This blog is for Polk County Florida small farms and pesticide applicators as a method of communication and sharing information. This blog is administered by the University of Florida IFAS Extension Polk County Extension Agent, Mary Beth Henry.
The State Fire Marshal's Office held a second public workshop in Perry on August 11th. Sarah Harris represented the Florida Agritourism Association and thanked the State Fire Marshal's staff for allowing our members to offer feedback to the draft rule. We were pleased that FATA member Alan Hitchcock, Santa Fe River Ranch, was able to participate in the workshop.
The State Fire Marshal's Office will accept written comments and suggestions until next Wednesday, August 17th if you have any more concerns regarding this draft rule. There will be one or two future public hearings before the rule goes into effect. We will keep you posted about those meetings.
We are including notes from the Perry public workshop below and reattaching the latest draft rule. If you have any final comments, they must be submitted to us by August 17th.
August 11th Public Workshop Notes on Proposed Fire Safety Rule:
What triggers a change from a class 2 to aclass 3 building? There are two main triggers that would change classifying a structure from a Class 2 Nonresidential Farm Building to a Class 3 building. They are: hosting events for over 300 people and building the structure specifically for hosting events. The State Fire Marshal representatives repeated several times that they encourage our members to work with their local Fire Marshal, especially in situations where you may be hosting a charity event that puts your capacity over the 300 person limit. Many times, our Agritourism operators hire EMT, fire and police to be present at larger events and this may be sufficient for your local Fire Marshal.
The requirement for an automatic extinguishing system in accordance with Florida Fire Prevention Code 101: Section 8.7 places a considerable burden upon an agritourism operation in that these monitoring contracts are expensive. The necessity of central station monitoring is of questionable benefit. Keep in mind that a monitoring system will only be required if your structure is currently required to have a fire alarm system. The State Marshal's Office recommends cooking outside or building a separate, covered area for cooking.
We also wanted to highlight a few changes that were made to the draft rule after the last workshop in Polk County:
A definition section was added that specifies that any event held for 72 consecutive hours would be considered a single use. This is beneficial to our members who were concerned about the 'under 12 events per year' usage for Class 1 structures.
Other alternatives to panic hardware and "other latching devices" were added under section 69A-67.006.
The section on crowd managers was removed
Barn-style doors, so long as they remain open during an agritourism event, shall be considered an exit.
See the updated DRAFT language, below
CHAPTER 69A-67 FIRESAFETY STANDARDS FOR NONRESIDENTIAL FARM BUILDINGS 69A-67.001 Administration and General Requirements 69A-67.002 Scope 69A-67.003 Definitions 69A-67.004 Classes of Nonresidential Farm Buildings; Inspection Requirements 69A-67.005 Requirements for Class 1 Nonresidential Farm Buildings 69A-67.006 Alternative Fire Safety Evaluation System for Class 2 Nonresidential Farm Buildings 69A-67.007 Class 3 Farm Buildings 69A-67.001 Administration and General Requirements. (1) The Division of State Fire Marshal hereby adopts fire safety rules for use by local fire officials when conducting the inspection of a new or existing structure located on a farm, as defined in subparagraph 823.14(3)(a), F.S., that is used by the owner only for "agritourism activity" as defined in Section 570.86, F.S. (2) Pursuant to subparagraph 633.202(16)(b), F.S., the following nonresidential farm buildings are exempt from this rule and the Florida Fire Prevention Code in its entirety: a. A nonresidential farm building in which the occupancy is limited by the property owner to no more than 35 persons; and b. An agricultural pole barn. 69A-67.002 Scope. (1) This rule chapter establishes requirements and alternative fire safety provisions to provide a reasonable degree of safety from fire in new, renovated, and existing nonresidential farm buildings used for agritourism activities. (2) This rule chapter includes procedures for the evaluation, classification, and inspection of nonresidential farm buildings used for agritourism activities. (3) Where a special amusement building is installed inside a nonresidential farm buildings regardless of occupant load, it shall meet the requirements as a special amusement assembly occupancy in the Florida Fire Prevention Code. 69A-67.003 Definitions. As used in this rule chapter, the following definitions apply: (1) Activity- One specific function or event lasting no longer than 72 consecutive hours (2) Contents and furnishings- Any movable objects in a building that are normally secured or otherwise put in place for functional reasons, excluding: a. Parts of the internal structure of the building; and b. Any items meeting the definition of interior finish. (3) Guard- A building component or a system of building components located at or near the open sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking surface to a lower level as defined in the Florida Building Code.
