Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center EHS
University of California
Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center EHS

Fire Prevention Plan

Fire

The Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center (KARE) Fire Prevention Plan is a document that sets fire safety standards for practices, policies, and procedures to facilitate the center's ability to conduct safe operations and to ensure regulatory compliance. The purpose of the plan is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare by monitoring and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, occupancy use, location and maintenance of all buildings, and structures within the center.

The plan includes methods designed to protect employees, students, and guests from fire and safety hazards presented by diverse operations conducted at the center and to promote safe practices. The plan meets the fire prevention and safety requirements outlined in the California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal OSHA) which encompass the uniform codes and recognized standards. The Plan is to simplify and address the most common fire and safety compliance issues in the above mentioned codes and standards.

The objective of the plan is to provide one comprehensive fire prevention plan for the center to reference in order to ensure safe practices are implemented in each center operation. The center is a complex environment and warrants a Plan to provide special and specific guidance for public assembly areas, laboratories, farm operations, repair shops, and warehouses. The plan applies to all university employees, functions, and affiliations.

Principle investigators and supervisors are responsible for ensuring all department fire and safety policies and evacuation plans are implemented, and all staff is aware and trained on the policies and evacuation plan. The policies and evacuation plan must be specific to their operation and comply with the plan and all applicable codes.

Employees - Employees (any university or center-paid person, including students) are responsible for understanding the hazards involved with their occupation. They must be familiar with all safety precautions, location and use of fire protection and safety equipment, and know the emergency evacuation plan for their area and be able to demonstrate knowledge of evacuation plan.

KARE Health & Safety Office conducts regularly scheduled inspections of all facilities on site. Acceptance tests of fire protection systems are inspected and tested by KARE Health & Safety Office.

Self-inspection program

A self-inspection program is a program designed for the employee to be actively involved in the safety of their area and facility. KARE Health & Safety Office encourages all departments to have a fire and safety self-inspection program to ensure the facility is safe and that any safety hazards can be identified and mitigated appropriately.

Exit

The term exit is as a continuous and unobstructed means of egress to a public way and will include intervening aisles, doors, doorways, gates, corridors, exterior exit balconies, ramps, stairways, pressurized enclosures, horizontal exits, exit passageways, exit courts and yards. Basically, the exit includes any occupied area of a building continuing on until the occupant safely exits the building.

Exits must be maintained as a safe system for egress. In addition, exits must be maintained as a safe area for rescue assistance for the physically challenged in above or below grade levels. The most common safety hazard is within the corridor. The fire code restricts the use, storage or display of any combustible material within a corridor unless it is shielded with a transparent noncombustible material, or fire retardant treated, and does not obstruct the required exit width.

It is the responsibility of each department, organization, or group to ensure that the "exit" is continuous and unobstructed, as well as ensuring compliance of fire code issues.

Fire extinguishers

An accessible travel distance to an appropriate fire extinguisher is required for all areas of operation (maximum travel distance depends on the nature of the occupancy). Hazardous occupancies must have an accessible fire extinguisher within 50 feet. Non-hazardous areas must have an accessible fire extinguisher within 75 feet. (Travel distance cannot include locked doors or changes in elevation.)

The following are four classes of fires that any person should be aware of in order to select the proper fire extinguisher for capability of extinguishment.

  • Class A: wood, paper, plastic (ordinary combustibles)
  • Class B: combustible and flammable liquids
  • Class C: energized electrical equipment (Usually a Class A or B once electrical equipment is de-energized)
  • Class D: combustible and flammable metals

The center is required by Cal/OSHA to offer fire extinguisher training classes to all employees. Training classes are offered through KARE Health & Safety on a regular basis.

Electrical safety

To ensure that electrical work in buildings is installed in accordance with the National Electric Code (NEC) and to protect the center, only journeyman electricians and licensed/bonded contractors are authorized to perform electrical work on center buildings and equipment.

