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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 36

Fire Safety

Instruction: Chapter 36 is revised to include the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard, 29 CFR 1910.39, and to include training and inspection requirements for fire extinguishers.

1. Purpose. To specify the minimum Occupational Safety and Health Program (Program) requirements for protecting Department of the Interior (Department or DOI), U.S. Geological Survey (Bureau or USGS), and public property and persons from the adverse effects of fires.

2. References.

A. 29 CFR 1910.39 Fire Prevention Plans and Subpart L Fire Protection (1910.155, 1910.156, 1910.157, 1910.158, 1910.159, 1910.160, 1910.161, 1910.162, 1910.163, 1910.164

B. National Fire Codes (NFPA 1 Uniform Fire Code and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code)

C. 1997 Uniform Building Code.

D. 41 CFR 102-74 Facility Management

3. USGS Requirements.

A. Establish written fire prevention and protection requirements that:

(1) Provide for accidental fires and related fire losses to be minimized, if not eliminated. The written fire prevention and protection plan, which may be included in the Occupant Emergency Plan, should include:

(a) A list of all major fire hazards, proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials, potential ignition sources and their control, and the type of fire protection equipment necessary to control each major hazard;

(b) Procedures to control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials;

(c) Procedures for regular maintenance of safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment to prevent the accidental ignition of combustible materials;

(d) The name or job title of employees responsible for maintaining equipment to prevent or control sources of ignition or fires; and

(e) The name or job title of employees responsible for the control of fuel source hazards.

(2) Provide for fires to be promptly detected, reported, controlled, extinguished, and investigated.

(3) Establish abatement procedures.

(4) Provide for the safe evacuation of building occupants through the establishment, maintenance, and implementation and annual updating of Occupant Emergency Plans.

(5) The USGS will abide by the requirements contained in 41 CFR 102-74. In those General Services Administration (GSA)-leased buildings where USGS is the major tenant, then the USGS will have the responsibility to prepare the required Occupant Emergency Plans. In those GSA-leased buildings where USGS is not the major tenant or lead agency, USGS will assist the lead agency in completion of the required plan.

(6) Participate in at least one fire drill per year.

(7) Keep all exits, accesses to exits and accesses to emergency equipment clear at all times.

(8) Prohibit hazardous, explosive or combustible materials in buildings unless authorized by appropriate agency officials and by GSA unless protective arrangements determined necessary by GSA have been provided.

(9) Ensure that all draperies, curtains or other hanging materials are of non-combustible or flame-resistant fabric and that freestanding partitions and space dividers are limited combustible, and their fabric coverings are flame resistant.

B. Inspection and Testing.

1. Require fire detection and suppression systems/equipment to be inspected at least annually by qualified persons and maintained in safe operating condition.

(a) In GSA-leased space, this requirement is part of the lease and is the responsibility of the building owner.

(b) In USGS space, this requirement is the responsibility of management in charge of the specific facility.

2. Require portable extinguishers be visually inspected monthly

3. Require portable fire extinguishers be subjected to an annual maintenance check. Stored pressure extinguishers do not require an internal examination. Prepare a written record of the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell, whichever is less.

4. Require portable extinguishers be hydrostatically tested at the intervals listed in Table L-1 of 29 CFR 1910.157 or whenever they show new evidence of corrosion or mechanical injury. Portable extinguishers are not to be hydrostatically tested

(a) When the unit has been repaired by soldering, welding, brazing, or use of patching compounds;

(b) When the cylinder or shell threads are damaged;

(c) When there is corrosion that has caused pitting, including corrosion under removable name plate assemblies;

(d) When the extinguisher has been burned in a fire; or

(e) When a calcium chloride extinguishing agent has been used in a stainless steel shell.

C. Require preoccupancy and periodic inspections to be performed as covered in the Department of the Interior Part 485 of the Department Manual Chapter 6.

D. Train personnel in the fire hazards to which they are exposed, those parts of the fire prevention plan necessary for self-protection, the basics of fire prevention, fire extinguisher use, emergency response, and Occupant Emergency Plan procedures.

(1) Special training will be provided for fire brigade members as necessary to enable them to safely execute their assigned duties. When USGS organizational units elect to assign personnel to a fire brigade, this decision will be coordinated with the Regional Safety Officer and Regional Safety Manager, as applicable. If such a unit is formed, it will conform to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.156, Fire Brigades.

(2) Employees that are expected to use fire extinguishers must be trained in their use upon initial assignment and at least annually.

E. Use the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 101 as the minimum criteria for life safety features in occupied USGS space, unless some other more stringent code is applicable. See SM 445-2-H Appendix 36-1 in this Handbook for a suggested NFPA fire safety code compliance inspection checklist.

F. Secure the services of a qualified fire protection specialist to evaluate USGS fire prevention and protection program, as needed.

G. Maintain the following records:

(1) Acceptance test reports and inspection reports of the fire protection systems/equipment as required by applicable NFPA standards.

(2) Periodic test reports and inspection reports of fire protection systems/equipment for the last 12 years as required by applicable NFPA standards.

(3) Manufacturers’ operating instructions for life of fire systems.

(4) Abatement plans and reports of corrective measures for the last 3 years.

(5) In GSA-leased space, the subject reports and records will be maintained by the building owner.

(6) In USGS space, these requirements are the responsibility of management in charge of the specific facility.


Carol F. Aten
Chief, Office of Administrative Policy and Services
Designated Agency Safety and Health Official

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
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Last modification: 22-Aug-2017@14:10