Assembly Occupancies Fire and Life Safety Overview
Safe use of Assembly Occupancies • Definitions of Assembly Occupancies • History of critical events • Building design principles • Built in safety and protection features • Safe operation of events • Assembly Occupancies checklist • Discussion and Questions
Building Code Definitions • Assembly Use Groups • Gathering together of persons • Civic, Social, Religious, Food and Drink, Awaiting Transportation • Subdivided into five groupings • “Capacity” of 50 or more persons • A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5
Distinctive Use Groups • A-1, Theaters: Performing Arts, Film • Usually fixed seating, Stages/Platforms • A-2, Public Assembly, without Stages • Nightclubs, Dancehalls, similar purposes • A-3, Assembly for Entertainment, Amusement and Recreation, no Stages • Principally without fixed seating
Distinctive Use Groups • A-4, Worship or Religious Services • Exclusive use for Religion purposes • A-5, Outdoor Assembly • Grandstands, Bleachers, Amusements including fairs, carnivals, circus’, etc. • Mixed Use arrangements may require specific features and/or systems
Fire Prevention Regulations • Place of Assembly: A room or space containing 50 or more individuals for religious, recreational, educational, political, social or amusement purposes, or for the consumption of food or drink, including all connecting rooms or space with a common means of egress and entrance.
History of Fire Events • Common conditions and problems • Overcrowding • Lack of adequate exit capacity • Restrictions to egress, aisle width • Combustible contents and furnishings • Combustible construction of structure • Limited lighting, excessive sound levels
History of Fire Events • Incapacitated patrons/occupants • Occupants unfamiliar with buildings • Delayed alarm to fire department • Fixed seating/ Loose seating • Age, Infirmity, Disability: Area of Refuge • Psychology/Sociology/Group behaviors • Occupant reactions Firefighting
Building Design Characteristics • Non Combustible construction • Fire walls, partitions and doors • Stage curtains and venting systems • Adequate exit capacity • Limited travel distance to exits • Limited heights and areas • Multiple defined egress paths
Safety and Protection Features • Complete sprinkler system(s) • Standpipe and fire pump systems • Fire Alarm and notification system • Public address capabilities • Non combustible furnishings • Cooking features maintenance • Open flames candles
Safety and Protection Features • Fire doors and panic hardware • Exit stairs and ramps • Exterior lighting and access • Portable fire extinguishers • Posted occupant load • Stage and Platform issues
Safety and Protection Features • Dead end aisles and passageways • Minimum aisle widths • Tables and chairs fixed and non-fixed • Guards and handrails • Grandstands and bleachers • Exit signage and emergency lighting • Hazardous Materials
Event Operations • Life Safety is Priority # 1 • Control of events and occupants • Emergency plans exercise and update • Notification to authorities • Training of personnel • Commitment of the organization • Apply hard learned principles
Event Operations • Fire Prevention Regulations • 527 CMR available on the website • Board of Fire Prevention Regulations • Specific to Massachusetts • Some national reference documents • Mandate proper maintenance • Levels of citation/violation/enforcement
Event Operations • Portable fire extinguishers • Obstacles to a means of egress • Pathways and exits maintained • Wastes and combustible products • Inside and outside storage • Open flame devices NFPA 101 • Chimneys and heating equipment
Event Operations • Commercial kitchen equipment • Fire doors accessible and functioning • Fire Lanes marked and clear • Electrical components maintained • Limit storage of combustibles • Exterior egress snow clearing • No smoking in A-1 occupancies
Event Operations • Theaters: Each theater shall formulate a plan for the protection and evacuation of all persons in the event of fire…. • Plan subject to FD review and approval • All employees shall be kept informed as to their duties under such plan • Plan should be reviewed and updated
Event Operations • 527 CMR 10.13 Planning, Preparedness • Employees shall be trained and drilled in duties they are expected to perform • Egress Plan: occupant load, seating diagram, location of exist and aisles • A-1 and A-2 requires an audible announcement at start of program
Event Operations • Announcement in person or by recording • Covers disability concerns • Written program requires diagram of egress routes and areas of rescue assistance for disabled persons • A-2 occupancy requires additional requirements including Crowd Manager
Event Operations • Crowd Manager designation • At least 21 years of age • Owner/operator of site or under direct control of owner/operator • Maintain exits and egress paths • Ensure no overcrowding • Initiate fire alarm activation
Event Operations • Direct occupants to exits • Ensure employees are trained • Complete a safety plan checklist • Concept not new but added to code after the Warwick nightclub fire • Places responsibility on the owner and operator to help ensure safety
Event Operations • 527 CMR 10.17 Places of Assembly • Assembly and education locations need a current certificate of inspection • Requires posting of occupancy #’s • Multiple uses may alter occupancy #’s • Overcrowding forbidden • Requires stoppage of performance
Event Operations • Limitations on decorative materials • Requires checking of means of egress • Egress aisles at least 44” wide • Signs and lighting maintained • Tentage requires two permits • Elevator use during fire conditions
Enforcement Options • Massachusetts General Laws Chapters • 48,148,148A:Fire prevention/protection • 143: Building regulations/standards • Others: Electrical, Plumbing, Elevators, Amusements, Health, Environmental Protection, Zoning, Gas and Propane
Enforcement Options • Oral discussion or warning • Written notice with corrections • Non-Criminal Fire Code Violation Notice • Written warning • 1st offense $100 per violation • 2nd offense $ 500 per violation • 3rd offense $1,000 per violation
Enforcement Options • 24 Hour corrections violation • Criminal complaint application • Restraining order • Violation fines return to community to support training of code enforcement • Violations can be appealed within 21 days to Hearings Officer
