VIII. Fire & Life Safety
Fire and life safety at Texas A&M University (TAMU) is governed by federal, state and local, standards including System Regulations and University Rules and University Standard Administrative Procedures. Ultimate jurisdiction for fire safety lies with the Texas State Fire Marshal and with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) as designated by the President of Texas A&M University. The President has designated the Manager for Fire and Life Safety in Environmental Health and Safety to be the local AHJ and to be responsible for the day to day fire prevention, inspection, and program oversight. However, each and every individual, whether faculty, staff, student, or visitor on our campus shares a role in fire safety.
TAMU is committed to providing a safe environment for building occupants and emergency response personnel.
1.0 Program Requirements
1.1 The basis for the fire and life safety program at TAMU is provided for by TAMU System regulation - 24.02.02 Health and Safety Program http://www.tamus.edu/offices/policy/policies/pdf/24-02-02.pdf and a TAMU Rule – 24.01.04.M7 - Fire and Life Safety Compliance
2.1 The Texas State Fire Marshal's Office has adopted the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code© and all referenced codes and standards as the primary guide for fire and life safety. It is important to note that this code is not all inclusive, is not a building code, and that other codes and standards may also apply. Some of these include, but are not limited to: 1. International Building Code 2. International Fire Code 3. International Mechanical Code 4. Americans with Disabilities Act 5. Texas Accessibility Standards Act
3.0 Fire and Life Safety Program
3.1 The fire and life safety program at TAMU involves numerous activities, programs, and procedures to help ensure that our campus is a safe place to work, live, and play. These program areas include fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency preparedness, preplanning, education, and response. The following information is provided as a general guideline for activities associated with fire and life safety. Additional information may be obtained by contacting Environmental Health and Safety or by going to our website for the latest information. Links are provided throughout this document.
4.0 Appliances4.1 An appliance can be defined as any instrument or piece of equipment or device designed for a particular use and powered by electricity. (i.e. computers, copy machines, refrigerators, freezers, space heaters etc.) Use the following guidelines when using appliances on campus.
5.1 If arson is suspected, no matter how small the incident, contact the University Police Department or Environmental Health & Safety. Do not alter the fire scene in any way, unless you are trying to extinguish a live fire. The UPD will investigate any possible arson.
5.0 Building Evacuation Plans/Drills
5.2 Every facility at TAMU is required to have a written emergency evacuation plan as specified in the TAMU Crisis Management Plan. Each department or building proctor is responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive plan for emergency evacuations drills. The best way to develop this plan is to form an implementation committee with members from each building floor and each department.5.3 To ensure that building occupants are prepared for an emergency evacuation, drills must be conducted on a regular basis. Evacuation drills may be used to vacate a building for several reasons such as fires, gas leaks, chemical spills, bomb threats or other similar emergencies and emphasis should be placed on orderly evacuation rather than on speed.
5.4 These drills should:
5.5 Upon completion of the drill, an evaluation of the drill shall be conducted and filed with EHS to identify any areas for improvement and to document the drill.
5.6 More information, including a template for developing an emergency evacuation plan can be found on the EHS website – http://ehsd.tamu.edu
6.0 Candles & Incense
6.1 The use of candles, incense burners, oil lamps and other items are governed by a University SAP 24.01.04.M7.02: Restriction on Candles General guidelines include:
6.2 More information on the use of candles can be found at the EHS website – http://ehsd.tamu.edu.
7.0 Combustible Storage
7.1 One of the most common violations of general fire safety practices is that of improper or excessive storage of combustible material By storing excess combustible materials improperly, employees not only increase the potential for having a fire, they increase the potential severity of a fire. To reduce the hazards associated with combustible storage, follow these guidelines:
8.0 Compressed Gas Cylinders8.1 Compressed gas cylinders, in service or in storage, shall be adequately secured (chained) to prevent falling or being knocked over. Ropes, cords, rubber and other combustible material are not approved for this purpose. Compressed gas cylinders shall have their caps in place except when they are in use or are being serviced or filled. 9.0 Construction and Renovation9.1 EHS serves the role of Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for all TAMU owned property and any buildings or structures on that property. All proposed construction, structural changes, or changes in the use, or any change effecting egress from a space within a building on the TAMU campus, regardless of facility ownership, must be reviewed and approved by the EHS and Physical Plant in order to address fire and life safety issues in accordance with TAMU Rule 24.01.04.M7. 10.0 Decorations10.1 When decorating your area, there are several things that you must be aware of:
10.2 Holiday Decorations
11.0 Electrical Safety11.1 Extension Cord and Power-Strip Use
11.2 Electrical Panel Access
12.0 Emergency Access and Egress
12.1 Emergency access and egress are critical during an emergency situation such as a fire. During a fire, timing and quick response are essential to save lives and property. Effective emergency access ensures that fire trucks can reach a building in time to extinguish the fire. Unobstructed emergency egress ensures that building occupants can exit a building to safety.
