• The Iroquois Theatre: Fire “claimed the lives of 602 people, two-thirds of them women and children, on the afternoon of December 30, 1903.”1 Overcrowding, locked exits, inwardopening exit doors, and unfinished fire protection features all contributed to the tragedy.
• The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub: On the night of November 28, 1942, 492 persons lost their lives after fire swept through flammable decorations and trapped overcrowded occupants
behind inadequate, locked or blocked exits.
• The Beverly Hills Supper Club: Locked or blocked exits; incompatible wiring; and an overcrowded, maze-like interior led to the deaths of 164 persons on the evening of May 28, 1977.
• The Happy Land Social Club: An arson fire set in a jealous rage killed 87 club goers on the night of March 25, 1990. Barred windows, overcrowding, and a single exit prevented
patrons from escaping the deadly fire.
• The E2 Club: Panicked club goers, fleeing pepper spray used to break up a fight, stampeded down a steep, narrow stairwell, crushing 21 people to death in the rush. Locked, blocked, and inadequate exits were critical factors in the deaths.
• The Station Nightclub: Pyrotechnics from a band performance ignited flammable decorations at an overcrowded concert, causing a stampede toward an inadequate main exit, resulting in the deaths of 100 persons on February 20, 2003.
The above incidents span more than 100 years, yet the central theme of these needless deaths remains the same: inadequate exits. Whether exits are locked, blocked, or not present in sufficient number for the building, inadequate exits have probably contributed to more nonresidential fire deaths than any other single factor. Yet, large portions of every major
model code address exits and their maintenance. If exits are such
an important part of the model building and fire codes, why do
we continue to have fatalities behind inadequate exits? The answer is a lack of code enforcement. Code enforcement converts a building or fire code from just another government regulation into a force for life safety. Without trained and knowledgeable
personnel out in the field performing inspections, issuing permits, and generally improving the fire safety in their communities, these tragedies will continue to happen.
The International Fire Code, the International Residential Code, and the International Building Code, 2015 editions, published by the International Code Council, Inc.
NFPA 101, Life Safety Code (2015 Edition)
The list of items on the Self-Fire Inspection Form is intended to cover the most common items/hazards we encounter while performing fire inspections in low hazard occupancies. It is not intended to be all comprehensive or replace specific code requirements not addressed on the form.
* Occupancy Name
* Address Number
* Business Phone Number
* Street Name
* Email Address
Emergency Contact Names & Phone Numbers
(After-hours Responsible Parties to be contacted by Dispatch if necessary)
* Emergency Contact #1 Name
* Emergency Contact #1 Phone #
Emergency Contact #2 Name
Emergency Contact #2 Phone #
Emergency Contact #3 Name
Emergency Contact #3 Phone #
Access & Premises
* Is the exterior fire department access road unobstructed?
* Is there maintained a minimum 3' clearance around fire hydrants?
* Are address numbers for the building clearly visible from the street?
* Is combustible vegetation removed so as to not create a fire hazard?
* Knoxbox installed and has updated keys inside?
* Are doors with self-closing hinges maintained in the closed position (not blocked open)?
* Are the exitways and doors easily recognizable, unobstructed, and maintained functional?
* If the main exit door is provided with key-locking hardware as allowed by code, is there a sign above the door that states "THIS DOOR MUST REMAIN UNLOCKED WHEN BUILDING IS OCCUPIED" and are the other exit doors openable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort?
* Are the other required exit doors readily openable from the inside without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort?
* Are the exits and exit enclosures free from the storage of combustible materials?
* Is the means of egress illuminated when the building or structure is occupied?
* In residential occupancies, are emergency escape or rescue windows, doors or window wells required by the Building Code for sleeping rooms maintained openable and free from any obstruction that would inhibit the occupant from escaping?
* Are all electrical outlets, switches and junction boxes properly covered with cover plates and is the electrical system safe from any apparent shock and/or other electrical hazards?
* Are circuit breakers/fuses labeled so as to identify the area protected?
* Is the area maintained clear at least 30" in front of electrical panel(s)?
