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FAQ: What is the AHJ?

FAQ: What is the AHJ?

FAQ: What is the AHJ?

AHJ is an acronym used by USEPA for the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) over the fire code of a particular area.  Adopted by the USEPA for use in the Generator Improvements Rule’s revision to the 50 Foot Rule, it was originally developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and identified by them as follows:

The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) is that person or office charged with enforcing the Life Safety Code. In many states the AHJ is the state fire marshal who has local inspectors work on his/her behalf. In some cities, fire department fire prevention division personnel fulfill the role of AHJ; sometimes it is the building official. For some occupancies, there is more than one AHJ; each AHJ’s approval must be secured. For example, the authorities having jurisdiction for a hospital might include: state fire marshal; building official; fire department fire prevention officer; state health care licensing agency; The Joint Commission; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and the facility’s insurance carrier. If you’re unsure who the AHJ is, contact your state fire marshal. (emphasis added)

USEPA felt the term could be used in its regulations without explanation since it has been adopted by several state and local governments and is in wide use in various fire codes.

Fire fighting equipment

In the preamble to the final rule in the Federal Register, USEPA identifies the AHJ as an entity or individual who, “…has the ability to determine a safe and practical location for the facility to store ignitable or reactive waste that is within 15 meters (50 feet of the facility’s property line.”

Also, USEPA indicates it intends the AHJ to have each of the following:

  • Detailed knowledge of the fire code.
  • Ability to evaluate the site conditions to determine a safe and practical place for storing ignitable and reactive wastes.


  • Authorized by the state or local government to enforce the fire code.

Contact me with any questions you may have about the generation, identification, management, and disposal of hazardous waste

Daniels Training Services, Inc.




  • You ask, “Must the AHJ be the fire marshal?”  USEPA answers:  “An AHJ may or may not be the fire marshal, fire chief, building official or another official as designated by the state or local government.”
  • You ask, “Can my local fire department be the AHJ?”  USEPA answers:  “Yes, if your local fire department meets the criteria for the AHJ in your area.”

If you have any more questions about the 50 Foot Rule, the Generator Improvements Rule, or any other regulations – state or federal – for the management of waste, please don’t hesitate to contact me.