressure vessel in Missouri without a valid state inspection certificate?

A. Yes, operating a boiler or pressure vessel in the state without a valid state inspection certificate is a Class A misdemeanor as specified by the act/law.

Q? Are state inspection certificates required on boilers or pressure vessels located in private residences or other locations where childcare is being provided as regulated by the Department of Health or other state agencies?

A. Yes, all objects in day care locations regulated by the Department of Health or other state agencies must comply with the Boiler & Pressure Vessel Act.

For questions regarding boiler and pressure vessel safety, contact Gary Scribner at Boiler@dfs.dps.mo.gov.

Elevator Safety

Q? What elevator code is being enforced in Missouri?

A. The Elevator Safety Board has adopted ASME A17.1 1996 as well as established a minimum state standard applicable to elevators and installations installed prior to July 1999.

Q? Are all elevators and installations inspected to the ASME 1996 A17.1 code?

A. No, elevators are inspected to the Missouri minimum standards. In municipalities that had an edition of the ASME A17.1 code adopted, those elevators would be re-inspected to the edition in which the unit was installed.

Q? What is the cost of an elevator inspection?

A. Competitive pricing drives the cost of an inspection. Costs may vary between different state licensed inspectors, so it is recommended that a customer obtain more than one bid for conducting the inspection. Usually if a re-inspection is required, a cost is associated with the re-inspection.

Q? What guidelines or procedures are required for the inspection?

A. A representative from your elevator service company or your staff who is knowledgeable in the testing of elevators must be present along with a state-licensed inspector. In order to set up an inspection you must contact a state-licensed inspector along with your elevator service company representative to be present during the inspection. A current list of state licensed inspectors may be obtained at http://dfs.dps.mo.gov/programs/elevator/elevator-inspector-list.asp or by contacting the Division of Fire Safety at (573) 751-2930.

Q? After completion of the inspection who do I contact to get information on how to correct any violations?

A. You may either contact your elevator service company or the inspector that conducted the inspection. The Division of Fire Safety will provide written notification of the violations and notice of 120 days to comply.

Q? If violations cannot be corrected within the 120 day time frame, can additional time be provided?

A. Yes, to request additional time you must submit in writing a request for an extension with details outlining proposed dates of completion.

Q? How often is a state inspection required?

A. A state inspection is required annually.

Q? When is a re-inspection required?

A. A re-inspection is required on all life safety violations. This includes fire service, sprinkler systems and any major violations that could cause injury to a rider. The Division of Fire Safety will usually indicate on the letter outlining violations if a re-inspection is required.

For questions regarding elevator safety, contact Larry Watson at Elevator@dfs.dps.mo.gov.