* Are extension cord(s) of heavy duty construction, maintained in good condition, and only used as temporary wiring, or to service small portable appliances?
* Are extension cord(s) grounded when serving grounded appliances?
* Are extension cord(s) plugged directly into an approved outlet, power tap or multi-plug adapter and, except for approved multi-plug extension cord(s), serve only 1 portable appliance?
* Is the ampacity of the extension cord(s) greater than the rated capacity of the portable appliance supplied by the cord(s)?
* Are extension cords used only for temporary use?
* If multiple items need to be plugged in, is a power tap utilized with a built-in circuit breaker and is the power tap plugged directly into a permanently installed receptacle?
Emergency Lighting/Egress Illumination
* Emergency lighting is provided, is it maintained in operable condition?
* Exit signs are required, are they maintained illuminated or self-luminous?
* Does the backup-battery work (push the test button and the exit sign should illuminate under battery power)?
Fire Alarm System
* If the building is equipped with a fire alarm system, has the required annual service of the fire alarm system been performed by a qualified fire alarm company?
* Is there access to fire extinguisher(s) rated at a minimum 2A-10BC?
* Have the fire extinguisher(s) been serviced and tagged by a fire extinguisher company within the last 12 months?
* Is the travel distance from all portions of the building less than 75’ to a fire extinguisher?
* Are all fire extinguishers visible and accessible (not blocked)?
* Are the fire extinguisher(s) properly mounted?
(Proper locations-near exit doors where possible, not exceeding maximum travel distance, properly mounted (maximum 5’ high if <40 lbs., maximum 3 ½’ high if >40 lbs. In all cases, minimum 4” above the ground).
Fire Safety & Evacuation Plans
* If required, are Evacuation Plans posted?
* If required, do you have Fire Safety Plans?
* If fire drills are required, are they conducted successfully at varying times and under varying conditions and are records maintained on the premises?
* Are the fire/smoke separations (automatic smoke doors, fire doors, etc.) maintained and in working condition?
Fire Suppression Systems
* If the building is equipped with a fire sprinkler system, has the required annual service of the fire sprinkler system been performed in the last year by a qualified sprinkler company?
* Is the top of storage maintained a minimum 18” below head deflectors in fire sprinklered areas?
* In commercial cooking applications, has the hood suppression system been serviced in the last six months and is the hood cleaned at intervals to prevent the accumulation of grease?
Heat Producing Appliances
* If portable electric heaters are used, are they used safely? Also, are they plugged directly into wall outlets and kept a minimum of 3' away from combustibles?
(Open flame unvented heaters are prohibited for use in a commercial occupancy).
* Is the clearance between ignition sources, such as light fixtures, heaters, and flame producing devices, and combustible storage maintained in an approved manner?
Housekeeping & Decorations
* Is combustible rubbish that is stored in containers outside of vaults or rooms removed from the building a minimum of once each working day?
* Are oily rags or similar materials stored in metal, metal-lined or other approved containers equipped with tight-fitting covers?
* Are combustible decorations flame retardant?
* Is the venting for exhaust products of combustion in tact for gas appliances (like water heaters, furnaces, etc.)?
* Are safe clearances maintained between gas fired appliances (such as water heaters, furnaces, etc.) and combustible materials?
Smoke Detection \ CO Alarms
Do you smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms on each level?
* Smoke detection is required in common areas such as corridors or part of the fire alarm system, have they been tested in the last year by a qualified service company?
Storage of Combustibles
* Is the storage of combustible materials orderly?
* Are combustible materials not stored beneath the stairs?
* Are the boiler rooms, mechanical rooms and electrical panel rooms maintained without the storage of any combustible materials within?
* Are rubbish containers over 5 1/3 cubic feet (40 gallons) provided with lids and made of noncombustible construction?
* Are dumpsters that are 1.5 cubic yards or more not stored inside the building and placed more than 5’ from combustible walls, openings or combustible roof eave lines?
Storage, Compressed Gas Cylinders
* If you have compressed gas containers (such as co2, helium, etc.), are they chained to prevent falling?
