The new and VASTLY improved NFPA 150, Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code is now available! The total rewrite took about 3 years to complete, with task groups, committee meetings, and input from industry experts. The new edition is easier to navigate, adopt, and enforce.
NEW ANIMAL CATEGORIES: The document has evolved quite a bit since it’s development in 1979, when it was titled “Standard on Firesafety in Racetrack Stables”. Previous editions classified animals in only two categories: (1) animals that posed a risk or were difficult to move and (2) all other animals. The new document includes 7 different animal categories and 14 sub categories based on the animal occupancy. The 7 categories include Health Care, Horse Facilities, Research, Exhibition/Public Viewing, General Board and Care, Agriculture, and Emergency. Check out Chapter 6 for a description of each category.
NEW LAYOUT: The TC recognized an opportunity to improve fire safety in animal housing facilities if we could organize and present the requirements in an easy to use way. The document was re-formatted to mirror the layout of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, with specific chapters assigned to each animal occupancy. To make it even easier, we summarized all of the fire protection requirements in an easy to use table in Annex C.
UPDATED REQUIREMENTS: Seven task groups worked in preparation for the new edition-one on each of the animal categories. They addressed new concepts and hazards tailored to each occupancy. NFPA 150 now addresses disaster/emergency management programs, hazardous area protection, and hay storage.
The committee spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the requirements for agricultural animal facilities. NFPA 150 had not appropriately addressed the agricultural industry in the past. The number of animal lives lost during those fires is much more significant than any other animal facility. Due to the unique conditions within these facilities (limited access to water, dust, exposure to the outside) traditional methods of fire protection are not often feasible. The TC focused on more of a risk management approach, limiting the amount of combustibles, fuel, and other hazards that the facility might be exposed to.
ANIMAL HOUSING TIDBITS:
- Animal housing fires happen frequently and often result in dozens if not thousands of animal deaths. In June, 28 racehorses died in New York. A few days later 25,000 chickens died in a fire in Washington.
- Contrary to what I believed, sprinklers and fire alarms are not always the answer in animal housing facilities. Some animals, like exotic fish, are so sensitive to changes in water temperature and quality, they would die if a sprinkler discharged into their tanks. Some primates are so sensitive to loud noises and lights, they could injure themselves if a fire alarm were to go off. Alternative protection methods should be used to address specific animal needs.
- The Technical Committee was given the unique opportunity to tour the Smithsonian Zoo a few years ago. We learned that sprinkler piping and elephants don’t mix. A special enclosure was needed so the elephants wouldn’t pull the sprinkle piping off the ceiling.
- Check out NFPA’s Barn Fire Safety Checklist for some great general safety tips.
You can review the new 2019 edition of NFPA 150 for free at www.nfpa.org/150.