ADOPTS WITH AMENDMENTS:

NFPA 1, 2015

Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
This chapter shall apply to the indoor and outdoor storage of materials representing the broad range of combustibles, including plastics, rubber tires, and roll paper.
Storage configurations shall include palletized storage, solid-piled storage, and storage in bin boxes, on shelves, or on racks.
Chapter 34 shall not apply to the following:
  1. Storage of commodities that, with their packaging and storage aids, would be classified as noncombustible
  2. Unpackaged bulk materials such as grain, coal, or similar commodities but excluding wood chips and sawdust, which are addressed in Chapter 31
  3. Inside or outside storage of commodities covered by this Code, except where specifically mentioned herein (e.g., pyroxylin plastics)
  4. Storage of high-hazard materials covered by this Code, except where specifically mentioned herein
  5. Storage on plastic shelves on racks
  6. *Miscellaneous tire storage
  7. Combustible fiber storage, which is covered in Chapter 45
Permits. Permits, where required, shall comply with Section 1.12.
Commodity classification and the corresponding protection requirements shall be determined based on the makeup of individual storage units (i.e., unit load, pallet load). [13:5.6.1.1.1]
When specific test data of commodity classification by a nationally recognized testing agency are available, the data shall be permitted to be used in determining classification of commodities. [13:5.6.1.1.2]
Protection requirements shall not be based on the overall commodity mix in a fire area. [13:5.6.1.2.1]
Unless the requirements of 34.2.3.3 or 34.2.3.4 are met, mixed commodity storage shall be protected by the requirements for the highest classified commodity and storage arrangement. [13:5.6.1.2.2]
The protection requirements for the lower commodity class shall be permitted to be utilized where all of the following are met:
  1. Up to 10 pallet loads of a higher hazard commodity, as described in 34.2.5 and 34.2.6, shall be permitted to be present in an area not exceeding 40,000 ft2 (3716 m2).
  2. The higher hazard commodity shall be randomly dispersed with no adjacent loads in any direction (including diagonally).
  3. Where the ceiling protection is based on Class 1 or Class II commodities, the allowable number of pallet loads for Class IV or Group A plastics shall be reduced to five. [13:5.6.1.2.3]
The protection requirements for the lower commodity class shall be permitted to be utilized in the area of lower commodity class, where the higher hazard material is confined to a designated area and the area is protected to the higher hazard in accordance with the requirements of this Code. [13:5.6.1.2.4]
When loads are palletized, the use of wood or metal pallets, or listed pallets equivalent to wood, shall be assumed in the classification of commodities. [13:5.6.2.1]
For Class I through Class IV commodities, when unreinforced polypropylene or unreinforced high-density polyethylene plastic pallets are used, the classification of the commodity unit shall be increased one class. [13.5.6.2.2]
Unreinforced polypropylene or unreinforced high-density polyethylene plastic pallets shall be marked with a permanent symbol to indicate that the pallet is unreinforced. [13:5.6.2.2.1]
For Class I through Class IV commodities, when reinforced polypropylene or reinforced high-density polyethylene plastic pallets are used, the classification of the commodity unit shall be increased two classes except for Class IV commodity, which shall be increased to a cartoned unexpanded Group A Plastic commodity. [13:5.6.2.3]
Pallets shall be assumed to be reinforced if no permanent marking or manufacturer's certification of nonreinforcement is provided. [13:5.6.2.3.1]
No increase in the commodity classification shall be required for Group A plastic commodities stored on plastic pallets. [13:5.6.2.4]
For ceiling-only sprinkler protection, the requirements of 34.2.4.2 and 34.2.4.3 shall not apply where plastic pallets are used and where the sprinkler system uses spray sprinklers with a minimum K-factor of 16.8 (240). [13:5.6.2.5]
The requirements of 34.2.4.2 through 34.2.4.7 shall not apply to nonwood pallets that have demonstrated a fire hazard that is equal to or less than wood pallets and are listed as such. [13:5.6.2.6]
For Class I through Class IV commodities stored on plastic pallets, when other than wood, metal, or polypropylene or high-density polyethylene plastic pallets are used, the classification of the commodity unit shall be determined by specific testing conducted by a national testing laboratory or shall be increased two classes. [13:5.6.2.7]
A Class I commodity shall be defined as a noncombustible product that meets one of the following criteria:
  1. Placed directly on wood pallets
