To: Heads of Fire Departments
From: Stephen D. Coan, State Fire Marshal
Date: November 1, 2006
Re: Educational Occupancies and Use of Paper Materials

I wish to bring to your attention the issue of flammable paper materials in educational facilities including pre-school and day care centers.

Recently, an arson fire in a mixed-use facility (a church housing a pre-school) highlighted a number of fire code violations regarding paper materials in the classroom. Although no one was injured, the presence of non-compliant paper materials in violation of the state fire code should remind us all of the importance of inspection and compliance regarding the use of paper in these facilities.

Under the State Building Code, pre-school and day care facilities (which provide care for children older than 2 years and 9 months) are classified as a Use Group E (educational use group). These educational use groups are subject to important fire code regulations governing the volume, type, and method of paper displayed in a classroom. These regulations are found at 527 CMR 10.09(5). It is important these regulations be followed to avoid serious problems in the event of a fire. Particular effort should be made to identify these educational facilities in mixed-use groups that may otherwise go unidentified and uninspected.

If you have any questions, please contact the Code Compliance and Enforcement Unit at (978) 567-3375 or in Western, MA at (413) 587-3181.