Mobile Food Vendors
The following information is provided to inform all food service vendors of the requirements to operate in Hanover County and the Town of Ashland. The requirements have been set and will be enforced by the Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office, in accordance with the most current edition of the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC). The Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office will inspect food service vendors upon request, at established events, and at times unannounced in various locations in which food service vendors are operating. It is the responsibility of food service vendors to ensure they are familiar with the requirements and in compliance at all times. Operating permits may not be issued, or may be revoked for failure to comply.
To apply for a permit please (Click here to open application)
- Cooking Oils and Storage
- Extinguishment and Suppression
- Gas Systems
- Tents and Other Membrane Structures
• Cooking oil storage containers within mobile food preparation vehicles shall have a minimum aggregate area volume not to exceed 120 gallons (454L) and shall be stored in such a way as to not be toppled or damaged during transport. (SFPC 319.7)
• Cooking oil storage tanks shall apply with the fire code (SPFC 319.8.1 to 319.8.5)
- Metallic Tanks shall comply with UL 142 or UL 80 and installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
- Non-metallic are shall be listed for use with cooking oil and are limited to 200 gallons (757 L) per tank. They shall be installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
• A fire extinguisher rated for class A, B, and C fires is required for all food vendors that prepare food with a heating process. Extinguishers must be a minimum size of 2A: 5B, C. Extinguishers must be placed within 30 feet of commercial cooking equipment, and no distance from any location within the designated area shall exceed 30 feet of travel distance to an extinguisher. (SFPC 906.3)
• All extinguishers must be in a conspicuous location and accessible at all times. (SFPC 906.5, 906.6)
• All extinguishers are required to be serviced annually in accordance with NFPA 10 and tagged appropriately by a certified service company (SFPC 906.2). Food service vendors may purchase a new extinguisher in lieu of having an extinguisher tagged by a certified service company. Extinguishers that are not tagged by a certified service company must have a copy of the receipt attached to the extinguisher body not obstructing the operating instructions or identification markings. The receipt must show that the extinguisher was purchased within one year of the event. All extinguishers must be fully charged and in a condition that would not prohibit operation in the event of an emergency. If an extinguisher is utilized it must be replaced before operations can resume.
• Cooking equipment that utilizes solid fuels or vegetable or animal oils and fats also require that a K Class fire extinguisher be present within 30 feet of cooking appliances. (SFPC 904.11.5)
Automatic fire-extinguishing systems
• Each required commercial Type I kitchen exhaust hood and duct system required by code for mobile food preparation vehicles shall be protected with an approved automatic fire extinguishing systems installed in accordance with the code. (SFPC 904.2.2, 904.3)
• Any automatic fire-extinguishing system installed shall be inspected and tested according to the appropriate referenced standards. (SFPC 901.4, 904.11.6)
• Copies of inspection records must be submitted to the Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office prior to an inspection taking place. Automatic fire-extinguishing systems shall be inspected bi-annually and in compliance with referenced standards. A copy of the report provided by the certifying company shall be on site at events and made available upon request. (SFPC 904.11.6.2, 901.6.2)
• Gas cooking appliances shall be secured in place and connected to fuel supply piping with an appliance connector complying with ANSI Z21.69/CSA 6.16. The connector installation shall be configured in accordance with manufacturer's installation instructions. Movement of appliances shall be limited by restraining devices installed in accordance with the connector and appliance manufacturer's instructions. (SFPC 319.6)
• Following initial construction and any modifications of the fuel system, the system, including hoses, shall be proven free of leaks by performing a pressure test in accordance with NFPA 58 at not less than the normal operating pressure. (SFPC 319.6.1)
• Gas systems shall be inspected prior to each use and following fuel tank replacement or refill in one of the following methods: (SFPC 319.6.2)
- A water and soap solution shall be applied to every accessible connection or connection manipulated during the replacement or fueling and observed for evidence of gas leakage.
- Pressure testing in accordance with Annex L of NFPA 58.
• Where LP-gas systems provide fuel for cooking appliances, such systems shall comply with NFPA 58 and the Fire Code. (SFPC 319.9.1 to 319.9.5)
- The maximum aggregate capacity of LP-gas containers transported on the vehicle and used to fuel cooking appliances only shall not exceed 200 pounds propane capacity.
- LP-gas containers installed on the vehicle shall be securely mounted and restrained to prevent movement.
• Where CNG systems provide fuel for cooking appliances, such systems shall comply with the Fire Code. (SFPC 319.10.1 to 319.10.4)
- The maximum aggregate capacity of CNG containers transported on the vehicle shall not exceed 1,300 pounds water capacity.
- CNG containers shall be securely mounted and restrained to prevent movement. Containers shall not be installed in locations subject to direct vehicle impact.