  2. Placed in single-layer corrugated cartons, with or without single-thickness cardboard dividers, with or without pallets
  3. Shrink-wrapped or paper-wrapped as a unit load with or without pallets [13:5.6.3.1]
A Class II commodity shall be defined as a noncombustible product that is in slatted wooden crates, solid wood boxes, multiple-layered corrugated cartons, or equivalent combustible packaging material with or without pallets. [13:5.6.3.2]
A Class III commodity shall be defined as a product fashioned from wood, paper, natural fibers, or Group C plastics with or without cartons, boxes, or crates and with or without pallets. [13:5.6.3.3.1]
A Class III commodity shall be permitted to contain a limited amount (5 percent by weight or volume or less) of Group A or Group B plastics. [13:5.6.3.3.2]
A Class IV commodity shall be defined as a product, with or without pallets, that meets one of the following criteria:
  1. Constructed partially or totally of Group B plastics
  2. Consists of free-flowing Group A plastic materials
  3. Contains within itself or its packaging an appreciable amount (5 percent to 15 percent by weight or 5 percent to 25 percent by volume) of Group A plastics [13:5.6.3.4.1]
The remaining materials shall be permitted to be metal, wood, paper, natural or synthetic fibers, or Group B or Group C plastics. [13:5.6.3.4.2]
Plastics, elastomers, and rubber shall be classified as Group A, Group B, or Group C. [13:5.6.4]
Group A. The following materials shall be classified as Group A:
  1. ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer)
  2. Acetal (polyformaldehyde)
  3. Acrylic (polymethyl methacrylate)
  4. Butyl rubber
  5. EPDM (ethylene-propylene rubber)
  6. FRP (fiberglass-reinforced polyester)
  7. Natural rubber (if expanded)
  8. Nitrile-rubber (acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber)
  9. PET (thermoplastic polyester)
  10. Polybutadiene
  11. Polycarbonate
  12. Polyester elastomer
  13. Polyethylene
  14. Polypropylene
  15. Polystyrene
  16. Polyurethane
  17. PVC (polyvinyl chloride — highly plasticized, with plasticizer content greater than 20 percent) (rarely found)
  18. SAN (styrene acrylonitrile)
  19. SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) [13:5.6.4.1]
The following materials shall be classified as Group B:
  1. Cellulosics (cellulose acetate, cellulose acetate butyrate, ethyl cellulose)
  2. Chloroprene rubber
  3. Fluoroplastics (ECTFE — ethylene-chlorotrifluoro-ethylene copolymer; ETFE — ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer; FEP — fluorinated ethylene-propylene copolymer)
  4. Natural rubber (not expanded)
  5. Nylon (nylon 6, nylon 6/6)
  6. Silicone rubber [13:5.6.4.2]
The following materials shall be classified as Group C:
  1. Fluoroplastics (PCTFE — polychlorotrifluoroethylene; PTFE — polytetrafluoroethylene)
  2. Melamine (melamine formaldehyde)
  3. Phenolic
  4. PVC (polyvinyl chloride — flexible — PVCs with plasticizer content up to 20 percent)
  5. PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride)
  6. PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride)
  7. PVF (polyvinyl fluoride)
  8. Urea (urea formaldehyde) [13:5.6.4.3]
Group A plastics shall be further subdivided as either expanded or nonexpanded. [13:5.6.4.4]
If a cartoned commodity is more than 40 percent (by volume) expanded plastic, it shall be protected as a cartoned expanded plastic. [13:5.6.4.4.1]
Exposed commodities containing greater than 25 percent by volume expanded plastic shall be protected as an exposed expanded plastic. [13:5.6.4.4.2]
For the purposes of this Code, the classifications of paper described in 34.2.7.1 through 34.2.7.4 shall apply and shall be used to determine the sprinkler system design criteria. [13:5.6.5]
Heavyweight class shall be defined so as to include paperboard and paper stock having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of 20 lb (9.1 kg). [13:5.6.5.1]
Mediumweight class shall be defined so as to include all the broad range of papers having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of 10 lb to 20 lb (4.5 kg to 9.1 kg). [13:5.6.5.2]
Lightweight class shall be defined so as to include all papers having a basis weight [weight per 1000 ft2 (92.9 m2)] of less than 10 lb (4.5 kg). [13:5.6.5.3]
Tissue shall be defined so as to include the broad range of papers of characteristic gauzy texture, which, in some cases, are fairly transparent. [13:5.6.5.4.1]
For the purposes of this Code, tissue shall be defined as the soft, absorbent type, regardless of basis weight — specifically, crepe wadding and the sanitary class including facial tissue, paper napkins, bathroom tissue, and toweling. [13:5.6.5.4.2]
Buildings used for storage of materials that are stored and protected in accordance with this chapter shall be permitted to be of any of the types described in NFPA 220, Standard on Types of Building Construction.
