School Fire SafetyInspectionsBen StevensFire Protection SpecialistTown of ColonieDepartment of Fire Services
Objective At the conclusion of this program the student will recognize common violations found during school fire safety inspections and the steps they can take to ensure that the deficiencies are corrected.
Fire Safety Inspections Required annually by NYSED for school to obtain & maintain a Certificate of Occupancy 8 NYCRR 155.8 Fire and building safety inspections Conducted by code enforcement official or code compliance technician certified by State Fire Administrator State Ed will not allow school district employees who are codes certified to conduct inspections in their own district
Fire Safety Inspections Public Schools 11 month cycle Nonpublic Schools Prior to December 1 of each school year.
Authority Having Jurisdiction NYSED is the AHJ for public schools Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning Fire Safety Unit 518-474-3906 Private Schools are the local code enforcement officers responsibility
Fires in schools Lake View School Collinwood (Cleveland) Oh. March 4, 1908 172 students, 2 teachers and 1 rescuer died New London Texas March 8, 1937 Explosion & fire in school due to gas leak in heating system 500 people mostly students died
Fires in schools Our Lady of Angels School Chicago Il. December 1, 1958 92 students and 3 nuns died
Fires in schools In the United States, an average of 6,650 structure fires occur annually in educational institutions where students attend during the day only. These fires are responsible for approximately 90 injuries, fewer than 5 fatalities, and $90 million dollars in property loss. In New York State during the period 2000 to 2004, six public school buildings sustained fire damage in excess of $27 million dollars.
Fires in schools Leading Cause Peak times Cooking Equipment Weekdays Intentional 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Area of Origin Bathroom Kitchen or Cooking equipment Contained trash or rubbish
Fire chief: Locked doors trapped students during blaze While some of the 20 to 30 boys managed to flee the dormitories without incident, many were left banging on locked or otherwise obstructed doors near the school entrance. One door had a broken push bar; one was padlocked at the base; and two other doors were locked from the outside. The boys banged on the two sets of double doors until a man with a key appeared, unlocked a door and let the students out. The fire chief, however, stood behind his comments that his firefighters found students pounding on the door trying to escape the burning two-story building, which includes dormitories, and that the locked doors endangered not only the students but also the firefighters responding to whats being called arson.
Lack of reporting Only a small percentage of fire incidents in schools are reported to the fire department. EVERY school fire shall be reported to the fire department no matter how small. FC401.3 Emergency forces notification. In the event an unwanted fire occurs on a property, the owner or occupant shall immediately report such condition to the fire department. Building employees and tenants shall implement the appropriate emergency plans and procedures. No person shall, by verbal or written directive, require any delay in the reporting of a fire to the fire department.
Blocked Emergency EXIT doors &Windows Emergency rescue FC1027.2 Reliability. Required windows are free of exit accesses, exits or exit discharges shall be continuously obstructing bars, screens, maintained free from grills or classroom obstructions or impediments to equipment…. full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency…
Camouflaged Emergency EXIT doors FC1027.4 Furnishings and decorations. Furnishings, decorations or other objects shall not be placed so as to obstruct exits, access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof. Hangings and draperies shall not be placed over exit doors or otherwise be located to conceal or obstruct an exit. Mirrors shall not be placed on exit doors. Mirrors shall not be placed in or adjacent to any exit in such a manner as to confuse the direction of exit.
Electromagnetic Locks Not permitted by State Education Dept. Electric strike with mechanical override is permitted.
Snow piled behindEmergency EXIT doors FC1027.3 Obstructions. A means of egress shall be free from obstructions that would prevent its use, including the accumulation of snow and ice.
Combustible storage in hallways Storage of teacher supplies not permitted outside of classrooms. Only students’ personal belongings are allowed in cubbies. Waste containers not permitted in exit corridors or stairway landings.
Personal Belongings FC803.3.1 Storage in corridors and lobbies. Clothing and personal effects shall not be stored in corridors and lobbies. Exceptions: 1. Corridors protected by an automatic sprinkler system 2. Corridors protected by an smoke detection system 3. Storage in metal lockers provided the minimum required egress width is maintained.
Combustible artwork in hallways No More than 20% of wall area FCNYS 803.3.2
Items placed in hallways obstructingegress FC1027.4 Furnishings and decorations. Furnishings, decorations or other objects shall not be placed so as to obstruct exits, access thereto, egress there from, or visibility thereof.
Fixed and Portable Gates State Ed. does not allow any gates (fixed or portable) in the building. FC1027.3 Obstructions. A means of egress shall be free from obstructions that would prevent its use…
Fire doors wedged open Doors with closers are not rendered inoperable by removal of the closer or the installation of any non-automatic hold open device PMC703.2 Opening protectives. Required opening protectives shall be maintained in an operative condition. All fire and smokestop doors shall be maintained in operable condition. Fire doors and smoke barrier doors shall not be blocked or obstructed or otherwise made inoperable.
