School Fire Safety Inspections


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  • State Ed will not allow employees of a school district to perform inspections in their own district…information from state ed inspection hand book
  • Explosion in boiler room caused fire in school building. There had been a wooden addition added to the building because of high enrolement. Picture shows that portion of building burning. Because of this fire NYS passed regulations requiring school inspections and wood construction not permitted in schools.
  • When inspections are due
  • Information from NYSED regulations – school inspection manual
  • History of fires in schools and the reason why we now have codes and inspections
  • Most up to date information available.
  • Information from NYS Fire Reporting System – 8/11
  • Info on where and when fires in schools occur most frequently.
  • Sometimes the school doesn’t think that the FD needs to be contacted…it was a small fire there is no need to call…investigation may determine fire was intentionally set and identify the person who set it.
  • News paper headlines and excerpts from story about fire in a private school in NYS
  • Any notations that do not show they are from the fire code are from the NYSED school inspection booklet (ie 2-E-2).
  • Left picture shows artwork neatly on wall and also shows that the exit door is chained and pad locked
  • Sign that I created and is being used in school dist. where they have repeat problems with obstructed egress.
  • Items in hallway in front of a sign saying to not place items in hallway
  • Shows path to exit is obstructed by gate
  • Sign was made up by school dist and placed on doors where they have problems with teachers wedging door open to prevent damage to door.
  • Photo of smoke filled hallway, this is why doors need to be closed and exit way clear of obstructions.
  • Examples of extension cords and multi-plug adaptors used improperly
  • As per NYS code and NYSED inspection book. 12-G-1 You cant make them change the construction…if there is clear space they can be made to maintain the space
  • Video of demonstration conducted to show why material need to be treated. Cotton Bed sheet – similar to one that was being used as a backdrop in a schools tv studio
  • Photos in next few slides are from different school play sets that do not meet code. Not painted with fire proof paint and some build to sub standard specs.
  • State Education Law, effective March 19, 2001, amended Education Law by adding Section 408-b. This new section requires every public and nonpublic school statewide to submit copies of school building plans and specifications to their respective local fire and law enforcement officials. he purpose of submitting plans and specifications is to ensure that both fire and law enforcement agencies have quick and easy access through school buildings as necessary for fire or law enforcement purposes.
  • Copy of a violation sheet provided to school so they know all the violations that need to be fixed.
  • Talk about school that has students who are “fire Marshal’s” They check the school weekly for blocked exits etc.
  • Photo shows smoke detector covered by a rubber glove. School had been occupied entire day, staff had seen and did not question.
  • Information from NYSED. Photos show damaged caused during incendiary fire
  • School Fire Safety Inspections

    1. 1. School Fire Safety Inspections Course Number: 49-5934 Course Record Number: 20-07-1069 Ben Stevens Fire Protection Specialist Town of Colonie Department of Fire Services
    2. 2. Objective <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Why Do Inspections <ul><li>Required by Codes and Regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Identify situations that could potentially cause problems </li></ul><ul><li>Protect our families and neighbors </li></ul>
    4. 4. Fire Safety Inspections <ul><li>Required annually by NYSED for schools to obtain & maintain a Certificate of Occupancy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>8 NYCRR 155.8 Fire and building safety inspections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conducted by a Code Enforcement Official or Code Compliance Technician certified by State Fire Administrator </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State Ed will not allow school district employees who are codes certified to conduct inspections in their own district </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Fire Safety Inspections <ul><li>In March of 1954 a fire in the Cleveland Hill Elementary School, Cheektowaga, NY, killed 15 sixth graders. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1955 the New York Legislature passed a law requiring annual fire safety inspections. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Fire Safety Inspections <ul><li>Public Schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>11 month cycle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nonpublic Schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prior to December 1 of each school year. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Fire Safety Inspections <ul><li>Inspections required: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each building of record which is owned, leased, or used by the school district. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A building is defined as any structure, having walls and roof, which can be secured. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Authority Having Jurisdiction <ul><li>NYSED is the AHJ for public schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning Fire Safety Unit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>518-474-3906 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Private Schools are the local code enforcement officers responsibility </li></ul>
    9. 9. Fires in schools <ul><li>Lake View School </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collinwood (Cleveland) Oh. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>March 4, 1908 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>172 students, 2 teachers and 1 rescuer died </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New London Texas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>March 8, 1937 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explosion & fire in school due to gas leak in heating system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>500 people mostly students died </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Fires in schools <ul><li>Our Lady of Angels School </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chicago Il. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>December 1, 1958 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>92 students and 3 nuns died </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Fires in schools <ul><li>In the United States, an average of 6,650 structure fires occur annually in educational institutions where students attend during the day only.  </li></ul><ul><li>These fires are responsible for approximately 90 injuries, fewer than 5 fatalities, and $90 million dollars in property loss. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Fires in New York State schools* * Based on information provided through NYS Fire Reporting System Year Number of Fires Loss 2005 553 $ 77,005 2006 580 $ 485,755 2007 424 $ 544,972 2008 436 $ 63,895 2009 396 $ 322,818 2010 351 $ 34,571
