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How the Life Safety Code is Used in Colleges and Universities

January 21, 2020

The needs of higher education institutions are always evolving, and so are the risks and challenges associated with protecting students, faculty and visitors from harm. It is up to higher education leaders to meet growing expectations of campus safety and security, and provide environments that are free of hazards.

Here’s how your college or university can utilize the Life Safety Code to boost fire prevention efforts and protect students and staff from fire-related threats.

The Life Safety Code and How It’s Used in Higher Education

What is NFPA 101® Life Safety Code and what does it include?

The NFPA 101® Life Safety Code is a publication written by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an international non-profit organization “devoted to eliminating death, injury and loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.” Revised every three years, the Life Safety Code is one of the most widely used strategies for supporting occupant safety in the built environment.

The NFPA 101® Life Safety Code covers many best practices for fire and life safety, including the following:

  • Alarm Systems
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Fire Barriers
  • Fire Drills
  • Life Safety Compliance Options
  • Means of Egress
  • Smoke Barriers
  • Special Hazard Protection
  • Sprinklers

The NFPA 101® Life Safety Code extends far beyond just these topics. Read a more extensive list of topics in the publication’s table of contents.

Who should use the NFPA 101® Life Safety Code?

Occupant safety is a top priority for building management professionals, especially those in higher education. The Life Safety Code is a great resource for architects, engineers, property owners, facility directors, administrators, and safety and compliance teams in the higher education space. These individuals can utilize the Life Safety Code to design, construct and maintain campus environments that are safe and conducive to learning.

Fire Inspection Checklist for Higher Education Institutions Resource Preview

How can colleges and universities utilize the Life Safety Code?

A higher education institution cannot truly be safe unless all its campus buildings are regularly inspected and deemed compliant with safety laws and regulations. The Life Safety Code guideline is a great resource that higher education leaders can utilize to improve fire safety in residential, instructional and recreational spaces. The publication offers a flexible approach to fire safety protocols, whether your buildings are new constructions or existing builds.

Let’s take a closer look at the Life Safety Code’s contents and how they apply to higher education.

  • Chapters 1-10 state general fire/life safety information for all industries to apply within their buildings. You’ll find insight on general life safety compliance, fire drills, emergency action plans, occupancy classification, means of egress, fire protection systems and more.
  • Chapters 14-15 are particularly useful to higher education leadership teams, as they outline fire safety protocols for new and existing educational occupancies. Readers will learn about general safety requirements, means of egress requirements, special provisions and operating features – all specific to educational buildings.
  • Chapters 28-29 outline fire safety protocols as they pertain to new and existing dormitory buildings. The latest version (2018) of the Life Safety Code includes added requirements for attic protection as they pertain to new dormitories and apartment-style suite construction.

Start Today: Free Fire Inspection Checklist

Routine fire safety inspections are an integral part of maintaining an effective fire prevention and loss control plan. The items listed within the Fire Inspection Checklist for Higher Education Institutions can be used as a starting point for a fire safety inspection campaign at your organization. Download your free copy below.

Download - Fire Inspection Checklist for Higher Education Buildings

How are NFPA handbooks different from building codes and standards?

Despite its title, the Life Safety Code is not a legal code and has no statutory authority on its own. Rather, the publication serves as an educational resource that explores building features that are necessary for minimizing fire-related dangers and hazards.

The NFPA 101® Life Safety Code is written with approachable language to help readers better understand fire safety. The handbook also features expert commentary, graphics, decision trees, testing procedures, case studies, sample forms, checklists and other helpful aids to give readers a better understanding of fire safety protocols in their buildings and how to apply them.

Is the NFPA 101® Life Safety Code really worth the read?

If your leadership team is looking to learn more about fire-related hazards and how to solve them, the Life Safety Code is a great resource to start with. Not only will this information help you build a better, safer and more compliant campus, it may also benefit your organization in a variety of other ways:

  • Determination of Liability: The Life Safety Code is a valuable source for determining liability in accidents. It is used by many insurance companies to evaluate risks, set rates and assess compliance after an incident. Many of the book’s codes and related standards are sponsored by insurance companies.
  • Determination of Occupancy Requirements: The Life Safety Code is often used by architects to determine occupancy requirements for a building. Local regulations may also adopt all or part of the Life Safety Code when noting occupancy requirements for local jurisdiction.
  • Overlap of Existing Codes and Regulations: The Life Safety Code is purposefully written to align with hundreds of other building codes and standards. Examples include the NFPA 70: National Electrical Code and the International Code Council Fuel Gas Code.

Codes produced by NFPA are continually updated to incorporate new technologies and lessons learned from real-life fire experiences. Read the Life Safety Code to ensure your leadership teams are up-to-date on the latest protocols, and that your educational and residential facilities meet code. After reading this publication, you’ll be better prepared to tackle safety challenges effectively and protect your students, faculty and visitors from fire-related hazards.

Are you ready to take your building inspections to the next level?

Ace your next safety and compliance inspection with AkitaBox, a compliance-driven software designed to automate your inspection process with customizable rounds, checklists and reporting.

Meaghan Kelly

Former marketing content copywriter for AkitaBox.

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