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Greek Facilities Fire Safety Guide

The items in this guide have been condensed from the fire prevention laws that apply to dormitory occupancies, which include fraternities and sororities. These are not all of the fire prevention requirements, but address the most common deficiencies found during inspections. As an additional resource, information regarding testing and maintenance of fire protection equipment and systems is provided.

Table of Contents

Section Subject

A. Exits

B. Fire Alarms/Smoke Detectors/Fire Watch

C. Sprinkler Systems

D. Interior Finish

E. Electrical

F. Emergency Lighting

G. Kitchen Fire Protection Systems

H. Fire Extinguishers

I. Storage

J. Housekeeping

K. Fire Drills

L. Fire Lanes

M. Renovations/Alterations/Lofts

N. Where to Call

Appendix


A. Exits:

  1. There must be at least two exits from every area.
    • Bedrooms must have one accessible window to serve as a secondary emergency exit (except in fully sprinklered facilities)

     

  2. Exits must be accessible without the use of any key, tool or special knowledge (Security can be provided with approved alarm locks).

     

  3. Exits must be marked with illuminated exit signs that are working.

     

  4. Storage, furniture, trash, etc. are not allowed in corridors or stairways.

     

  5. Fire doors to stairways and storage rooms must close and latch automatically.

     

  6. Fire doors may not be blocked open (Fire doors can stay open if they are on approved magnetic door holders released by the activation of automatic smoke detectors).

     

  7. The walls and ceilings of corridors and stairwells must be solid and not have any holes or other damage.

     

  8. Exits must not be hidden or obstructed by draperies, furniture, decorations, etc.
    • This includes exterior portions of exits.

     

  9. Exit doors must swing in the direction of exit travel.

     

  10. Corridor/Bedroom doors must be solid (20 minute fire rated) with automatic door closers (unless approved smoke detectors are located in the corridors)

B. Fire Alarms:

  1. Every building must have a fire alarm system that is working at all times.
    • Fire alarm system trouble signals are an indication that there is a problem with the system or that a sprinkler valve may be closed. A trouble signal is a constant high pitched noise or intermittent beep which will be heard at the fire alarm annunciator panel (near the front door) and/or the fire alarm control panel (in a mechanical area).
    • Report trouble signals to the appropriate maintenance personnel.
    • A Fire Watch is required in any facility where the fire alarm system is not operational (See appendix).
    • A fire watch is not required in University owned facilities which are fully sprinklered if the sprinkler system is operational.

     

  2. Each bell or horn, manual pull station, smoke detector, heat detector, flow switch or any other fire alarm device must be in working order.

     

  3. The manual pull stations, smoke detectors and bells or horns must not be obstructed or painted.

     

  4. When it is sounding, the fire alarm must be heard in every area of the building.

     

  5. Fire alarm systems must be tested in accordance with the Fire Prevention Code. Testing and maintenance records must be maintained.
    • Renovated facilities and non-renovated facilities utilizing FM - fire alarm systems will be tested and records will be maintained by FM.
    • Off-campus facilities and non-renovated Facilities utilizing private contractors - fire alarm systems must be tested prior to inspection and records must be available to the fire inspector during an inspection.

     

  6. Single station smoke detectors that are wired to the building electrical system are required in each sleeping room. These smoke detectors are intended to alert the occupant(s) in the room and Do Not activate the building fire alarm system.
    • Single station smoke detectors are tested during inspections in both University owned and off- campus facilities.

C. Sprinkler Systems (Where Installed):

  1. Sprinkler systems must be operational at all times that the facility is occupied.
    • A trouble signal on the fire alarm system may indicate that a sprinkler valve is closed.

     

  2. Sprinklers must not be obstructed or painted or damaged.
    • Report damaged sprinklers to the appropriate maintenance personnel.

     

  3. Sprinkler systems, where installed, must be tested in accordance with the Fire Prevention Code. Testing and maintenance records must be maintained.
    • Renovated facilities and non-renovated facilities utilizing FM - sprinkler systems will be tested and records will be maintained by FM.
    • Off-campus facilities and non-renovated facilities utilizing private contractors - sprinkler systems must be tested prior to inspection and records must be available to the fire inspector during an inspection.

D. Interior Finish (Walls, Ceilings, Floors):

  1. The interior finish of corridors, stairways, foyers, lobbies and other exits must be rated class A for fire spread.

     

  2. The interior finish of all other areas must be class A, B, or C.

     

  3. The use of flammable decorations is prohibited.

     

  4. See section N. Renovations/Alterations for approval information.

E. Electrical:

  1. Electrical appliances and cords must be in good condition.

     

  2. Extension cords are for temporary use only.
    • One cord of equal or larger diameter for one appliance.
    • Extension cords may not be used in place of fixed building wiring.