12.2 Emergency access helps ensure that facilities and equipment remain available and unobstructed at all times to ensure effective fire detection, evacuation, suppression, and response. Emergency egress is defined as a continuous and unobstructed way to travel from any point in a public building to a public way. A means of egress may include horizontal and vertical travel routes, including intervening rooms, doors, hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, enclosures, lobbies, courts, and yards.
12.3 Corridors, Stairways, and Exits
13.0 Flammable and Combustible Liquids
13.2 Flammable Liquids are further classified as Class I, Class IA, IB and IC liquids. Combustible liquids are further classified as Class II, Class III, Class IIIA and Class IIIB liquids. You can identify if you are working with flammable or combustible materials by referencing the flash point on the product label or MSDS sheet. 13.3 When working with these materials, precautions should be taken to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors by sources such as the following: open flames, hot surfaces, radiant heat, smoking, cutting and welding, sparks, static electricity. Make sure you are in a well ventilated and/or exhausted area to allow dangerous vapors to dissipate or escape the area. Only acceptable containers that meet the requirements set forth in the Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) should be used with flammable and combustible liquids. The allowable size of these containers is dependant upon the class of liquid and the container type and is specified in the Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (NFPA 30). Flammable and combustible liquids should be stored inside a flammable liquids storage cabinet with an aggregate amount of liquid stored in an individual storage cabinet not to exceed 120 gallons.
14.0 Fire Detection and Notification
14.1 Most occupied buildings on the TAMU campus have automatic fire detection/notification systems installed in them. These systems are monitored at the Physical Plant Radio Room and the University Police Department. These systems utilize several different types of detection devices including heat, flame, and smoke detectors, relays from suppression/extinguishing systems, and manual pull stations to activate the notification portion of the system.
14.2 Detection Devices
14.3 Building Notification
15.0 Fire Doors
15.1 Fire doors serve as a barrier to limit the spread of fire and restrict the movement of smoke. Unless these doors are held open and released by the building fire alarm system fire doors should remain closed at all times. Do not tamper with fire doors or block them with equipment, potted plants, furniture, etc.
15.2 Fire doors are normally located in stairwells, corridors, and other areas required by Fire Code. The door, door frame, locking mechanism, and closure are rated between 20 minutes and three hours. A fire door rating indicates how long the door assembly can withstand heat and a water hose stream. All fire doors will have a label affixed to the door indicating the manufacturer, rating, serial # of the door and other information. It is important to not remove, paint, or in any way damage or destroys the label.
15.3 For your safety and to maintain the integrity of fire doors there are several important items to remember:
16.0 Fire Extinguishers
16.1 Fire Extinguishers, when used properly, play a vital role in containing and/or extinguishing small fires. Portable fire extinguishers are designed to be used on small, contained fires, by properly trained individuals. Lives could be saved, and property damage reduced, when fire extinguishers are used correctly.
16.2 Know the location of the closest extinguisher. A quick response is crucial to effectively put out a fire. You should not have to travel any farther than 75 feet to get to an extinguisher. This distance may be reduced in labs and other high hazard areas.
16.3 There are five classifications for fires. These are:
16.4 There are fire extinguishers designed for each type of fire. Some extinguishers can be used on more than one type of fire.16.5 Class A extinguishers are to be used only on Class A fires. This extinguisher contains only water and compressed air and is not to be used on B, C, D, or K fires.16.6 Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are recommended for Class B and C fires. Halon or other similar type fire extinguishers are also rated to be used on B and C fires.16.7 Dry Chemical extinguishers come in two types. One type is rated for B-C fires, and the other is rated for A-B-C fires. The ABC or multipurpose extinguisher is the most common extinguisher found on the TAMU Campus.16.8 Class D extinguishers are specialized to be used only on flammable metals. Never attempt to extinguish a Class D fire with anything other than a CLASS D extinguisher.16.9 Class K extinguishers are designed to be used on flammable cooking oils. They are to be used in conjunction with a commercial fire suppression system. 16.10 There is no extinguisher that is designed to be used on all types of fires. It is important to know your fire extinguisher and its limitations. 16.11 Inspection and Maintenance
EHS conducts regular inspections of fire extinguishers. The department also services extinguishers that have been used, and also performs the required maintenance and testing of extinguishers. Once used, fire extinguishers must be serviced or replaced. If an extinguisher has been used, is missing, needs to be relocated, or any other type of service, contact EHS for assistance.
