Retail Store Rules and Regulations

Which FDNY rules and regulations impact my business?

It is important to ensure that your store is safe for both customers to shop, and for employees to work. There are some dangerous products that may be found in general retail stores, and the FDNY has safety rules for these types of products that you must obey.

We issue permits to ensure that any dangerous products at your store are stored properly, and we also issue Certificates of Fitness to ensure these products are safely handled. The amount and type of dangerous products in your store determines what type of permits or certificates you will need.

If your store has any of the following conditions, a Fire Department permit and a C-92 Certificate of Fitness are required:

  • More than 5 gallons of highly flammable liquids. These liquids will create vapors that can easily burn at low temperatures with just a spark. Examples: nail polish removers, paint removal products, paint cleaning products, varnishes, lacquers, etc.
  • More than 10 gallons of flammable liquids.  Examples: windshield washer fluid, spray oil lubricant mineral spirits (e.g. WD-40).
  •  More than 20 gallons of oil-based paints.
  • Air conditioners that are roof mounted, have more than five horsepower, are in your backyard, or are floor mounted require a permit from us.
  • Fuel oil: If you use fuel oil for heating, you will need a permit.

If you have more than 1,280 fluid ounces of aerosol cans in your supply store (for example, 80 aerosol cans of 16 ounces), a permit and an A-49 Certificate of Fitness are required from us. Shaving cream, window cleaners, rug shampoos, hair sprays, deodorants, antiseptics, and spray paint are all examples of aerosol can products that you may need a permit and Certificate of Fitness to have in your store.

How do I Apply for a Certificate of Fitness for my business?

  • Take and pass a computer-based exam at FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn. Appointments are not required, but can be scheduled by calling 718-999-1993. Walk-in hours are Monday thru Friday 8:00am to 2:30pm. No test will begin after 2:30pm unless an appointment is scheduled.
  • Complete an application. Certificate of Fitness (COF) application forms are available online or in person at FDNY headquarters. You can only take 2 exams per day.
  • Have a government-issued ID. We will accept a driver’s license, passport, or an IDNYC.
  • Provide payment. The COF exam costs $25 and can be paid with cash, check, money order, debit card, or credit card. (For credit cards a 2.49% convenience fee will be added.)
  • If you are an employee getting the COF, rather than the business owner: obtain a dated and signed letter of recommendation from your employer stating what type of dangerous work you perform. If you do not have a recommendation letter, you will receive a temporary letter from us stating that you have passed your exam. This temporary letter is valid for three years, but it is non-renewable and cannot be recognized as an official Certificate of Fitness.
  • Exams are in English only, but you can bring a dictionary with you to the exam.
  • Test results are given immediately following your exam, along with your COF card (if you passed the exam)
  •  The C-92 or A-49 COF is valid for 3 years. 
  •  C-92 and A-49 study material can be found at www.nyc.gov/fdny.

What are some common violations found in retail stores?

  • Not having fire extinguishers mounted throughout your store, or the fire extinguishers are not easily seen or accessible.
  •  Not having fire extinguishers checked annually by a certified fire extinguisher company.
  • Having an aisle that is blocked.  
  • Accumulating rubbish and any combustible waste in your store or back room that creates a fire hazard or public inconvenience. 

What do I do if I receive a notice of violation?

  • A FDNY Notice of Violation is an official notice that your store is not in compliance with Fire Department Regulations.  To remove it from your record, you must correct the unsafe condition and provide proof of the correction. For example, sending us a picture of the condition being corrected is one way of showing proof. If you have any question about your Notice of Violation, there is a phone number for you to call on the top right of the Notice of Violation. After you correct the condition, a Certificate of Correction must be completed within 35 days from the day the Notice of Violation originally was issued.  You can find a copy of the Certificate of Correction here

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