There is often a desire to increase the posted classroom capacities to accommodate additional students. There are several specific building/fire code issues to consider in this situation:
Several additional items commonly encountered when reviewing classroom capacities:
Generally there is flexibility to increase capacities by several students. However, there is a limit to that flexibility within the framework of the above-mentioned criteria.
Use common sense and good judgment when using devices that produce heat. This includes cooking, using candles, using heat-producing appliances such as coffee machines, and other activities.
Small Appliances: See FLS' policy on Small Appliances for more information.
Portable Heaters: Portable heaters are to be used only when the central heating system is malfunctioning and a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained, and only after written approval by the Campus Fire Marshal. Keep heaters away from combustibles, and unplug the unit when not in use. For more information see FLS' policies on Portable Heaters.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in campus buildings except for pre-approved theatrical performances.
Electrical hazards: Electrical devices can present a serious fire hazard when not used properly.
• Never leave sources of ignition, such as a hot stove or a burning candle, unattended.
• Turn off or unplug appliances when they are not being used.
• Do not use electrical devices with frayed or damaged cords or exposed wiring.
• Use only devices that are UL listed.
• Avoid using extension cords and do not overload circuits.
• Do not continue using a device if it consistently trips the circuit breaker.
• If a device emits an unusual odor, turn it off and unplug it immediately. Do not use the device until it is repaired.
• Follow all directions included with your electrical devices.
Improper storage of combustible items is an invitation for fire. Please ensure that:
• Storage inside buildings is orderly.
• Storage is placed at least 18 inches below fire sprinklers and does not block the flow of water from sprinkler heads.
• Oily rags and similar materials are stored in approved covered metal containers.
• Trash is taken out regularly and kept from accumulating.
• Contact FLS before storing hazardous or flammable material, e.g., volatile chemicals or flammable gas, in campus buildings.
Also, for all storage even non-combustible storage please ensure that:
• Items are not attached to or hanging from sprinkler heads and pipes.
• Clear access to fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations, and other fire protection equipment is maintained.
It is very important for occupants to be able to safely exit a building during an emergency. Exit routes, including aisles, hallways, corridors, and stairs must be kept free of obstructions that could impede or prevent occupants from safely evacuating.
• Maintain a minimum 44-inch wide clear path of egress through corridors and hallways for occupancies greater than 50 persons. For occupancies of 50 persons or less, the minimum clear path of egress is 36-inches.
• Do not store combustible or hazardous items in corridors.
• Storage of any kind is prohibited in enclosed stairwells.
• Enclosed exit stairs may not be used for "any purpose" other than a means of exit.
• Do not obstruct or block doors from opening.
• Do not block fire doors open with doorstops, wedges or other devices that do not allow the fire door to automatically close during an emergency.
• Bikes are not to be stored in corridors, stairways, or stairway landings.
In the event of a fire, all building occupants are instructed to always evacuate the building promptly via the nearest clear exit and to remain in the designated area outside the building until they are given the word to re-enter the building. Staff and residents have been made aware of manual fire alarm box locations within the facility and the fire alarm system may be activated while exiting the building, but in no case should residents jeopardize their safety to activate the alarms. Once outside the building, the fire should be reported by dialing 9-1-1.