    13. 13. Fires in schools <ul><li>Leading Cause </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cooking Equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intentional </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Area of Origin </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bathroom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kitchen or Cooking equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contained trash or rubbish </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peak times </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekdays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11 a.m.- 2 p.m. </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Lack of reporting <ul><li>Only a small percentage of fire incidents in schools are reported to the fire department. </li></ul><ul><li>EVERY school fire shall be reported to the fire department no matter how small. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Fire chief: Locked doors trapped students during blaze <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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 what's being called arson. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Performing the Fire Inspection <ul><li>Who should be present: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inspector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School District representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Facilities Dept. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Janitor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Principal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local Fire Chief or Fire Dept representative </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Blocked Emergency EXIT doors & Windows <ul><li>2-E-2 Emergency rescue windows are free of obstructing bars, screens, grills or classroom equipment…. </li></ul><ul><li>FC1028.2 Reliability. Required exit accesses, exits or exit discharges shall be continuously maintained free from obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency… </li></ul>
    18. 18. Evacuation Plans <ul><li>10-A-2 Fire safety and evacuation plans are prepared, maintained and available for review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FC 404 An approved fire safety and evacuation plan shall be prepared and maintained… </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Camouflaged Emergency EXIT doors <ul><li>17-C-2 Curtains, drapes or decorations shall not be placed to obstruct exits or visibility thereof. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FC1028.5 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. </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Electromagnetic Locks <ul><li>Not permitted by State Education Dept. 17-F-3 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Electric strike with mechanical override is permitted. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Snow & Ice obstructing Emergency EXIT doors (17-B-2) <ul><li>FC1028.3 Obstructions. A means of egress shall be free from obstructions that would prevent its use, including the accumulation of snow and ice. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Combustible storage in hallways <ul><li>15-B-1 Storage of teacher supplies not permitted outside of classrooms. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only students’ personal belongings are allowed in cubbies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waste containers not permitted in exit corridors or stairway landings . </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Personal Belongings <ul><li>FC807.4.3.1 Storage in corridors and lobbies. Clothing and personal effects shall not be stored in corridors and lobbies. </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Corridors protected by an automatic sprinkler system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Corridors protected by an smoke detection system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Storage in metal lockers provided the minimum required egress width is maintained. </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Combustible artwork in hallways <ul><li>15-C-2 No More than 20% of wall area </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FCNYS 807.4.3.2 </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Combustible artwork in hallways
    26. 26. Items placed in hallways obstructing egress (17-A-3) FC1028.5 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.
    27. 27. <ul><li>It is a VIOLATION of </li></ul><ul><li>NEW YORK STATE FIRE CODE </li></ul><ul><li>& </li></ul><ul><li>NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION </li></ul><ul><li>DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS </li></ul><ul><li>To obstruct Emergency Exits </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>This area MUST be kept clear and accessible at all times. </li></ul><ul><li>DO NOT place anything in this exit way. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Items placed in hallways obstructing egress (17-A-3)
    29. 29. Fixed and Portable Gates <ul><li>State Ed. does not allow any gates (fixed or portable) in the building. 6-A-1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FC1028.3 Obstructions. A means of egress shall be free from obstructions that would prevent its use… </li></ul></ul>
    30. 30. Fixed and Portable Gates
    31. 31. Fire doors wedged open <ul><li>14-C-2 Doors with closers are not rendered inoperable by removal of the closer or the installation of any non-automatic hold open device </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
    32. 33. Extension cords & Multi-plug adapters ( 12-I-1 & 12-J-1) <ul><li>FCNYS 605.4 & 605.5 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowed with restrictions </li></ul></ul>Town of Colonie Department of Fire Services
    33. 34. Combustible storage piled to the ceiling <ul><li>9-D-1 Maintain 24” clearance in non-sprinklered 18” in sprinklered buildings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FCNYS 315.2.1 </li></ul></ul>
    34. 35. Fire Alarm Systems (16-A-2) <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    35. 36. Obstructed Fire Alarm Pull Stations <ul><li>FCNYS 907.20.5 The building owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the fire and life safety systems are maintained in an operable condition at all times. </li></ul><ul><li>PMCNYS 704.1 General. All systems, devices and equipment to detect a fire, actuate an alarm, or suppress or control a fire or any combination thereof shall be maintained in an operable condition at all times in accordance with the Fire Code of New York State . </li></ul>
    36. 37. Obstructed Fire Alarm Pull Stations <ul><li>NFPA 72 3-2.2 Manual fire alarm boxes shall be distributed throughout the protected area so that they are unobstructed, readily accessible, and located in the normal path of exit from the area… </li></ul>