Extension cords & Multi-plugadapters FCNYS 605.4 & 605.5 Allowed with restrictions Town of Colonie Department of Fire Services
Combustible storage piled to theceiling Maintain 24” clearance in non-sprinklered 18” in sprinklered buildings FCNYS 315.2.1
Fire Alarm Systems FC901.6 Inspection, testing and maintenance. Fire detection, alarm and extinguishing systems shall be maintained in an operative condition at all times, and shall be replaced or repaired where defective.
Fueled Equipment FC313.1 Fueled equipment. Fueled equipment, including but not limited to motorcycles, mopeds, lawn-care equipment and portable cooking equipment, shall not be stored, operated or repaired within a building.
Orderly storage in building Storage in storerooms and classroom areas is orderly and restricted to items of obvious value and usefulness.FC315.2 Storage in buildings. Storage ofcombustible materials in buildings shall beorderly…
Clearance to Equipment FC605.3 Working space and clearance. A working space of not less than 30 inches in width, 36 inches in depth and 78 inches in height shall be provided in front of electrical service equipment.
Combustible storage Space under stairs and landings is not used for storage unless separated by a 2 hour fire rated construction FC315.2.2 Means of egress. Combustible materials shall not be stored in exits or exit enclosures.
Assembly events Overcrowding (FC1028.5), blocked exits (FC1027.3), and lack of access for emergency equipment as a result of blocked fire lanes(FC503.4) during assembly events are common complaints to NYSED
Assembly events History has many examples of tragedies that have occurred when buildings filled to over-capacity experience emergencies. Station Night Club – RI Stouffers Inn - NY Beverly Hills Supper Club – KY Coconut Grove – MA Iroquois Theater – IL
Assembly events The first smell of smoke or the failure of the lighting system causes immediate panic. Blocked exits and obstructions in corridors such as tables and chairs cause confusion and further panic. Experience has shown that in these terrible tragedies, victims rarely die from the actual effects of fire, but instead from smoke inhalation or trampling during the confusion.
Assembly events To compound the disaster, the ability of emergency responders to reach the scene is often severely compromised by parking in fire access lanes in front of buildings.FC503.4 Obstruction of fire apparatusaccess roads. Fire apparatus access roadsshall not be obstructed in any manner,including the parking of vehicles...
Scenery & Sets BC410.3.6 Scenery. Combustible materials used in sets and scenery shall be rendered flame resistant in accordance with Section 805 and the Fire Code of New York State. Foam plastics and materials containing foam plastics shall comply with Section 2603 and the Fire Code of New York State.
Scenery & Sets Wood Construction Anything that is and flammable constructed of decorations not flammable materials permitted. must be flame treated. FC805.1 General. In occupancies of Groups A, E, I and R-1 and dormitories in Group R-2, curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall be flame resistant in accordance with Section 805.2 and NFPA 701 or be noncombustible.
Safe Design & Construction The New York State Fire & Building Codes contain provisions for the maintenance and safe operation of buildings. Constructing a safe building does no good if the features that provide that safety are ignored or intentionally disabled by the building occupants.
Safe Design & Construction Principals need to understand that the state code holds the building operator responsible for any violations of the safety provisions of the code.
What can you do? Ensure school staff knows the school’s fire protection system. They should be familiar with the type of fire protection systems are in the school. Know the location of pull stations and fire extinguishers and whether you school is protected by fire sprinklers.
What can you do? School Fire Drills Staff should actively participate in monthly school fire drills. Fire drills, as REQUIRED by Section 807 of the Education Law, will ensure rapid and orderly occupant evacuation of school buildings at the time of a real fire emergency. 12 per school year 8 prior to 12/1 FC 404 & 405 – Fire Safety & Evacuations Plans and Evacuation Drills
What can you do? Provide a list of the violations. The report can be used by school staff for self- education and self-evaluation on a regular basis to identify and correct unsafe conditions which may develop at any time. Used in this manner, minimum safety standards can be met and maintained on a continuing basis.
What can you do? Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety It must come from the demonstrated attitude of the school board and top school administrators. When these individuals refuse to tolerate unsafe practices or conditions, and insist on a continuing program for fire safety in the schools, building administrators, their staff and students will follow their lead.
What can you do? Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety cont. A developed concern & daily observance of building conditions should help to eliminate unsafe conditions such as: Exits blocked with furniture or supplies Combustible displays in exits Poor housekeeping practices FC406 Employee Training & Response Procedures
What can you do? Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety cont. When all building occupants are alert for fire hazards, and act to correct hazards as soon as they are discovered, a higher level of fire and life safety can be maintained throughout the year. FC907.1 FIRE ALARM AND DETECTION SYSTEMS. This section covers the application, installation, performance and maintenance of fire alarm systems and their components in new and existing buildings and structures.
Buckman Heights ElementarySchool Fire Fire rated door to the principals office. Closed during the fire.
Buckman Heights ElementarySchool Fire Principal’s office showing limited damage as a result of the fire rated door.
Buckman Heights ElementarySchool Fire Office supply storage door. Fire rated door left open the night of the fire.
Buckman Heights ElementarySchool Fire Kodak copier and data network. Copier and all wiring is not salvageable.
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