Common Code Violations

The UMB Office of the Fire Marshal is responsible for enforcing the State of Maryland Fire Prevention Code. The Fire Prevention Code exists to minimize the chance of fire and to keep occupants safe. By being aware of these common fire and life safety code violations and by fixing issues that you discover, you can help make the campus a safer place.

Fire Door Propped Open

A fire rated door propped open.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

Fire doors prevent the spread of fire from one area to another. Doors serving stairwells, laboratories, and mechanical spaces are typically fire rated doors and should always be kept closed. Remove door props and wedges so that fire doors are always kept latched and closed.


Obstructed Life Safety Equipment

A manual pull station obstructed by boxes.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

Life safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, manual pull stations, and AEDs are required to be visible and accessible so that they can quickly be found and used in the event of an emergency. Ensure the floor space around life safety equipment is always kept free from storage.

Daisy Chained Power Strips

Two power strips daisy changed together.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

“Daisy chaining” is when one power strip is plugged directly into another power strip. Power strips are required to be plugged directly into a wall outlet so that the outlet and power strips do not become overloaded. If additional wall outlets are needed, please submit an Operations and Maintenance Work Request.

Extension Cord in Use

An extension cord connected to a coffee maker.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

Extension cords are only permitted to be used for a temporary basis and are not permitted to be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. Code defines temporary basis as 90 days. If outlets are not present in a location where power is needed, please submit an Operations and Maintenance Work Request.

Unsecure Compressed Gas Cylinder

An unsecure compressed gas cylinder.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

Compressed gas cylinders are required to be secured to prevent tipping over, which is commonly done via wall brackets, a bench top clamp, or a cart. Unsecure cylinders can become a projectile or act like a missile if tipped over, and could cause an explosion depending on the contents of the cylinder. Ensure all compressed gas cylinders are always kept properly secured.

Storage Within 18 Inches of Sprinkler

Storage located within 18 inches of the sprinkler system.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section

A clear space of at least 18 inches is required between the top of storage and the ceiling so that sprinklers can perform correctly. Storage within 18 inches of the ceiling impacts the sprinklers’ ability to spray water and control/extinguish fires. Ensure the space around sprinklers is kept clear and that storage throughout the room is not within 18 inches of the ceiling.

Obstructed Means of Egress

A table blocking a door marked as an exit.

Code Reference: NFPA 1 Section 14.4.1

The means of egress is the path of travel from any point within a building to a public way, which includes all hallways, corridors, stairwells, and exit doors. A clear and unobstructed means of egress is required so that occupants can safely evacuate the building in the event of an emergency. Relocate any items from the means of egress into an interior space. Corridor storage may be permitted if at least 44 inches of clear width is provided. Absolutely no storage is permitted in stairwells. Do not block exit doors.

Flammables Stored Outside a Cabinet

Flammable chemicals sitting on top of a flammable storage cabinet.

Code Reference: NFPA 45 Section

When not in use, flammable chemicals are required to be kept in flammable storage cabinets. Flammable storage cabinets are designed to prevent fires located outside the cabinet from igniting chemicals within the cabinet. If improperly stored, a more dangerous fire will occur with the presence of flammable chemicals. Ensure flammable are always stored in flammable storage cabinets with closed and latched cabinet doors.