Inspection Services/Permits

The Inspection Services Section is a subset of the Fire Prevention Division and is responsible for coordinating and supporting the various fire and life safety inspection programs conducted by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. The purpose of those inspection programs is to insure that local businesses and agencies follow the requirements of local fire ordinances and provisions of the California Fire Code (CFC).

Questions and/or concerns involving inspection requirements, permit procedures and/or permit requirements can be directed to the Inspection Services Section at 805-681-5537.


Any tent over 400 square feet and canopy over 700 square feet in size are required to have a CFC Operational Permit. If located with the SBC Fire jurisdiction, obtain and fill out a Santa Barbara County Fire Tent Permit Application. Start this process well in advance of the event to minimize any potential inconvenience.

To learn the tent permit process and obtain a tent permit application, click here.


SPECIAL EVENT PERMITS (Carnivals, Fairs, and Festivals)
A special event is defined as a temporary gathering of 50 or more participants involving one or more of the following activities:
a) Exclusive use of public facilities such as buildings, parks, streets, parking lots, athletic fields, etc.
b) Use of private property where temporary structures (stages, grandstands, tents, canopies), and/or demonstration areas, activity participation areas are utilized by the public.
c) Closing of a public street or private right-of-way.
d) Requires temporary installation of equipment and/or buildings.
e) Requires public safety support based upon Fire Department assessment.

For assistance with planning and obtaining the necessary approvals from Santa Barbara County Fire for your special event, click here.


All fire protection systems are required to be inspected and serviced at specific intervals by state licensed service companies. Those service companies are then required to forward a copy of each service report to the fire department having jurisdiction for the given location.

To learn more about service company inspection reports, click here.


Santa Barbara County Fire Department conducts fire and life safety inspections on an annual basis to insure that businesses adhere to the requirements of the California Fire Code. In addition to Engine Company Inspections, the department has incorporated the B-SAFE Self-Inspection Program as an element of our safety inspection process.

B-SAFE Program
The Business Safety And Fire Education Program (B-SAFE) is an education program for small business and building owners which teaches the responsible party how to keep their employees, their customers, and their property fire safe by adhering to the requirements of the California Building and Fire Codes. Education materials and a self-inspection check-list allow for the business owner to educate him/herself and their employees in learning the safety inspection process.

Engine Company Inspections
More complex inspections and those businesses that present a larger potential for life and/or dollar loss are conducted by Santa Barbara County Fire Department engine company personnel from the local fire stations. These inspections include schools, hospitals, large care facilities, hazardous occupancies, and assembly occupancies such as restaurants, movie theaters and auditoriums.


Mobile Welding Permits for operations with the SBC jurisdiction may be obtained at any local County fire station. See the requirements for Welding/Hot Work by reviewing our Code Summary for that use. You will be inspected for and must comply with all CFC requirements before a Mobile Welding Permit is issued. Fees for permits will be billed through the mail. The inspection report issued to you by the engine company at completion of the permit inspection will serve as a temporary permit until your Mobile Welding Permit is mailed to you after payment.


Because the California Fire Code is lengthy and complex, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Fire has created Code Summaries which lay out the requirements of the California Fire Code. Our Code Summaries are categorized one of two ways. The first is by building Occupancy Types.

To see the various Code Summaries, click here.


The second category of Code Summaries covers CFC Operational Permits which may be required when certain uses and/or types of storage are a part of your business.

To see the various Permit Requirements, click here.