New 2020 FDNY Regulations for Restaurants Using Space Heaters in Outdoor Dining Areas

lamppostIt’s that time of year when the chill in the air makes it nearly impossible to be comfortable outside. But with COVID-19 still a risk, food service businesses need to adapt to the social distancing requirement. Many restaurants have turned to outdoor propane heaters, but using them isn’t as simple as setting them up and turning them on.

Below, we’ll be discussing everything your business needs to do to use outdoor space heaters safely and how to stay in compliance with FDNY’s rules for their use.

When Can Your Restaurant Begin Using Propane-Fueled Space Heaters?

You first need to submit an attestation form and a site plan to the FDNY for each space heater you plan to use. You’ll get an immediate confirmation email that your documents have been received and then a second email within one business day authorizing use. You can legally use your space heaters once this second email is received.

What Do You Need to Submit to Start Using Them?

You’ll only need to submit the attestation, which can be found here, and the site plan to begin using your space heaters. Remember to submit these for each heater you plan to use.

How Do You Submit an Attestation?

The attestation can be downloaded from the link above, filled out, and emailed to along with your site plan. The FDNY is working on an online attestation form, but it will currently need to be printed, filled out, scanned in, and sent via email.

How Do You Prepare a Site Plan?

Your site plan can be prepped on a computer or simply drawn by hand and scanned. You need to draw all space heater locations and any of the following items in a 20-ft radius around each heater:

  • Buildings or outbuildings
  • Any opening to a below-grade area including doors, windows, or vents
  • Any above grade entrances including doors and windows
  • Any door, window, vent, or other opening leading to a subway
  • Any flammable liquid storage tank and their vents or fill lines

You don’t need to draw precisely to scale, but you need to list the exact distances between your heater and any of the items above.

How Do I Obtain a T-93 Certificate of Fitness?

You or one of your employees also needs to get a T-93 certificate of fitness within three weeks of submitting your attestation and site plan. This certificate will require taking an exam and will ensure someone at your place of business is certified to supervise your business’s heater use going forward. This is necessary for the ongoing use of space heaters.

The exam can be completed entirely online, in-person on a computer, or via a field exam. Information on testing and how to sign up for the exam can be found here.

Every business needs to adapt to the changing conditions brought about by COVID-19. Make sure you’re prepared to keep your customers warm and safe by adequately permitting and using outdoor space heaters according to FDNY rules. Additional measures, like using body temperature scanning technology, will offer your customers peace of mind about coming to your establishment during the pandemic.