Access shall be provided to all portions of the premises for fire-fighting purposes.
Protection outlined in this chapter shall apply to buildings with or without smoke and heat vents.
Protection outlined in this chapter shall apply to buildings with or without draft curtains.
Where local codes require smoke and heat vents in buildings protected by early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklers, the vents shall be manually operated or have an operating mechanism with a standard response fusible element rated not less than 360°F (182°C).
Any commodities that are hazardous in combination with each other shall be stored so they cannot come into contact with each other.
Safe floor loads shall not be exceeded.
Where storing water-absorbent commodities, normal floor loads shall be reduced to take into account the added weight of water that can be absorbed during firefighting operations.
The clearance between top of storage and sprinkler deflectors shall conform to NFPA 13.
If the commodity is stored above the lower chord of roof trusses, not less than 1 ft (0.3 m) of clear space shall be maintained to allow wetting of the truss, unless the truss is protected with 1-hour fireproofing.
Storage clearance from ducts shall be maintained in accordance with NFPA 91, Standard for Exhaust Systems for Air Conveying of Vapors, Gases, Mists, and Noncombustible Particulate Solids.
The clearance between stored materials and unit heaters, radiant space heaters, duct furnaces, and flues shall not be less than 3 ft (0.9 m) in all directions or shall be in accordance with the clearances shown on the approval agency label.
Clearance shall be maintained to lights or light fixtures to prevent ignition.
Clearance shall be maintained around the path of fire door travel to ensure the door's proper operation and inspection.
Operation and inspection clearance shall be maintained around fire-extinguishing and fire protection equipment.
For the storage of commodities that expand with the absorption of water, such as roll paper, wall aisles not less than 24 in. (0.6 m) wide shall be provided.
Aisles shall be maintained to retard the transfer of fire from one pile to another and to allow convenient access for fire fighting, salvage, and removal of storage.
Sprinkler systems installed in buildings used for storage shall be in accordance with Section 13.3.
High-expansion foam systems installed in addition to automatic sprinklers shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 11, Standard for Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam, except where modified by other requirements in this chapter.
High-expansion foam used to protect idle pallets shall have a fill time of not more than 4 minutes.
High-expansion foam systems shall be automatic in operation.
Detectors for high-expansion foam systems shall be listed and shall be installed at the ceiling at not more than one-half the listed spacing in accordance with NFPA 72.
Detection systems, concentrate pumps, generators, and other system components essential to the operation of the system shall have an approved standby power source.
Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided in accordance with Section 13.6, unless 34.5.3.1.2 applies.
Where 11/2 in. (38 mm) hose lines are available to reach all portions of areas with Class A fire loads, up to one-half of the portable fire extinguishers required by Section 13.6 shall be permitted to be omitted.
At locations without public hydrants, or where hydrants are not within 250 ft (75 m), private hydrants shall be installed in accordance with Section 13.5.
Arrangements shall be made to allow rapid entry into the premises by the municipal fire department, police department, or other authorized personnel in case of fire or other emergency.
Due to the unique nature of storage fires and the hazards associated with fighting such fires, facility emergency personnel shall be trained to have knowledge of the following:
  1. Pile and building collapse potential during fire-fighting and mop-up operations due to sprinkler water absorption, use of hose streams, and the undermining of piles by fire that is likely to cause material or piles to fall (especially roll tissue paper), resulting in injury
  2. Operation of sprinkler systems and water supply equipment
  3. Location of the controlling sprinkler valves so that the correct sprinkler system can be turned on or off as necessary
  4. Correct operation of emergency smoke and heat vent systems where they have been provided
  5. Use of material-handling equipment while sprinklers are operating to effect final extinguishment
  6. Procedure for summoning outside aid immediately in an emergency
  7. Maintenance of the security features of the premises
  8. Operation of foam systems, evacuation procedures, and safety precautions during all foam operations
A fire watch shall be maintained when the sprinkler system is not in service.
