Protection Against Fire, Spread of Fire and Smoke


To ensure compliance with the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) as required by regulations promulgated by the State Fire Marshal, the following policies have been formally adopted by Lamar University.


Hallways must be kept free of obstructions and tripping hazards at all times that the building is occupied.  In general, chairs, tables, and office machines may not be placed in hallways, even temporarily.  In areas where corridors widen, and in other locations provided in the building design by the architect, items such as benches, constructed from materials with the required fire safety rating, may be placed.  If the item is easily movable, it will normally need to be secured to the wall or floor.  Vending machines may not be installed in such a way that they decrease the minimum width that exists in the pathway from any part of a building past the vending machine to the outside, or otherwise would constitute an obstruction.

Furniture and other items that are being declared surplus shall not be left in hallways.  If there is no suitable room in which to temporarily store such items, an appointment shall be made with Property Management to pick up the items from their existing  locations.  If replacement of large quantities of furniture is to occur while  the building is occupied, coordination with Property Management must be effected so that the surplus items may be removed without delay.

Cardboard boxes and other trash to be disposed off shall not be left in the hallways while that area of the building is occupied.  Such items may be placed outside office doors at the close of the working day in areas where doing so will not obstruct pathways to and from any classroom or other part of the building that is used after normal working hours.

The fire rating of the walls and finish in hallways shall not be compromised by attaching excessive amounts of paper to walls.  Administrative notices such as faculty office hours and reasonable amounts of course related materials may be attached adjacent to  offices.  Temporary paper directional signage may also be attached to walls in  hallways.  Longer term directional signage should be made of fire rated materials such as plastic.  Posting of other notices shall be restricted to bulletin boards provided for the purpose  Covering doors or parts of hallways with paper, posters or banners is not permitted.

Enclosed Stairwells

The Life Safety Code requires that doors from enclosed stairwells into any floor of a building be kept closed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.  In order to prevent such doors being forced open by the air pressure generated in a fire, such doors are now also required to latch closed.  Therefore, propping these doors open by any means is prohibited.  An exception in the code allows such doors to be held open magnetically in some locations provided they close and latch on activation of any fire alarm or smoke detector in the building.  Malfunctioning doors should be immediately reported to Facilities Management.

Prohibition of Storage in Enclosed Stairwells

The Life Safety Code prohibits storage of anything in enclosed stairwells.  Such stairwells must be kept clear and nothing may be left in them.

Doors required to be Self-closing

In general, doors that are  equipped with closers must be kept closed at all times.  This includes all doors from “assembly” occupancy areas – any area capable of holding 50 persons or more  – and also all doors into hallways in “high hazard” occupancy areas – areas where there are labs and workshops with hazardous materials present.

Use of Power  Strips, Surge Protectors and Extension Cords

A directive by the State Fire Marshal restricts the use of power strips, surge protectors and extension cords in University buildings.  All power strips and surge protectors must be rated for 20 amps or more or fitted with an internal circuit breaker to prevent  overloading of the protector and cord.  A power strip or surge protector may not  be plugged in to another power strip or surge protector, but only directly into a wall receptacle.  Extension cords may only be used temporarily, and must be  rated at 20 amps or more, or other steps taken to ensure the cord in not  overloaded.  Cords rates at less than 15 amps may not be used at all.  For other than temporary situations, additional electrical outlets must be installed, and equipment plugged directly into a receptacle.

Exit and Emergency Lights

The Life Safety Code requires that Exit signs be illuminated at all times.  Lights which are not illuminated and any emergency lighting systems indicating a malfunction must be reported immediately to Facilities Management.


Reviewed and Modified: 12/05/22