     

  3. Electrical outlets must not be overloaded.
    • Only UL or FM approved multiple outlet power strips with built-in breakers or fuses are acceptable.

     

  4. Electrical cords must not be run under rugs or through doors.

F. Emergency Lighting:

  1. All corridors, stairwells and common areas must have adequate emergency lighting powered by batteries or an emergency generator or emergency power supply.

     

  2. Emergency lighting must be capable of providing illumination for a period of 1 1/2 hours.

     

  3. Emergency lighting must be tested in accordance with the Fire Prevention Code. Testing and maintenance records must be maintained.
    • Renovated facilities and non-renovated facilities utilizing FM - Emergency lighting will be tested and records will be maintained by FM.
    • Off-campus facilities and non-renovated facilities utilizing private contractors - emergency lighting must be tested prior to inspection and records must be available to the fire inspector during an inspection.

G. Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems:

  1. Kitchen fire suppression systems are required to protect the kitchen exhaust hood and deep fryers, griddles, stove tops and broilers.
    • Kitchen fire suppression systems must serviced every 6 months by a qualified contractor.
    • Required tags on the system, located at the chemical agent tanks and the manual activation station, indicate the last date that service was performed.

H. Fire Extinguishers:

 

  1. A fire extinguisher is required within 75 feet of every area. A fire extinguisher is also required in the kitchen and mechanical rooms.
    • Fire extinguishers are not required in University owned renovated facilities except in the kitchen and mechanical rooms.

     

  2. Fire extinguishers must be serviced annually (or if they have been used) by qualified service contractors. A tag or sticker on the extinguisher indicates the last date service was performed.
    • FM maintains fire extinguishers in the kitchens and mechanical rooms of University owned renovated facilities.

     

  3. Multi-purpose type "ABC" fire extinguisher are recommended in public areas and mechanical rooms. Type "BC" dry chemical (sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate) fire extinguishers are recommended in kitchens.

I. Storage:

  1. Storage must be maintained in an orderly manner in approved storage rooms. Approve storage rooms are separated from the rest of the building by 1.0 hour fire rated construction and/or automatic sprinklers.

     

  2. Flammable or combustible liquids such as oil-based paint and paint thinner must be limited to that needed for routine maintenance and must be stored in approved storage rooms. Gasoline and gasoline powered equipment such as lawnmowers, mopeds and motorcycles are prohibited from the buildings.

     

  3. Storage must not be located within 18 inches below sprinklers.

 

J. Housekeeping:

  1. Accumulation of combustible debris inside or outside is prohibited.

     

  2. For fireplace use, proper size fireplace screens must be in place and the fireplace must have been properly inspected by a qualified contractor.

K. Fire Drills:

 

  1. Fire drills are conducted once each semester by ESSR in both University owned and off-campus greek facilities. The fire drills are unannounced and are for the purpose of occupant familiarization with exit routes and proper fire department notification procedures. UMD has a total evacuation policy (see appendix).

L. Fire Lanes:

 

  1. Areas which are posted by signs or yellow painted curbs are fire lanes. Vehicles parked in these areas would block fire department equipment from reaching the facility and are subject to ticketing/towing by the Department of Campus Parking or University Police (on-campus) and City of College Park Parking Enforcement or County Police (off-campus).

M. Renovations/Alterations/Lofts:

  1. Any renovation or alterations to the facilities requires prior review and approval for compliance with fire and life safety codes (see appendix).
    • All University owned facilities must follow established procedures. Contact the Greek Facilities Coordinator at in Office of Campus Programs at (301) 314-7780.
    • All off-campus facilities must obtain proper permits and follow Prince George's County and City of College Park procedures. Contact the City of College Park Department of Public Services at (301) 864-8877.
  2. Lofts are prohibited in all University of Maryland owned greek facilities

N. Where to Call for Information

 

  • On-campus fire protection system maintenance and scheduling of testing, fire safety related maintenance issues, scheduling of inspections and scheduling of required fire drills. 
    Greek Facilities Coordinator, (301) 314-7780

     

  • On-campus fire safety related technical questions and consultation. 
    Alan Sactor, Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk, (301) 405-3970

     

  • Off-campus fire safety related technical questions and consultation. 
    Alan Sactor, Department of Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk, (301) 405-3970

     

  • Off-campus fire inspection scheduling. 
    City of College Park, Department of Public Services, (301) 864-8877

 


Appendix

Please contact the department of Environmental Safety,Sustainability and Risk at (301) 405-3960 for a copy of the Correction Order - Fire Watch and the Prince George's County Correction Order.

University of Maryland Policy of Fire Emergencies