Automatic sprinkler systems and foam systems, where provided, shall have approved central station, auxiliary, remote station, or proprietary waterflow alarm service unless otherwise permitted by 34.5.5.1.1 or 34.5.5.1.2.
Local waterflow alarm service shall be permitted when recorded guard service also is provided.
Local waterflow alarm service shall be permitted where the storage facilities are occupied on a 24-hour basis.
Alarm service shall comply with NFPA 72.
Security service, where provided, shall comply with NFPA 601, Standard for Security Services in Fire Loss Prevention.
Power-operated industrial trucks and their use shall comply with NFPA 505, Fire Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Including Type Designations, Areas of Use, Conversions, Maintenance, and Operations.
Industrial trucks using liquefied petroleum gas (LP-Gas) or liquid fuel shall be refueled outside of the storage building at a location designated for the purpose.
Electrical equipment shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of Section 11.1.
Where welding or cutting operations are necessary, the requirements of Chapter 41 shall apply.
Welding, soldering, brazing, and cutting shall be permitted to be performed on building components or contents that cannot be removed, provided that no storage is located below and within 25 ft (7.6 m) of the working area and flameproof tarpaulins enclose the area.
During any of the operations identified in 34.6.3.2, all of the following shall apply:
  1. The sprinkler system shall be in service.
  2. Extinguishers suitable for Class A fires with a minimum rating of 2-Ashall be located in the working area.
  3. Where inside hose lines are available, charged and attended inside hose lines shall be located in the working area.
  4. A fire watch shall be maintained during the operations specified in 34.6.3.2 and for not less than 30 minutes following completion of open-flame operation.
Approved containers for rubbish and other trash materials shall be provided.
Rubbish, trash, and other waste material shall be disposed of at regular intervals.
Smoking shall be prohibited except in locations designated as smoking areas.
Signs that read "No Smoking" shall be posted in prohibited areas.
Fire walls, fire doors, and floors shall be maintained in functional condition at all times.
All water-based fire protection systems and the water supplies shall be inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25.
Refrigeration systems, if used, shall be in accordance with ASHRAE 15, Safety Code for Mechanical Refrigeration.
Where metal halide lighting is installed, it shall be selected, installed, and maintained such that catastrophic failure of the bulb shall not ignite materials below.
Section 34.7 shall apply to the indoor storage of normal combustibles (Class I through Class IV) and plastics that are stored on racks.
Fire protection of roof steel shall not be required when sprinkler systems are installed in accordance with Section 13.3.
Fire protection of steel building columns and vertical rack members that support the building shall not be required when ceiling sprinklers and in-rack sprinklers are installed in accordance with Section 13.3.
For sprinklered buildings with rack storage of over 15 ft (4.6 m) in height and only ceiling sprinklers installed, steel building columns within the rack structure and vertical rack members that support the building shall have a fire resistance rating not less than 1 hour, unless the installation meets the requirements of 16.1.4 of NFPA 13.
Rack configurations shall be approved.
Racks shall not be loaded beyond their design capacity.
Aisle widths and depth of racks shall be determined by material-handling methods.
The width of aisles shall be considered in the design of the protection system.
Aisle widths shall be maintained by either fixed rack structures or control in placement of portable racks.
Any decrease in aisle width shall require a review of the adequacy of the protection system.
Where high-expansion foam systems are installed, they shall be automatic in operation and shall be in accordance with NFPA 11, except when modified by 34.7.3.4.
When high-expansion foam systems are used in combination with ceiling sprinklers, in-rack sprinklers shall not be required.
Detectors shall be listed and shall be installed in one of the following configurations:
  1. At one-half listed linear spacing [e.g., 15 ft × 15 ft (4.6 m × 4.6 m) rather than 30 ft × 30 ft (9.1 m × 9.1 m)] when the following conditions exist:
    1. Detectors are installed at the ceiling only.
    2. The clearance from the top of storage does not exceed 10 ft (3 m).
    3. The height of storage does not exceed 25 ft (7.6 m).
  2. At the ceiling at listed spacing and on racks at alternate levels
  3. Where listed for rack storage installation and installed in accordance with ceiling detector listing to provide response within 1 minute after ignition using an ignition source equivalent to that used in a rack storage testing program
The following requirements shall apply to storage of Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV commodities, as classified in Section 34.2, up to and including 25 ft (7.6 m) in height:
  1. *When high-expansion foam systems are used without sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
  2. When high-expansion foam systems are used without sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 4 minutes for Class IV commodities.