Any electrical equipment or outlets that are within 6 feet of a water source or exposed to outside weather conditions must be on a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) system to prevent shock and comply with NEC.

All electrical equipment and appliances must be tested and approved for use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, i.e., Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Factory Mutual (FM). It is the user's responsibility to ensure that all electrical equipment and appliances are approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, inspected prior to use for any damage, repaired or discarded if damaged, and that equipment and appliances are used as recommended by the manufacturer.

The center has general safety requirements for use of electrical equipment or devices in center buildings and prohibits the use of any electrical equipment or devices that are not in compliance with the following:

  • Extension or flexible cord specifications (temporary use only)
  • Minimum of 16 gauge with ground
  • The cord and both ends (male and female) must be intact with no damage--fraying or exposed wiring
  • Only use extension cords or electrical cords in the same room/area (prohibited for use through walls, doorways, ceilings, floors or running under carpets)
  • Use of extension cords for permanent wiring (extension cords are for temporary use and must meet the specifications above; limit use to 90 days or less
  • Devices or extension cords that increase outlet capacity (only surge protectors with individual circuit breakers are authorized)

Storage

Storage is a necessity for day-to-day operations; however, improper storage and unauthorized storage creates a fire hazard and may violate fire code. All building occupants must observe and comply with the following in regards to storage:

  • Storage must be maintained in an orderly manner.
  • Loose storage must be kept off floors.
  • Loose papers, magazines, books, or files must be put into boxes, stored in filing cabinets, or stacked in an organized manner on shelves.
  • Excessive amounts of combustible materials, storage, or debris must not be permitted to accumulate in the building
  • Storage of any chemicals, flammables, combustibles (liquids, solids, or gases) must be approved by KREC Health & Safety Office.
  • Storage of any material must not obstruct an exit (see exit definition under Exit section), obstruct any fire protection equipment or devices, or obstruct the view of exit signs.
  • Ensure appropriate aisle width and head clearance is maintained
  • A minimum of 18 inches clearance from the deflector of a fire sprinkler head is maintained and a minimum of 24 inches from the ceiling of non-fire sprinkled buildings
  • Storage of Class I Liquids or any other materials that create a toxic or flammable hazard where the material's vapor density is heavier than air is prohibited in closed, un-vented rooms)
  • Combustible materials must be segregated from flammable and oxidizing materials. Any chemical, flammable, or combustible material must be separated and stored (when required) in approved cabinets.

Flammable and combustible liquids

Flammable and combustible liquids require special consideration for storage, handling, and dispensing. Some key issues important for compliance and protection to human health are as follows:

Spill control, drainage control, and secondary containment.

All buildings, rooms, and areas must provide a means to control spillage and to contain or drain spillage and fire-protection water in accordance with State and local regulations.

These four rules for indoor storage of flammable and combustible liquids in Educational and Institutional Occupancies have been established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • No more than 1 gallon of Class I liquids in a fire area. (Flash points below 73 degrees F (22.8 degrees C)
  • No more than 10 gallons of Class I and Class II combined in a single fire area. (Class II liquids shall include those having flash points at or above 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) and below 140 degrees F (60 degrees C).
  • No more than 25 gallons of Class I and Class II combined in a single fire area, in safety cans.
  • No more than 60 gallons of Class IIIA liquids. (Class IIIA liquids shall include those having flash points at or above 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) and below 200 degrees F (93 degrees C).

 

All Class I and II liquids require storage within an appropriate cabinet (flammable or combustible). Class III liquids may require storage within an appropriate cabinet (decision is based on the quantity, hazards within the area, type of occupancy, and factors involved with mixed occupancies).

Bonding and grounding

Static protection is necessary in order to prevent a fire or explosion from occurring. Bonding and grounding is a necessary precaution and required when dispensing any Class I, II, and III-A Liquids. The basic concept is ensuring that two or more items where a transfer of a liquid will occur must be connected to the ground and to each other.

 

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