Wow, it's almost Halloween. Where does the time go? As we wrap up the pumpkin season, and before heading into the 'holiday season', which brings a whole new set of Fire Code challenges (Christmas trees, candles, snow, eek!), here is a summary of the issues addressed by NFPA 1, Fire Code, before one last weekend of fall festivities. It seems like just in my local area there are tons and tons of events to attend, this weekend alone. Understanding how the Code applies to these events helps ensure a safe and fun time to everyone involved.
One might not think of a corn maze as somewhere with a great fire safety risk. However, crop mazes pose unique fire safety problems due to their configuration (confusing paths and lack of marked egress) and the inherent combustibility of the maze materials.
Haunted houses use special effects, scenery, props, and audio and visual distractions that may cause egress paths to become not obvious. In haunted houses in particular, the presence of combustible materials and special scenery can also contribute to the fuel load should a fire occur. Because of this, the Code requirements are purposely strict to in hopes of avoiding a disastrous fire event.
Concession booths are a particular concern at carnivals, harvest festivals and fairs. Many contain flammable liquids, commercial cooking equipment, and are producing grease laden vapors. Often times concession stands are crammed into one small pedestrian area, concentrating the potential hazard into a confined, high-traffic zone.
Fire Department Access - the presence of food trucks, mobile cooking stands, concession stands, parking areas, hayrides, and other events cannot block the roads and areas designated for fire department access.
Permits - Table 1.12.8(a) summarizes those activities and processes that require permits. Both fire code officials and those involved in the planning of events must be aware of permitting requirements.
Open Flames, Candles, Open Fires, and Incinerators - The AHJ has the authority to prohibit any or all
open flames, candles, and open, recreational, and cooking fires or other sources of ignition, or establish special regulations on the use of any form of fire or smoking material where circumstances make such conditions hazardous.