    37. 38. Fueled Equipment <ul><li>9-G-2 Fueled equipment shall not be stored, operated, or repaired within a building </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FC 313.1 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. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    38. 39. <ul><li>6-F-1 Storage in storerooms and classroom areas is orderly and restricted to items of obvious value and usefulness. </li></ul>Orderly storage in building FC315.2 Storage in buildings. Storage of combustible materials in buildings shall be orderly…
    39. 40. Clearance to Electric Equipment (12-G-1) <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    40. 41. Combustible storage <ul><li>6-D-2 Space under stairs and landings is not used for storage unless separated by a 2 hour fire rated construction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FC 315.2.2 Means of egress. Combustible materials shall not be stored in exits or exit enclosures. </li></ul></ul>
    41. 42. Assembly events <ul><li>Overcrowding (FC1029.5), blocked exits (FC1028.5), and lack of access for emergency equipment as a result of blocked fire lanes (FC503.4) during assembly events are common complaints to NYSED </li></ul>
    42. 43. Assembly events <ul><li>History has many examples of tragedies that have occurred when buildings filled to over-capacity experience emergencies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Station Night Club – RI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stouffers Inn - NY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beverly Hills Supper Club – KY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coconut Grove – MA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iroquois Theater – IL </li></ul></ul>
    43. 44. Assembly events <ul><li>The first smell of smoke or the failure of the lighting system causes immediate panic. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocked exits and obstructions in corridors such as tables and chairs cause confusion and further panic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
    44. 45. Assembly events <ul><ul><li>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. (11-A-2) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FC503.4 Obstruction of fire apparatus access roads. Fire apparatus access roads shall not be obstructed in any manner, including the parking of vehicles... </li></ul></ul></ul>
    45. 46. Decorative Material and Furnishings <ul><li>15-D-2 Curtains, drapes, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall be fire resistive or non-combustible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>807.1 General requirements. In occupancies in 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 meet the flame propagation performance criteria of NFPA 701 in accordance with Section 806.2 or be noncombustible. </li></ul></ul>
    46. 47. Decorative Material and Furnishings
    47. 48. Decorative Material and Furnishings
    48. 49. Scenery & Sets <ul><li>BC 410.3.6 Scenery. Combustible materials used in sets and scenery shall meet the fire propagation criteria of NFPA 701, in accordance with Section 806 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 . </li></ul>
    49. 50. Scenery & Sets <ul><li>Wood Construction and flammable decorations not permitted. </li></ul><ul><li>Anything that is constructed of flammable materials must be flame treated. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FC807.1 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 806.2 and NFPA 701 or be noncombustible. </li></ul></ul>
    50. 51. Scenery & Sets
    51. 52. Scenery & Sets
    52. 53. Safe Design & Construction <ul><li>The New York State Fire & Building Codes contain provisions for the maintenance and safe operation of buildings. </li></ul><ul><li>Constructing a safe building does no good if the features that provide that safety are ignored or intentionally disabled by the building occupants. </li></ul>
    53. 54. Safe Design & Construction <ul><li>Principals need to understand that the state code holds the building operator responsible for any violations of the safety provisions of the code. </li></ul>
    54. 55. What can you do? <ul><li>Ensure school staff knows the school’s fire protection system. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They should be familiar with the type of fire protection systems are in the school. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the location of pull stations and fire extinguishers and whether you school is protected by fire sprinklers. </li></ul></ul>
    55. 56. What can you do? <ul><li>School Fire Drills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff should actively participate in monthly school fire drills. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12 per school year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>8 prior to 12/1 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>FC 404 & 405 – Fire Safety & Evacuations Plans and Evacuation Drills </li></ul>
    56. 57. What can you do? <ul><li>State Education Law 408-b </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires every public and nonpublic school statewide to submit copies of school building plans and specifications to their respective local fire and law enforcement officials. </li></ul></ul>
    57. 58. What can you do? <ul><li>Provide a list of the violations. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used in this manner, minimum safety standards can be met and maintained on a continuing basis. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    58. 60. What can you do? <ul><li>Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It must come from the demonstrated attitude of the school board and top school administrators. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
    59. 61. What can you do? <ul><li>Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety cont. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A developed concern & daily observance of building conditions should help to eliminate unsafe conditions such as: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exits blocked with furniture or supplies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Combustible displays in exits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poor housekeeping practices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FC406 Employee Training & Response Procedures </li></ul></ul></ul>
    60. 62. What can you do? <ul><li>Awareness of, and concern for fire and life safety cont. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
    61. 63. Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Fire rated door to the principals office. Closed during the fire.
    62. 64. Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Principal’s office showing limited damage as a result of the fire rated door.
    63. 65. Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Office supply storage door. Fire rated door left open the night of the fire.
    64. 66. Buckman Heights Elementary School Fire Kodak copier and data network. Copier and all wiring is not salvageable.