NCEF Resource List: Fire Safety in Schools and Universities
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Information on fire prevention and protection of school and university facilities, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

University Housing Fires (2007-2009) Adobe PDF
(U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, Topical Fire Report Series , Aug 2011)
Addresses the characteristics of university housing fires reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting Systems between 2007 and 2009; an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occurred in the United States each year. 12p

Fire Safety in Schools. Adobe PDF
(Manitoba Association of School Trustees (MAST), 2011)
Designed to reduce the number of potential fire incidents in schools, this covers fire prevention in laboratories, classrooms, gymnasiums, kitchen and home economics rooms, industrial arts, office and storage areas, halls and doorways, boilers and maintenance rooms. 3p.

Choosing School Control Panel Features: Simple as A, B, C.
Kessinger, Greg
(, Alpharetta, GA , Jul 2010)
Examines fire alarm technology at two typical schools. The first is a single-story elementary school, the second a college branch campus with three buildings. Wireless technology, networked panels, and the differences between a single- and multiple-building campuses are addressed. 4p.

General Fire Requirements: Self Inspection Checklist.
(State of New Jersey Dept. of Education, Trenton , Mar 2010)
Provides a 31-item checklist for fire safety in schools, in accordance with New Jersey regulations. The checklist covers access, storage, fire supression systems, decorations, and facility condition. 5p.

Explanation of 527 CMR 10.09 Governing School Work. Adobe PDF
(Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Public Safety, Dept. of Fire Services, Stow , 2010)
Summarizes Massachusetts' regulations governing the display of teaching materials, student work, artwork, etc. within schools as detailed in the State Fire Code. The State Fire Code applies to all schools, other than business training or vocational training, as long as they accommodate five or more persons for educational purposes through the 12th grade. 2p.

Frequently Asked Questions: School Decorations and Regulations. Adobe PDF
(Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Public Safety, Dept. of Fire Services, Stow , 2010)
Provides 20 questions and answers concerning classroom decorations and furnishings allowable under the Massachusetts fire and building codes. 3p.

References to Journal Articles

Inspecting Fire & Life Safety Systems
Halligan, Mike
College Planning and Management; , p51-54 ; Jun 2012
A fire alarm system and accessory components are, without doubt, a necessity for life safety. By monitoring the environment and noticing any changes potentially related to unsafe conditions, a fire alarm system alerts the occupants of a building that there is an "unusual" condition, and all people need to be aware of the condition and take steps to evacuate.

Basics of Atrium Smoke Control
Klote, John H.
ASHRAE Journal; , p36-46 ; Jun 2012
Discusses different design approaches to take in dealing with smoke in large-volume spaces.

School Fires: Causes and Prevention.
Dolan, Thomas G.
School Planning and Management; Oct 2011
Discusses national and local fire codes that have resulted in a dramatic decrease in school fires. Points to the three leading causes for school structure fires: incendiary or suspicious‚ 32 percent; cooking, 29 percent; and heating, nine percent. Describes fire prevention measures that take time and concerted effort, but are worth the cost compared to that of a fire.

Historic Preservation, Modern Fire Protection.
Fickes, Michael
College Planning and Management; , p26-28 ; Oct 2011
America's 2,500-plus college and university campuses comprise a treasure trove of historic buildings. Over the years, campus facility directors and campus architects have grown adept at maintaining these structures, often carrying out major adaptive-reuse renovations. Fire safety ranks as one of the most daunting challenges to successful adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

Beyond Automatic Sprinkler Systems.
Razwick, Jeff
College Planning and Management; v14 n7 , p44-47 ; Jul 2011
Discusses the reliability of fire sprinkler systems in buildings, and recommends fire-rated divisions between rooms and portions of buildings that will slow the spread of fire. Examples of aesthetically pleasing fire-rated partitioning materials are illustrated, and student behavior during fire emergencies is discussed.

Door Hardware: Code Considerations.
Westerkamp, Thomas
Maintenance Solutions; v19 n6 , p19,20 ; Jun 2011
Reviews highlights of major codes regarding door hardware, with particular attention to maintaining both fire safety and security, as well as compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Fire Plans.
Power, June
Journal of Access Services; v8 n1 , p37-41 ; Jan 2011
Many libraries have disaster recovery plans, but not all have prevention and action plans to prepare for an emergency in advance. This article presents the author's review of the prevention and action plans of several libraries: (1) Evergreen State College; (2) Interlochen Public Library; (3) University of Maryland, Baltimore-Marshall Law Library; (4) University of North Carolina Wilmington Randall Library; (5) Vanderbilt Central Library; (6) Bay County Library System; (7) Wayne State Universities Library; (8) Central University Libraries-Fondren Library Center; and (9) University of Southampton.

Form and Function.
Razwick, Jeff
Doors and Hardware; v74 n12 , p10-12 ; Dec 2010
Discusses recent advances in glass technology that allow more extensive use of glass for daylighting and security, but offer fire resistance as well.

Safe Passage Out: Lessons in Life Safety Equipment.
Kollie, Ellen
School Planning and Management; v49 n10 , p70,72,73,74 ; Oct 2010
Emphasizes meeting and exceeding codes where egress from schools is concerned. Working with fire and police professionals and equipment selection is also addressed.

A Drop of Prevention. [Fire Sprinkler System Retrofits]
Millan, Naomi
Building Operating Management; v57 n7 , p31,32,34 ; Jul 2010
Describes advances in fire sprinkler technology that makes retrofitting a building easier, typical costs and benefits of retrofitting, code and plumbing requirements, and integration of sprinklers with existing safety systems.

Earth, Wind, and Fire: Managing Risk in Today's Schools, Part 1: Fire!
Weeks, Richard
School Business Affairs; v76 n5 , p32,34,35 ; Jun 2010
Reviews statistics on the sources and history of school fires, and discusses school-wide responsibility for fire vigilance. Maintenance of fire suppression system and cafeteria-based fires are also addressed. Four references are included.

What You Don't Know.
Fickes, Michael
School Planning and Management; v49 n5 , p44,46-48 ; May 2010
Alerts readers that fire marshals and inspectors are more vigilant in testing theatre or auditorium fire curtains, smoke vents, and stage curtains. New products, codes and inspection standards are listed.

Compatibility, Reliability, and Code Compliance.
Moore, Wayne
College Planning and Management; v13 n5 , p35,36,38,40 ; May 2010
Provides a set of guidelines for evaluating existing fire alarm systems and proceedes through the decision-making process to manage maintenance and upgrades compliant with National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

How Safe is Safe?
Razwick, Jeff
American School and University; v82 n10 , p30-33 ; May 2010
Describes need for both active fire prevention (sprinkler systems) and passive fire prevention (flame retardant building materials). The article further describes a school's unique needs for preparing students to exit a building in the case of a fire. It gives the example that too many fire drills result in students taking the sound of an alarm less seriously.

Fighting Fire with Forthought.
Musynski, Lacey
Building Operating Management; v57 n4 , p35,36,38 ; Apr 2010
Advises on proper planning and rehearsal for building fire emergencies, noting that every building must have a plan that accounts for its unique features and occupants, and that it is properly rehearsed. Regular maintenance and testing of fire safety systems is also discussed.

An Automatic Solution for Door Closing Force/ADA Conflicts.
Barth, Chuck
Doors and Hardware; v74 n3 , p16-18 ; Mar 2010
Discusses the use of automatic door operators when standards for closing force and standards for openability cannot be resolved. Conflicts between ANSI, ADA, and Fire safety codes are discussed, as are varying state requirements.

Fire Pumps: Time to Change NFPA 25 Weekly Churn Testing.
Saidi, John; Davis, Richard
Facilities Manager; v26 n2 , p34-37 ; Mar-Apr 2010
Reviews recent developments with the National Fire Protection Association?s NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. Advantages and disadvantages of frequent testing are discussed, and less frequent testing is currently advocated.

Lab Fire Extinguishers: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?
Science Teacher; v77 n1 , p10-11 ; Jan 2010
When renovations or new construction occur, fire extinguishers sometimes get lost in the mix. Unfortunately, whether to save money or because the fire code is misinterpreted, some schools do not install fire extinguishers in laboratories and other areas of the building. If flammables are present, the fire code requires the presence of fire extinguishers--even if other fire-suppression equipment, such as a sprinkler system, is available. This helps science teachers apply prudent professional and legal practices when working with combustible and flammable materials. (Contains 1 figure and 3 online resources.)

The Key to Door Closers.
Jeynes, Roger
Construction Specifier; v63 n1 , p44--49 ; Jan 2010
Advises on the selection of door closers, considering firm closure for security and fire safety, but also resistance low enough to pass accessibility requirements, where necessary. Applicable codes and accessibility tests are cited.

Fire Safety: Checklist for Success.
Ray, Lanny
Maintenance Solutions; v18 n1 , p16 ; Jan 2010
Discusses fire safety inspection, testing, maintenance, record-keeping, and typical trouble spots.

Fire Protection: A Three-Layered Approach.
Razwick, Jeff
American School and Hospital Facility; v33 n1 , p14,16,17 ; Jan-Feb 2010
Describes a "three-layered" approach to fire safety that includes detection, suppression, and building compartmentation. Fire-rated glazing is also discussed.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).