  3. When high-expansion foam systems are used in combination with ceiling sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 7 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
  4. When high-expansion foam systems are used in combination with ceiling sprinklers, the submergence time shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class IV commodities.
The following requirements shall apply to storage of Class I, Class II, Class III, and Class IV commodities stored over 25 ft (7.6 m) high up to and including 35 ft (10.7 m) in height:
  1. Ceiling sprinklers shall be used in combination with the high-expansion foam system.
  2. The submergence time for the high-expansion foam shall be not more than 5 minutes for Class I, Class II, or Class III commodities.
  3. The submergence time for the high-expansion foam shall be not more than 4 minutes for Class IV commodities.
Section 34.8 shall apply to new facilities with indoor storage of usable tires and to existing facilities being converted to the indoor storage of usable tires.
Existing buildings storing rubber tires shall be exempted from complying with Section 34.8.
This section shall not apply to scrap tire storage.
Steel columns shall be protected as follows unless protected in accordance with 16.1.4 of NFPA 13:
  1. For storage exceeding 15 ft to 20 ft (4.6 m to 6 m) in height, columns shall have 1-hour fireproofing.
  2. For storage exceeding 20 ft (6 m) in height, columns shall have 2-hour fireproofing for the entire length of the column, including connections with other structural members.
Four-hour fire walls shall be provided between the tire warehouse and tire manufacturing areas.
Fire walls shall be designed in accordance with NFPA 221, Standard for High Challenge Fire Walls, Fire Walls, and Fire Barrier Walls.
Travel distance to exits shall be in accordance with NFPA 101.
Piles that are not adjacent to or located along a wall shall be not more than 50 ft (15 m) in width.
Tires stored adjacent to or along one wall shall not extend more than 25 ft (7.6 m) from the wall.
Where tires are stored on-tread, the dimension of the pile in the direction of the wheel hole shall be not more than 50 ft (15 m).
The width of the main aisles between piles shall be not less than 8 ft (2.4 m).
Storage clearance from roof structures shall be not less than 18 in. (470 mm) in all directions.
A clearance of not less than 24 in. (610 mm) shall be maintained around the path of fire door travel unless a barricade is provided.
Where protection in accordance with this chapter is provided, stored tires shall be segregated from other combustible storage by aisles not less than 8 ft (2.4 m) wide.
Section 34.9 shall apply to new facilities with indoor storage of roll paper, and to existing facilities being converted to the indoor storage of roll paper, except for the following types of roll paper:
  1. Waxed paper
  2. Synthetic paper
  3. Palletized roll paper storage other than that stored on a single floor pallet or raised floor platform
The protection outlined in Section 34.9 shall apply to buildings with or without fireproofing or other modes of steel protection, unless modified by the requirements of 34.4.2.2.
The floor load design shall take into account the added weight of water that could be absorbed by the commodity during fire-fighting operations.
Idle pallets shall be stored outside or in a separate building designated for pallet storage, unless permitted by 34.10.2.
Idle pallets shall be permitted to be stored in a building used for other storage or other purpose if the building is sprinklered in accordance with Section 13.3.
Idle pallets stored outside shall be stored in accordance with Table 34.10.3(a) and Table 34.10.3(b).

Table 34.10.3(a) Required Clearance Between Outside Idle Pallet Storage and Other Yard Storage

Pile Size Minimum Distance
ft m
Under 50 pallets 20 6
50—200 pallets 30 9
Over 200 pallets 50 15

Table 34.10.3(b) Required Clearance Between Outside Idle Pallet Storage and Building

Wall Construction Minimum Distance of Wall from Storage
Under 50 Pallets 50 to 200 Pallets Over 200 Pallets
ft m ft m ft m
Masonry with no openings 0 0 0 0 15 4.6
Masonry with wired glass in openings, outside sprinklers, and 1-hour doors 0 0 10 3 20 6
Masonry with wired or plain glass, outside sprinklers, and 3/4-hour doors 10 3 20 6 30 9
Wood or metal with outside sprinklers 10 3 20 6 30 9
Wood, metal, or other 20 6 30 9 50 15
Idle pallet stacks shall not exceed 15 ft (4.6 m) in height nor shall cover an area of greater than 400 ft2 (37 m2). Pallet stacks shall be arranged to form stable piles. A distance of not less than 8 ft (2.4 m) shall separate stacks. Piles shall be no closer than 8 ft (2.4 m) to any property line.
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