16.12 Portable fire extinguishers are located throughout buildings across the campus. They are installed according to National Fire Protection Association codes and standards. Extinguishes are readily accessible in hallways, near exits, and in areas containing high fire hazards. Never block access to an extinguisher.16.13 Using an extinguisher
16.14 The normal operating distance of different extinguishers will vary considerably. A dry chemical extinguisher will have a discharge range of 8-10 feet, while a Carbon Dioxide extinguisher may only reach 5-6 feet.16.15 Remember:
17.0 Fire Hydrants
17.1 Fire hydrants are located throughout the campus and play a vital role in fire suppression operations. It is important to maintain a clear path to all hydrants and allow clear distances around hydrants to allow uninhibited operation should an emergency occur. It is also important that vehicles are not parked within 15 feet of fire hydrants or other fire safety equipment.
18.0 Fire Lanes
18.1 A fire lane is an area designated for emergency personnel only. It allows them to gain access to building and/or fire protection systems. Parking in or blocking any fire lane is prohibited.
19.0 Fire and Life Safety Inspections
19.1 Fire and life safety inspections are conducted at least annually in TAMU facilities. The goal of these inspections is to help identify potentially unsafe practices and conditions in TAMU facilities. These are not surprise inspections. EHS will notify the building proctor or facility coordinator prior to inspecting a facility. We want to work with building occupants to help ensure a fire safe environment in which to work.
19.2 Some of the items that our inspectors will be looking for include but are not limited to:
19.3 At the conclusion of the inspection a report is generated and sent back to the building proctor or facility coordinator to be disseminated to the building occupants for them to take necessary actions to remediate any inspection deficiencies.19.4 In addition to regular facility fire and life safety inspections, EHS conducts inspections in our residence halls and apartment complex as well. Residence hall inspections are conducted during the first few weeks of the fall semester while apartment inspections are conducted during the early spring and late summer semesters. 20.0 Fire Prevention
20.1 Fire Safety is everyone's responsibility. In fact you are your office's best fire inspector. The following section will provide ways you can help prevent fires.
21.0 Fire Reporting21.1 If you discover a fire in a facility on campus you should
22.0 Fire Suppression
22.1 TAMU uses various types of fire suppression equipment including portable fire extinguishers, water sprinklers, special gas extinguishing systems, cooking hood systems, and fire hose/standpipe systems. The following sections discuss each type of fire suppression equipment.
22.2 Sprinkler Systems
22.3 To ensure that sprinklers are effective in the event of a fire:
22.4 Fire Extinguishing Systems
22.5 Fire Hoses and Standpipe Systems
23.0 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
23.1 The Texas Railroad Commission regulates the sale and use of LPG, including butane and propane. In addition, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code (NFPA 58) provides regulations on the use of LPG as well. These regulations govern several types of LPG-powered equipment and procedures including the following:
23.2 Exhaust fumes may contain carbon monoxide which can present a health hazard. Exhaust can also create smoke which may activate a smoke detector. Take special precautions to ensure adequate ventilation when using these machines indoors.
23.3 Because LPG is extremely flammable, it is a potential fire hazard. Do not store LPG near heat, flame, or other ignition sources. In addition, do not leave portable LPG containers larger than 16 oz. in a building overnight. Instead, place portable LPG containers and LPG equipment outside in a storage area that is at least 25 feet away from other buildings, combustible materials, roadways, railroads, pipelines, utility lines, and the property line. This storage area should prevent unauthorized entry and have a portable fire extinguisher within 25 feet.
23.4 When using portable LPG containers the requirements listed below shall be followed:
23.5 LPG powered Industrial Trucks
24.0 Open Burning
24.1 TAMU must comply with all Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) guidelines for any open burns. In order to be able to conduct such a burn, several criteria must be met prior to EHS issuing an authorization to burn. These general guidelines include:
24.2 For additional information or to request an authorization to burn please refer to the EHS website at http://ehsd.tamu.edu or the TAMU Standard Administrative Procedure 24.01.04.M7.03: Safe Use of Outdoor Fires. 25.0 Pyrotechnics/Open Flames25.1 The use of pyrotechnics or open flames on the TAMU Campus is regulated and requires a permit issued by EHS prior to any performance or use. The use of consumer fireworks on campus is prohibited. 25.2 For further information on the use of pyrotechnics or open flames or to obtain an application, visit the EHS website http://ehsd.tamu.edu 26.0 Smoking26.1 Smoking is prohibited in all university buildings, vehicles, and in all University owned and leased housing (apartments, residence halls), and all indoor air space of University owned athletic facilities and outdoor public seating areas in athletic arenas. Where smoking is allowed, it is important to fully extinguish any smoking material or dispose in an appropriate disposal container.
27.0 Space Heaters
27.1 Some general guidelines to remember when using space heaters are:
28.0 Tents 28.1 Erection of tents on the TAMU campus shall be in accordance with the University's Rule 21.99.09.M3: Tents on Campus and with the requirements as outlined in the Life Safety Code and the International Building Code. For more information, contact EHS or go to the EHS website at http://ehsd.tamu.edu
For Questions or Concerns,
EHS @ 979-845-2132
or after hours contact
Communications Center 979-845-4311