Health & Safety
All of our schools are protected by fully automatic sprinkler and alarm systems. ISD 279 has established a program for the regular inspection and maintenance of fire protection equipment.
Ceiling Openings and Penetrations
All ceiling tiles and access panels must be maintained in place for the fire detection system to work properly. Penetrations in the ceiling will allow smoke and heat to rise above the sprinkler heads and smoke detectors, which may delay activation of the system.
Combustible Materials on Walls
Paper, fabric and other combustible materials cannot cover or obstruct exit doors. Paper, fabric and combustible materials may not exceed 20 percent of the wall surface in corridors.
Extension cords can not be used in lieu of permanent wiring and may never be affixed to walls, placed through doorways or passed through a hole in a wall or ceiling. Grounded extension cords can be used for overhead projectors and other non-fixed mobile equipment on a temporary basis.
U.L. approved power strips can be used if they are grounded, fused, and plugged directly into an electrical outlet. They can not be plugged into another power strip (daisy chained). The length of the power strip cord must not exceed 15 feet. Residential type, low gauge extension cords and multi-plug adapters are not allowed.
Appliances labeled “Household Use Only” are not allowed. Personal appliances are not allowed in classrooms or offices. This includes coffee makers, toasters, heaters, hot plates, microwaves, etc. Radios, clocks, desk lamps and personal fans are acceptable. Unprotected halogen floor lamps are not allowed.
Electrical Breaker Boxes
Breaker boxes in areas accessible by students should remain locked. Breakers should be labeled as to their use and must not be taped so that they won't be able to trip as required. If a circuit breaker must be locked out for equipment service, follow the procedures outlined in ISD 279’s written Lock-out/Tag-out Plan.
Electrical Outlets and Switches
All electrical outlets and switches must have cover plates. Junction boxes must also be covered. Electrical outlets in areas serving infants and toddlers should be protected with child-proof plugs or covers.
A 30 inch path must be maintained to electrical panels, the main fire sprinkler valve, fire extinguishers, fire alarm pull stations and other emergency equipment.
Exits and Exit Corridors
Building exits, room exit doors and exit corridors must be kept unobstructed at all times. Violations are commonly issued because exits are obstructed with equipment, furniture, and other storage items.
Exit Signs and Emergency Lights
Illuminated exit signs must be operational and unobstructed at all times. Emergency lighting is tested once a month to ensure that it will function during an emergency.
Fire doors, fitted with automatic closures, are an important feature in a building's fire protection construction. Fire doors serve as barriers, preventing smoke and fire penetration from one part of the building to another. To do their job, fire doors must be kept closed. Fire doors may be kept in the open position only if they are equipped with magnetic release or smoke actuated closing devices. Violations are frequently issued because fire doors are propped open with kick downs, wedges, rocks, flower pots, chairs and other obstructions.
Fire extinguishers are required by the Fire Code in certain areas. Only individuals who have been properly trained are allowed to use them. As a general rule, we do not expect any of our employees to fight fires. Our first priority is the safety of the students. If you observe a fire, activate the alarm system and evacuate the building. Let the sprinkler system put out the fire.
Fire Resistivity of Stage Curtains and Draperies
Documentation must be available to verify that stage curtains and draperies have been treated with an approved flame retardant.
Flammable liquids must be stored in an approved flammable liquid storage cabinet when not in use. Gas powered equipment should only be stored in areas designed for that purpose.
All furniture must be purchased through or approved by ISD 279. Couches and overstuffed chairs are not permitted in classrooms due to the increased fire hazard. Beanbag chairs are only allowed in limited numbers. They must be in good condition (no rips or holes) and have a manufacturer’s tag verifying that they meet California flammability requirements.
Holiday lighting and decorations are only allowed on a temporary basis (approximately 2 weeks). Light cords or extension cords must never be run through doors, walls or ceilings.
Artificial trees must be treated with a flame retardant. The use of live trees is strongly discouraged, as they tend to dry out and create a fire hazard. If live trees are used, electric lights cannot be applied directly on the tree.
Large displays of combustible items such as hay bales and corn stalks are not allowed unless they have been treated with a fire retardant. Candles are only allowed under certain conditions. Check with the local fire department prior to any activity involving an open flame or smoke generating equipment.
Sprinkler Head Obstructions
Materials that could interfere with the fire sprinkler system shall not be displayed from the ceiling. Nothing should be suspended from or attached to sprinkler system piping or sprinkler heads. As a general rule, no storage should be placed above a horizontal plane 18 inches below sprinkler heads.
Welding (Hot Work)
ISD 279 has established written procedures for welding and other “hot work”. For example, combustible items in the area must be moved or protected prior to commencement of work. Check with the Building Engineer prior to any welding, soldering, grinding or other “hot work” that needs to be done outside of a shop that is designed for that purpose.
Resources (Employees Only - Intranet Log-in Required)
Welding (Hot Work) Program
MN State Fire Marshal
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Dean E. Olsen, CSP
Health & Safety Coordinator