RANDOLPH, NJ- Some residents have questioned why the township isn’t allowing local restaurants to use certain heaters underneath their outdoor dining tents.

The reason is not only for the safety of the patrons, property owners and first responders but also, for compliance with the state of New Jersey Uniform Fire Code (2015 International Fire Code New Jersey Edition).

Due to the New Jersey Department of Health guidelines regarding COVID-19 and indoor dining, the need for temporary tents and membrane structures increased this year to accommodate outdoor dining.

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The Randolph Township Fire Prevention Bureau has worked with all of the local restaurants to develop safe, temporary outdoor dining areas that meet the intent of the Uniform Fire Code. As the weather turns colder there is a need to heat these spaces, a challenge that becomes increasingly difficult due to safety and code requirements.

Portable propane heaters have been removed from under the tents as these heaters do not meet code requirements, and pose a serious health and safety risk to the people using the tent. In addition, the Uniform Construction Code has regulations on the permanent installation of natural gas, propane, and electric outdoor heaters to be used under tents. These products are tested and certified to be safe for that type of installation when installed by qualified contractors; the Randolph Township Construction Department inspects these installations.

The Randolph Township Fire Prevention Bureau and Randolph Township Construction Department will continue to work with the local restaurants to provide a safe environment for their patrons and staff.