NFPA 1: 2018 sneak peak, outdoor storage of wood pallets #FireCodefridays

Blog Post created by kristinbigda Employee on Mar 17, 2017

Top o' the Friday morning to you!  Happy St. Patrick's Day! Last week I wrote about one of the new technical changes coming to the 2018 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code.  Continuing the discussion of new changes coming in the next edition, this week I'll talk about the outdoor storage of wood pallets, also a significant revision coming in the 2018 edition.


Photo of wood pallet recycling facility.  Photo courtesy of Robert Davidson, Davidson Code Concepts


Currently, Section 34.10 addresses the outdoor storage of idle pallets. This will be updated for 2018 with a section to specifically apply to the storage of wood and wood composite pallets or listed pallets equivalent to wood at pallet manufacturing and pallet recycling facility sites with a proposed new Section 34.10.4.  Initial changes were proposed at the First Draft stage and further refinements were made at the Second Draft stage in response to the public comments. 


Outdoor pallet storage areas for manufacturing and recyclers of pallets will be "exempt" from the requirements for idle pallets currently in NFPA 1 because pallets are not idle, nor managed in an idle fashion, at these types facilities. The new provisions of 34.10.4 take into consideration the following characteristics of manufacturing and pallet recycling facility sites:

  • Pallet manufacturers and recyclers have intimate knowledge of their pallet inventory, as it is considered an asset
  • The storage areas are fluid environments where pallets are being moved and replaced on a daily basis.
  • The outdoor storage area of pallet manufacturing and recycling facilities is an active management environment.
  • Personnel are a constant presence within the storage area so that fire hazards can be identified and reported to take immediate corrective action.
  • Storage yards are organized by pallet type and into recycle streams for high operational efficiency, kept sufficiently free of waste and debris, and perimeters are well maintained.


The intent of the new section is to reduce the likelihood of fire at pallet manufacturing and recycling facilities through best practices. In the event that a fire does occur, measures are described that will mitigate the spread of fire to adjoining structures and properties through the establishment of pallet pile spacing between buildings and property lines.


New Section 34.10.4 will require that each site maintain a current site plan that is to be submitted to the local AHJ for review and approval.  The site plan will include details such as lot lines, utilities, building construction, fire protection systems, available water supply, hazardous material storage, location of pallet storage, FD access, and others.  In addition to the required site plan, the owner (or designated representative) of the facility is required to submit a fire prevention plan for review and approval by the local AHJ.  This plan will include frequency of walk through inspections to verify the fire prevention plan as well as pallet stack heigh, area, and setbacks, hot work permits, preventative maintenance programs, and fire protection system ITM.  The new section will also address training, security management plans, pallet stack height, size of pallet arrays, and water supplies.


For more information on the new 2018 provisions you can view the Second Draft Report here.


Happy Friday, stay safe!