(4) Handrail- A horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the hand for guidance or support as defined in the Florida Building Code. (5) Interior finish- The exposed surfaces of walls, ceilings, and floors within buildings. Interior finish is not intended to apply to surfaces within spaces such as those that are concealed or inaccessible. Furnishings that, in some cases, might be secured in place for functional reasons should not be considered as interior finish. (6) Means of Egress- A continuous and unobstructed way of travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way consisting of three separate and distinct parts: (1) the exit access, (2) the exit, and (3) the exit discharge. A means of egress comprises the vertical and horizontal travel and includes the intervening room spaces, doorways, hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, elevators, enclosures, lobbies, escalators, horizontal exits, courts, and yard. (7) Occupant load- The total number of persons that might occupy a building or portion thereof at any one time. The occupant load shall be calculated at 7 net square feet per person without tables and chairs or at 15 net square feet per person when tables and chairs are used. The occupant load may be less than the calculated load when agreed upon by the owner and the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and is posted on an approved sign. (8) Proximate audience- An audience closer to pyrotechnic devices than permitted by NFPA 1123, Code for Fireworks Display. 69A-67.004 Classes of Farm Buildings; Inspection Requirements Pursuant to subparagraph 633.202(16)(b), F.S., each nonresidential farm building used for agritourism activities for which the owner receives consideration, and which is not exempt pursuant to 69A-67.001(2), must be classified as one of three classes: (1) Class 1: A nonresidential farm building used by the owner twelve (12) times per year or less for agritourism activity with up to 100 persons occupying the structure at one time. (2) Class 2: A nonresidential farm building used by the owner more than twelve (12) times per year for agritourism activity with up to 300 persons occupying the structure at one time. (3) Class 3: A building used to primarily house, shelter, or otherwise accommodate members of the public or a building in which the primary purpose is an agritourism activity. Newly constructed buildings, additions to an existing structure, or existing structure may all qualify for this classification. In order to determine the classification of a farm building and whether the building meets the requirements outlined for that classification, the AHJ shall conduct an inspection of only the farm building for which classification is being sought annually or if the building's classification changes. 69A-67.005 Requirements for Class 1 Nonresidential Farm Buildings The following requirements apply to a nonresidential farm building that is classified by the AHJ as a Class 1 nonresidential farm building:
(1) Less than 100 persons occupy the building during each agritourism activity; (2) Used twelve (12) times per year or less for agritourism activities; (3) It must have at least two unobstructed means of egress of at least 36 inches in width and 80 inches in height; (4) Large barn style doors may be used as an exit if left open during the agritourism activity; (5) It must have at least 7 net square feet of floor space per person in attendance if the building is not concentrated with chairs, tables, or other obstacles, and 15 net square feet of floor space per person in attendance if the building is concentrated with chairs, tables, or other obstacles; (6) Combustible liquids/gases, explosives/blasting agents, flammable liquids/gases, or hazardous materials must not be stored inside the building during the agritourism activity; (7) Pyrotechnics must not be used inside the building during the agritourism activity; (8) The use of open flames shall be in a manner compliant with the Florida Fire Prevention Code; (9) Interior finish shall meet the requirements outlined in 69A-67.006(5); (10) Portable cooking equipment for warming of food that is not flue-connected shall be permitted if the equipment is fueled by small heat sources that can be readily extinguished by water, such as candles or alcohol-burning equipment including solid alcohol, provided that precautions satisfactory to the AHJ are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible materials; and (11) It cannot be used for lodging purposes. 69A-67.006 Requirements for Class 2 Nonresidential Farm Buildings The following requirements apply to a nonresidential farm building that is classified by the AHJ as a Class 2 nonresidential farm building: (1) No agritourism activity has more than 300 persons occupying the building; however, the occupant load may be posted at less than calculated when agreed upon by the owner and the AHJ; (2) Egress a. Any door in a required means of egress from an area having an occupant load of 100 or more persons shall be permitted to have a latch or lock only if the latch or lock is panic hardware or other latching device acceptable to the AHJ. b. Large barn style doors may be used as an exit if left open during the agritourism activity. c. No turnstiles or other devices that restrict the movement of persons shall be installed in such a manner as to interfere with required means of egress. d. Each level of a building shall have access to the main entrance/exit and shall have additional exits of a width to accommodate not less than onehalf of the total occupant load served by that level.