Right of Access to Properties • Mgl. Chapter 148, Sections 4 and 5 • Regulates access to properties • May enter at any reasonable hour a building or premises to make inspections or investigations for purposes of enforcing statues and regulations • Administrative search warrant
Right of Access to Properties • Fire department has general right of access in performance of duties regarding reports of smoke, fire or hazardous conditions and under exigent circumstances. • FD also provides emergency medical and hazardous materials response
Assembly Inspection Checklist • Developed model checklist for Concord • Includes most common issues • Allows for site/event specifics • Easy and consistent manner to review status of building/site for compliance • Complete for each event • Save your records and reports
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • Name of Building ____________________________________ • Building Address _____________________________________ • Production Co. Name ____________Type of Event__________ • Event Date (s)_______________________________________ • Crowd Manager (CM)_________________________________ • CM Telephone (s) ____________________________________
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • OCCUPANTS/CAPACITY • 1.1 Number of occupants within legal limits – check posted signs • Event Location (Auditorium, Gym, Cafeteria) • Posted Occupancy Limit
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 2. MEANS OF EGRESS/EXITS • 2.1 All outside egress paths are clear: of snow, ice, obstructions. • 2.2 All inside egress paths are clear objects, furniture and trash. • 2.3 All exit doors operate properly, are unobstructed, open from the inside. Doors are not locked from the inside or chained. • 2.4 In rooms with chairs/tables, aisles must be a minimum of 44” wide for egress
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 3. FIRE ALARMS • 3.1 Pull alarm stations are visible and unobstructed • 3.2 Fire detection and notification devices are not masked or covered.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 4. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS • 4.1 Sufficient number of fire extinguishers as required, properly located, accessible and ready. Service tag within one year of event date. Add additional extinguishers for unusually high amount of combustible material present. • 4.2 Clearance to bottom of sprinkler heads is 18 inches minimum.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 5. ELEVATORS • 5.1 Elevator is clear of debris and obstructions. Do not use the elevator when the fire alarm sounds.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 6. LIGHTING • 6.1 Lighted exit signs operational and easily visible • 6.2 Adequate lighting to exits and in egress paths
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 7. Flame Retardant Requirements: (527 CMR 21 and Article 9 of Ma Building Code)* • 7.1 All scenery materials are rendered flame resistant. • 7.2 All permanent stage curtains have current flame retardant certification available. • 7.3 Platforms constructed of combustible material must be coated with approve fire retardant chemical or paint.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 8. Lighting: • 8.1All lights are securely hung with secondary support. Light are not hung by portable pipes. • 8.2 All electrical connections, wiring and cabling are in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 8. Lighting:continued • 8.3 All extension cords are UL or CSA approved and constructed of SJ, SVT, SJT, SJO, SVO, SJTW,.SO, SVO or other approved cable • 8.4 All extension cords are not crossing egress paths. If cords must cross egress paths they are protected from foot traffic. Cable(s) must not pose a tripping hazard.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 9. Platforms and stages:*See Concord Building Department Appendix • 9.1 Any platform or constructed scenery exceeding 30” in height requires a building permit and guardrail system *. • 9.2 Stair construction must conform to Mass Building Code *.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • Platforms and stages:continued • 9.3 The space between the floor and the platform does not contain anything other than NEC approved wiring used to supply platform equipment *
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 10. HOUSEKEEPING • 10.1 All flammable liquids stored in approved storage containers and cabinets including paints and stains used for scenery construction. • 10.2 General condition ~ area free of debris and obstructions. Trash is removed from the building.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 11. MISCELLANEOUS 527 CMR 10 • 11.1 NO PYROTECHNICS OF ANY KIND INCLUDING CANDLES • 11.2 Use of fog machine requires permit from the Concord Fire Dept. Permit must be conspicuously displayed • 11.3 Stage fire curtain release mechanism unobstructed. Stage crews are familiar with stage fire curtain operation.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • MISCELLANEOUS continued • 11.4 Air or heat vents are not blocked, deflected or covered. • 11.5 No heating devices in use including space heaters, hotplates • 11.6 Parking Lot Fire lanes are unobstructed during event (12 feet wide minimum) • 11.7 No inside tents; outside tents must have permit from the Concord Fire and Building Departments.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • 12 PRE-EVENT SAFETY INSRUCTIONS - 527 CMR 10.13 (c) • 12.1 Call the fire department in the event of any type of fire, even if extinguished! When calling for Emergency Services in Concord from a cell phone call:978-318-3400 or “911”. Call “911” from a building phone.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • PRE-EVENT SAFETY continued • 12.2 Conduct Fire drill during rehearsals and setup. Develop an egress plan • 12.3 Before the event / performance starts, Crowd Manager explains to the audience the exit locations, egress plan and rescues assistance location for persons with disabilities.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • PRE-EVENT SAFETY continued • 12.4 An event with a written program must contain a map of the room or auditorium showing the exits and a rescues assistance location for persons with disabilities.
Place of Assembly Fire Safety Inspection Checklist • List problems or concerns, noting date and time • Check box for additional comments on back • Crowd Manager Signature ___________ • Date ______________ Time______ AM/PM
Questions and Discussion • References • National Fire Protection Association • nfpa.org • Massachusetts Government • mass.gov • Department of Fire Services • Board of Building Regulations/Standards