• Maintenance of systems on mobile food preparation vehicles shall be in accordance with the Fire Code (SFPC 319.11.1 to 319.11.3)
- The exhaust system, including hood, grease-removal devices, fans, ducts and other appurtenances, shall be inspected and cleaned in accordance with the Fire Code.
- Fire protection systems and devices shall be maintained in accordance with the Fire Code.
• Hoods, grease-removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be inspected and cleaned every 6 months. (SFPC 609.3)
• Automatic fire-extinguishing systems shall be inspected and tested in accordance with the Fire Code. (SFPC 904.4)
• Electrical hazards must be removed. Wiring, devices, appliances and other equipment that is modified or damaged and constitutes an electrical shock or fire hazard shall not be used. (SFPC 605.1) Extension cords must be of an appropriate size for the appliances being utilized.
• Extension cords shall be maintained in good condition without splices, deterioration or damage. (SFPC 605.5.3)
• Open junction boxes and open-wiring splices are prohibited. (SFPC 605.7)
• Any compressed gas cylinder must be secured to prevent falling and some provision must be in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from tampering with the cylinder. (SFPC 5303.5) The securing of compressed gas cylinders to the legs of typical pop up tents will not be accepted.
• Compressed gas cylinder and tank valves shall be protected from physical damage by means of protective caps, collars or similar devices. (SFPC 5303.6)
• A permit is required for mobile food preparation vehicles equipped with appliances that produce smoke or grease laden vapors. Exception: Recreational vehicles used for private use. (SPFC 319.2)
- Mobile Food Preparation Vehicle Defined: Vehicles and enclosed trailers able to be occupied by 3 persons during cooking operations that contain cooking equipment that utilized open flames or produce smoke or grease laden vapors for the purpose of preparing and serving food to the public. Vehicles used for private recreation shall not be considered mobile food preparation vehicles.
- Hanover Office of the Fire Marshal will charge $150.00 for an operational permit which will be valid for one (1) year from the date issued.
To apply for a permit please (Click here to open application)
Tents and other membrane Structures
• Tents over 900sqft require an inspection from both the Hanover County Building Inspectors Office and the Hanover County Fire Marshal. Requirements for a tent of this size are more stringent and will not be covered in this document. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office, and or the Hanover County Building Inspector’s Office. Tents over 900sqft require a Fire Code Permit at a cost of $150.00, there may also be additional fire code permit fees associated with the process, as well as fees associated with requirements of the Building Official.
• Any tent involved in cooking must have a minimum separation of 20 feet between the cooking tent, and any structures, other tents or membrane structures. (SFPC 3103.8.2)
• Open flame or devices emitting flame, fire or heat or any flammable or combustible liquids, gas, charcoal or other cooking device or any other unapproved device shall not be permitted inside or located within 20 feet of the tent or membrane structures while open to the public unless approved by the Fire Code Official. (SFPC 3104.7)
• Heating or cooking equipment, tanks, piping, hoses, fittings, valves, tubing and other related components shall be installed as specified by the applicable building code and approved. (SFPC 3104.15.1)
• Cooking and heating equipment shall not be located within 10 feet of exits or combustible material. (SFPC 3104.15.3) A waste management plan is recommended to ensure that combustible material is not permitted to accumulate in areas that are prohibited.
• The floor surface inside tents or membrane structures and the grounds outside and within a 30-foot perimeter shall be kept free of combustible waste and other combustible materials that could create a fire hazard. (SFPC 3104.22)
• LP-gas cylinders shall be located outside. Safety release valves shall be pointed away from the tent or membrane structure. (SFPC 3104.16.2)
• Portable LP-gas containers, piping, valves and fittings shall be adequately protected to prevent tampering, damage by vehicles or other hazards and shall be located in an approved location. Portable LP-gas containers shall be securely fastened in place to prevent unauthorized movement. (SFPC 3104.16.3)
• Flammable liquid fueled equipment shall not be used in tents or membrane structures. (SFPC 3104.17.1)
• Flammable and combustible liquids shall be stored outside in an approved manner not less than 50 feet from tents or membrane structures. (SFPC 3104.17.2)
• Refueling shall be performed in an approved location not less than 20 feet from tents or membrane structures.
• Generators and other internal combustion power sources shall be separated from tents or membrane structures by a minimum of 20 feet and shall be isolated from contact with the public by fencing, enclosure or approved means. (SFPC 3104.19)
• Egress paths must be maintained to permit for the immediate evacuation to open air. Combustibles, hot liquids, open flames shall not be stored next to an egress path.
• The public shall not be allowed under any portion of a tent used in the preparation of food.
For questions regarding the requirements outlined on this page, to schedule an inspection, or submit required documentation, please contact the Hanover County Fire Marshal’s Office at 804-365-6195 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. When sending emails please include mobile food vendor in the subject line.
Food service vendors wishing to arrange an inspection as a requirement of any other process must contact the Fire Marshal’s Office a minimum of five (5) business days in advance.