e. Additional exits shall be located as far apart as practicable and as far from the main entrance/exit as practicable. f. In buildings where there is no well-defined main entrance/exit, exits shall be permitted to be distributed around the perimeter of the building, provided that the total exit width furnishes not less than 125 percent of the width required to accommodate the permitted occupant load. g. Each building shall have at least two separate means of egress. h. Balconies, lofts, or mezzanines having an occupant load not exceeding 50 may be served by a single means of egress, and such means of egress shall be permitted to lead to the floor below. i. Balconies, lofts, or mezzanines having an occupant load exceeding 50 shall have not less than two remote means of egress, but both such means of egress shall be permitted to lead to the floor below. j. Exits shall be arranged so that the total length of travel from any point to reach an exit shall not exceed 200 feet. k. A common path of travel shall be permitted for the first 20 feet from any point where the common path serves any number of occupants, and for the first 75 feet from any point where the common path serves not more than 50 occupants. l. The width of aisles serving seating at tables shall be not less than 44 inches where serving an occupant load exceeding 50, and 36 inches where serving an occupant load of 50 or fewer. m. Where non-fixed seating is located between a table and an aisle, the measurement of required clear width of the aisle shall be made to a line 19 inches, measured perpendicularly to the edge of the table, away from the edge of said table. n. Means of egress shall be illuminated in facilities used during non-daylight hours. o. Means of egress shall be marked with a sign. p. Guards, guardrails, and handrails shall be required. q. Rooms containing high-pressure boilers, refrigerating machinery other than the domestic refrigerator type, large transformers, or other service equipment subject to explosion shall: 1. Not be located directly under or abutting required exits; and 2. Be separated from other parts of the building by fire barriers that have a minimum 1-hour fire resistance rating in accordance with Florida Fire Prevention Code 101: Section 8.3 or shall be protected by automatic extinguishing systems in accordance with Florida Fire Prevention Code 101: Section 8.7. r. Unsecured Seating. Seats not secured to the floor shall be permitted where fastening seats to the floor might be impracticable. 1. Unsecured seats shall be permitted, provided that, in the area used for seating, excluding such areas as dance floors and stages, there is no more than one seat for each 15 square feet of net floor area and aisles to reach exits are maintained at all times.
2. A seating diagram shall be submitted for approval by the AHJ to permit an increase in occupant load. 3. Festival Seating. A form of audience/spectator accommodation in which no seating, other than a floor or finished ground level, is provided for the audience/spectators gathered to observe a performance shall be prohibited within a building except when the assembly occupancy load is 250 or less. s. Means of Egress Inspection. Prior to each opening of the building to the public, the building owner or agent shall inspect the means of egress to ensure it is free of obstructions and correct any deficiencies found. (3) Storage. The following items shall be prohibited to be in the building or within 10 feet of the building during agritourism activities: a. Compressed flammable gases; b. Flammable or combustible liquids; c. Hazardous chemicals or materials; and d. Blasting agents, and explosives. (4) Open Flame Devices and Pyrotechnics. No open flame devices or pyrotechnic devices shall be used, unless one of the following applies: a. Pyrotechnic special effect devices shall be permitted to be used on stages before proximate audiences for ceremonial or religious purposes, as part of a demonstration in exhibits, or as part of a performance, provided that both of the following criteria are met: 1. Precautions satisfactory to the AHJ are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible material; and 2. Use of the pyrotechnic device complies with Florida Fire Prevention Code 1: Section 65.3. b. Flame effects before an audience shall be permitted in accordance with Florida Fire Prevention Code 1: Section 65.4. c. Open flame devices shall be permitted to be used in the following situations, provided that precautions are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible material or injury to occupants: 1. Securely supported altar candles that are well separated from any combustible materials; 2. As part of a performance and used on stage or platform; and 3. Candles on tables that are securely supported on substantial noncombustible bases and candle flame is protected. (5) Interior finish, contents, and furnishings. Interior wall and ceiling finish shall have a flame spread index of less than 200 and a smoke development index of less than 450 as tested in accordance with ASTM E 84, Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials, or ANSI/UL 723, Standard for Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials. a. The required flame spread index or smoke developed index shall be permitted to be secured by applying approved fire-retardant coatings to
surfaces having higher flame spread index value. Such treatments shall be tested or shall be listed and labeled for application to the material to the coating is applied, and shall comply with the requirements of NFPA 703, Standard for Fire Retardant–Treated Wood and Fire-Retardant Coatings for Building Materials. b. Fire-retardant coatings must be applied to surfaces properly prepared for the material and application needs to be consistent with the product listing. c. Combustible Vegetation or Scenery, including cloth and film: 1. Combustible vegetation or scenery shall not obstruct corridors, exit ways, or other means of egress; 2. Only listed electrical lights and wiring shall be used on natural or artificial combustible vegetation, scenery, or other similar decorations; 3. Open flames, such as from candles, lanterns, kerosene heaters, and gas-fired heaters, shall not be located on or near combustible vegetation or scenery; 4. Combustible vegetation or scenery shall not be located near heating vents or other fixed or portable heating devices that could cause it to dry out prematurely or to be ignited; 5. Flame-Retardant Requirements i. Combustible scenery of cloth, film, vegetation (dry), and similar materials may be treated with a fire-retardant and shall comply with one of the following: 1) The scenery shall meet the flame propagation performance criteria contained in NFPA 701, Standard Methods of Fire Tests for Flame Propagation of Textiles and Films; or 2) The scenery shall exhibit a heat release rate not exceeding 100 kW when tested in accordance with NFPA 289, Standard Method of Fire Test for Individual Fuel Packages, using the 20 kW ignition source. 6. Foamed plastics (as defined in Florida Fire Prevention Code: 101) shall be permitted for use if plastics exhibit a heat release rate not exceeding 100 kW when tested in accordance with NFPA 289, Standard Method of Fire Test for Individual Fuel Packages, using the 20 kW ignition source or by specific approval of the AHJ. 7. Such fire retardants shall be demonstrated by each individual decorative vegetation item, including any decorative lighting, in an approved manner. (6) Special Provisions for Food Service Operations. All devices used in connection with the preparation of food shall be installed and operated in a manner that avoids hazard to the safety of occupants. a. All devices in connection with the preparation of food shall be of an approved type and shall be installed in an approved manner. b. Cooking equipment shall be protected in accordance with the Florida Fire Prevention Code 101:9.2.3, unless the cooking equipment is one of the following types:
1. Outdoor equipment used outdoors; 2. Portable equipment not flue-connected; or 3. Equipment used only for food warming. c. Portable cooking equipment that is not flue-connected shall be permitted only as follows: 1. Equipment fueled by small heat sources that can be readily extinguished by water, such as candles or alcohol-burning equipment, including solid alcohol, shall be permitted to be used, provided that precautions are taken to prevent ignition of any combustible materials. 2. Listed and approved LP-Gas commercial food service appliances shall be permitted to be used where in accordance with the Florida Fire Prevention Code 1: Chapter 69. d. Portable butane-fueled appliances where fueled by not more than two 10 ounces LP-Gas capacity, non-refillable butane containers that have a water capacity not exceeding 1.08 pounds per container may be used. The containers are required to be directly connected to the appliance, and manifolding of containers is not permitted. (7) Smoking a. Smoking shall be regulated by the AHJ. b. Where smoking is permitted, suitable ashtrays or receptacles shall be provided in convenient locations. (8) The use of the building for lodging purposes is not permitted. (9) The AHJ is authorized to modify or use alternative methods for any of the provisions of this rule upon application in writing where there are practical difficulties in the way of carrying out the provisions of the rule or the Florida Fire Prevention Code, provided that the intent of the rule or the Code shall be complied with, public safety secured, and substantial justice done. 69A-67.007 Requirements for Class 3 Buildings A structure that is classified by the AHJ as a Class 3 structure shall meet all the applicable requirements of the current edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code.