Code Enforcement

The Fire Division is responsible for enforcement of the International Fire Code, the adopted fire code for the city.  Copies of the code are available for viewing at the Fire Station #1, 7830 Shaver Road, in the office of the City Clerk at City Hall, 7900 South Westnedge Avenue or on-line, provided under External Links.

Code officials are responsible for enforcing requirements during planning, construction and occupancy. The Code officials are also responsible for approval of all new building sites and developments to insure adequate emergency vehicle access and water supply for firefighting.

Michigan Bureau of Fire Services

Several types of occupancies such as schools and medical facilities are regulated and inspected by the Michigan Bureau of Fire Services and not by the city.

Business Inspections

Portage firefighters perform inspections of all commercial, industrial and retail businesses located in the City of Portage. Inspections are not generally announced, although every effort is made to minimize disruption to business activities. Please review the Fire Inspection Guide for additional information regarding inspections.

Chemical Inventory Survey

The Michigan Fire Prevention Code, Act No. 207, P.A. of 1941, as amended, requires that any firm handling hazardous chemicals provide information to the Fire Chief upon request. This allows the Fire Division to gather information on each chemical so that the requirements of MIOSHA can be met. 

To assist the Fire Division with fulfilling its responsibilities under MIOSHA, firms handling hazardous chemicals are asked to complete and submit the Chemical Survey. Firms that do not use or produce hazardous chemicals (see Definitions), are still asked to complete the form. This information is useful to firefighting personnel when responding to a fire or other emergency.

If the information provided in the Chemical Survey indicates that a firm is a user or producer of hazardous chemicals, and the chemicals on site meet or exceed the specified quantities, the Fire Division will request additional information, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), a listing of hazardous chemicals by name along with the greatest amount that may be located on a site at one time; and the physical location(s) of the chemicals at the facility. All surveys, including responses indicating no chemicals are used or produced, will be kept on file for future use and to satisfy MIOSHA requirements. Any change concerning the use, production or quantity of hazardous chemicals at a firm will require completion of a new Chemical Survey.

Fire Alarm User Permits 

The City of Portage Code of Ordinances requires a users permit for all businesses and residences that have a monitored fire alarm system. Application can be made during the plan review process (preferred for new businesses) or by completing the on-line application form. Forms are also available at the Fire Station #1, 7830 Shaver Road.

The permit serves several purposes including providing a list of emergency contacts for the location; information about the company monitoring the alarm; for a business, hours of operation and locations of key boxes. There is no charge for a permit. Permits do not expire and remain valid while the alarm system is in operation, unless revoked. However, if the alarm monitoring service has been stopped and then restarted, a new permit must be requested.

If the Portage Fire Division responds to a false fire alarm, the permit holder will receive a letter with a request for information regarding the cause of the false alarm and steps that have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence. This answer must be provided within 14 days. A response fee, set by the City Council, is assessed for more than one false alarm in a calendar year. 

Some residents choose to have a monitored medical lifeline alarm through a private firm or ambulance provider. There is no permit required for these alarms. The Fire Division will respond to these incidents whenever requested by the alarm monitor. 

For more information about fire alarm user permits, please call (269) 329-4487.

Knox Boxes Rapid Entry System

Each business is required by the International Fire Code to have a Knox Box Rapid Entry System on the address side of the building. The Knox Box, which can be accessed only by a Portage firefighter, contains keys to the business. This controlled access allows firefighters to enter an area without doing damage when the site is unoccupied, which is especially beneficial should a fire alarm sound when no employees are present. Knox Boxes can be ordered in person at Fire Station #1, 7830 Shaver Road, during normal business hours. The cost of the box, remitted directly to the Knox Company, varies with the size needed and is based on the number of keys to be held. The Fire Division receives no money from either the business or the Knox Company when a box is ordered. Some businesses, if operating in a suite as part of a larger building or complex, may not require an individual Knox Box if there is a master key to provide Fire Division access to all suites or businesses. In this case, please call (269) 329-4486 for clarification before ordering a box.