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Every Friday I will be highlighting a topic contained in NFPA 1, Fire Code, or an issue currently being considered by the Fire Code Technical Committee during this revision cycle.


NFPA 1 addresses many areas of fire and life safety for nearly all occupancies and facilities. It provides minimum levels of protection needed to provide for life safety from fire to building occupants, property protection, and enhanced emergency responder safety.


Let's start with indoor children's play structures.  Why?  Well, I am a mom, and it's winter in New England, and indoor play areas seem to be on my horizon.  I have seen many facilities featuring these play structures pop up recently, and safety is paramount.


Section 10.19 of NFPA 1 addresses these indoor play structures that exceed 10 ft in height and 160 ft2 in area.  Think places such as a McDonald's PlayPlace or this.


With foams, and plastics and composite materials, these play structures can account for a very high fuel load in a relatively small area.  They accommodate children and other occupants that are unfamiliar with their surroundings and may need assistance to evacuate.  NFPA 1 provisions focus on the materials used for the construction of these indoor play structures.  Per NFPA 1, it is required that they be constructed out of noncombustible materials, or combustible materials complying with one of the options provided in Section  Even balls used in ball pools/ball pits must comply with a specified heat release rate.  Additional provisions are listed in Section for when light-transmitting plastics are used.


There is also a requirement for the separation of indoor play structures from one another and as well as a size limitation.  The size limitation of 300 ft2 can be increased where approved by the local AHJ.


For addition details, please refer to the 2015 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code,  which can be viewed for free at or NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2015 edition, sections 12.4.8 and 13.4.8.


Kristin Bigda

Principal Fire Protection Engineer, NFPA

There is still time to register for the Foundation's 2016 SupDet symposium, which will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton San Antonio Downtown, San Antonio, TX from March 1-4, 2016.  This year's symposium will feature 30 presentations on suppression and detection and signaling research and applications. 


In addition, on the afternoon of March 2 there will be a free half-day workshop on "Big Data and Fire Protection Systems".  The goal of this workshop will be to identify and prioritize the opportunities for big data to inform decision making around inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems.  An agenda for the workshop is available on the SupDet website.


The suppression session, which will take place March 1-2, will feature a keynote on the "History of Fire" by Dick Gann from NIST, presentations on the latest research on warehouse sprinkler protection, research on the protection of lithium ion batteries, and more. 


The detection and signaling section will take place March 3-4 and includes research on residential smoke alarms, smart building applications, notification, smoke characteristics, and more.


Don't miss out - register today for the full symposium, or choose either the Suppression Program or the Detection Program.  For additional details and the full program visit: