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Codes and Standards for Schools

Code Outlines

Plan Ahead

Develop plans that indicate the primary and secondary routes for evacuation, locations of portable fire extinguishers and manual fire alarm pull stations, and the locations of assembly areas outside the building. If the building has elevators, instructions should state clearly that they are not to be used.

Maintain Escape Routes

Monitor and maintain escape routes: keep them clear of obstructions; do not block, bar, or chain doors. Exit doors must be unlocked when the building is occupied. Flammable materials should not be stored near or within any part of the building used as an escape route.

Account for all Students

Develop guidelines for safe, quick, and efficient evacuation. Develop a protocol to account for all students. Alert the fire department if someone is unaccounted for and report where they were last seen.

Consider Needs of Students with Disabilities

Develop special provisions for persons with disabilities.

Communicate with Families

Develop a protocol for communicating with families.

Report Every Fire, Every Time, Any Size, Anywhere

Report Every Fire, Every Time, Any Size, Anywhere is a law designed to help fire districts work with their local school districts to ensure the reporting of all school fires. Law requires that all fires in or on school property be reported, regardless of the size of the fire.

Displays for Classrooms and Hallways

  • Paper materials such as artwork and decorations should be secured flat against the wall or bulletin board.
  • Limit displays to 40 square feet with three feet between displays.
  • Displays cannot cover more than 20% of a hallway wall area.
  • Classroom doors cannot be covered with paper.
  • Materials suspended from the ceiling must hang at least 24 inches below the ceiling and be at least 18 inches from fire sprinkler heads.
  • Items suspended cannot hang low enough to interfere with exiting.
  • Ceilings cannot be covered with flammable materials (e.g. paper).

Classroom Projects Involving Animals

Lights or heating devices must be UL® approved (a ‘heat lamp’ clamped to a cage or terrarium is not acceptable).

Recycle Materials

Limit the quantity of materials to a 24 x 32 inch space (about the size of two milk crates) per classroom. Keep materials neat and remove them routinely.

Extension Cords

  • Use UL® approved power strips with circuit breakers.
  • Plug power strips directly into wall outlets.
  • Use extension cords only with portable appliances.
  • Do not use extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.

Exit Corridors

Does not use exit hallways or corridors for storage or instructional purposes (no tables, desks, or chairs).


Use appropriate storage cabinets. Keep accumulated materials to a minimum. Materials provide fuel for fire.

Special Circumstances

  • Special events, holiday activities, and items such as upholstered furniture may require guidance from your local fire department or deputy state fire marshal.
  • Keep materials neat and remove them routinely.

Use of Fire

Matches, lighters, & other open flames do not belong in the classroom. Live fire demonstrations are prohibited except in properly equipped and designated science rooms. Using special effects involving fire requires permission from a fire marshal.

Electrical Appliances

  • Appliances must be UL® approved for use and application.
  • Unplug small heat producing appliances when not in use.
  • Coffee pots, microwave ovens, and cup warmers are discouraged for classroom use.