For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2020
Community Affairs Manager
Spokane Valley Fire
SPOKANE VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT HELPS DETERMINE REDUCED OCCUPANCY FOR BUSINESSES UNDER GOVERNOR INSLEE’S PHASE 2 RE-OPENING PLAN
Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) is providing some occupancy guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy as we move into Phase 2.
Under Governor Inslee’s Phase 2 reopening plan, certain businesses can reopen but at reduced capacity. For businesses with a posted occupant load, or a certificate of occupancy that stipulates occupant load, that should be used as the basis to determine the reduced capacity per the order.
“Many businesses do not have a posted occupant load and are trying to determine what their occupant load is in order to comply with the reduced capacity requirements of the Governor’s Plan,” said Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Marshal, Greg Rogers. “We are here to help them so they can open and be in compliance with those Phase 2 occupancy load expectations.”
SVFD wants to assist with occupancy determination and has developed a guide to help.
If business owners have access to the permit or design plan documents for their business, the front page of the documents typically contains occupant load calculations. If they do not have access to the permit or design documents, the following may help determine the occupant load.
In areas without fixed seats, the occupant load is determined based on the use of the space.
Areas with tables and chairs: 15 s.f./person
Example: Restaurant area of 3,000 s.f. (do not include kitchen and other “back of house” functions): 3,000/15 = 200 persons.
Phase 2 Reopening: Maximum 50% Capacity – no bar seating. In this example, the maximum capacity would be limited to 100 persons.
Retail (not including malls): 60 s.f./person
Example: Store area of 1,500 s.f. (do not include storeroom and other “back of house” functions): 1,500/60 = 25 persons
Phase 2 Reopening: Maximum 30% Capacity. In this example, the maximum occupancy would be 7 in addition to the employees. The Governor’s plan requires that the reduced occupant load is posted conspicuously at the store entrance.
Building and Fire Codes are used to determine the occupant load of buildings and spaces. The determination is used to ensure that there are enough exits, they are properly separated, and of sufficient width so that in an emergency occupants can safely evacuate. The reduced occupant load required by the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening reduces the normally allowable occupant load to help maintain proper physical distancing for health reasons.
Need additional help? An online occupant load estimator is available at: https://www.fireinspection360.com/occupantload. Please remember that this will provide the building and fire code occupant load that must be further reduced in accordance with the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening requirements.
You can also contact SVFD Fire Marshal’s Office at (509) 892-4153 or theS pokane Valley Permit Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 720-5240 for additional assistance.
About Spokane Valley Fire Department
Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) serves a population of 125,000, including the cities of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood, as well as surrounding unincorporated areas within the 75-square miles of Spokane County Fire District 1. In 2019, SVFD firefighter crews, including its paramedics and EMTs, responded to more than 18,326 emergency calls.
Established eighty years ago in 1940, SVFD is committed to pursuing excellence and is distinguished as an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and by the fire district’s ISO Class 2 rating from the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau.
Connect with SVFD at: spokanevalleyfire.com. For department news, safety information, and timely updates, find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.