Storage of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
* Are quantities in excess of 10 gallons of flammable and combustible liquids used for maintenance purposes and the operation of equipment stored in liquid storage cabinets?
Storage of Hazardous Materials
*Do you have quantities of hazardous materials stored?
Life Safety Code
PART 100 UPDATE FACT SHEET
Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal
1035 Stevenson Dr., Springfield, IL 62703 - (217)785-0969 - www.sfm.illinois.gov
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is updating from the outdated NFPA 101, Life
Safety Code: 2000 Edition to the 2015 edition to benefit residents with new methods,
technologies, and refined life safety‐related requirements.
What is the Life Safety Code?
Sometimes called the state fire code, the Life Safety Code is really an “exit code”, developed
by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and intended to allow occupants time to
exit a building during an emergency. In most areas, the OSFM-adopted code edition serves as
the state’s minimum fire safety standard.
Why is the OSFM updating the Life Safety Code?
The NFPA 101, Life Safety Code: 2000 Edition, adopted in 2002 and still currently used by
the OSFM, is outdated.
The 2000 edition relies on technology available during its development nearly 20 years ago
and cross-references similarly outdated editions of other fire protection‐related codes and
Using an outdated edition may negatively impact the design and construction of new
buildings by holding them back from advancements in technology and safety over the last
In contrast, the 2015 edition incorporates new methods, technologies, and knowledge
gained from real-world experiences. It also references updated standards for the design
and installation of important building systems and equipment that are more in line with
contemporary business practices.
What’s the same with this update?
Many of the requirements for existing occupancies remain the same between editions, so
many existing buildings will see few, if any, changes.
Fire sprinklers for one and two-family homes will remain a recommendation at the state
level. Individual homeowners and communities will continue to make the choice whether
to require home fire sprinklers for themselves.
The fire sprinkler requirements for existing high-rise buildings and existing assembly
occupancies, which have been in effect since 2002, would continue to be used in lieu of
those found in the 2015 edition.
What’s different with this update?
With the adoption of the 2015 edition, the OSFM is also adopting additional modifications to
make compliance with certain code requirements easier. Although a fact sheet cannot cover
all possible changes for every occupancy addressed by the code, some of the changes that
Illinoisans will see with this update include:
Local Municipal Compliance
The update establishes a process for determining municipal fire prevention and safety code equivalence to
help simplify local code enforcement. Compliance with the OSFM-adopted code will still be required in
state buildings, state licensed facilities, and other occupancies under the purview of the OSFM.
All occupancies, except schools under the codes and rules of the Illinois State Board of
Education, will be given guidance and be permitted to use door locking to help control
unwanted entry. This allows buildings to provide additional security measures while maintaining
New options for locking arrangements allow group homes to deter runaways without meeting
stricter requirements of a detention and correctional occupancy.
Newly built structures, typically those locations designed to hold large numbers of occupants, built after
the effective date will now have amended requirements for fire sprinklers. This life-saving technology can
offer new buildings significant flexibility during initial design and construction.
New night club occupancies will now be required to have fire sprinklers, regardless of size and
New places of worship with more than 300 occupants will now be required to have fire
Redefining “Story Level”
Many occupancies will be permitted to use an alternative definition for “story level” to increase flexibility
to comply with the code.
Residential Board and Care Facilities
Both new and existing Residential Board and Care Facilities with fire sprinkler systems already
in place will be required to extend the system into attic spaces, unless the location meets
conditions for the use of a heat detection alternative.
Residential Board and Care Facilities with occupants having an “impractical” evacuation
capability will also require fire sprinklers. This provides enhanced protection and greatly
increases the chance of survival for individuals who are unlikely to be able to evacuate in the
event of a fire.
Qualified historic structures may elect to comply with NFPA 914, Code for Fire Protection in Historic
Structures: 2010 Edition.
New high-rises are required to have equipment to assist with fire department operations. Additionally,
new high-rises with an occupant load over 4,000 must also install video monitoring in stairways.
Apartment buildings may find flexibility in meeting life safety requirements by utilizing NFPA 101A, Guide
on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety: 2016 Edition.
Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal