Revised on
07/21/17 12:57pm
SafetyNet #
510

Corridor Storage Guidelines

A. Summary

Among the most important methods of ensuring fire and life safety in a building or occupancy is the elimination of corridor storage. Corridors are part of a “means of egress” and are considered escape avenues for all occupants of a given area, floor, or building in the event of an emergency. Nevertheless, Fire Departments around the country are constantly being asked, “What can we put in the corridors?”

The answer is within the California Fire Code, Chapter 10 and Title 19 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The California Fire Code and Title 19 specifically require corridors to be maintained free of storage or obstacles that protrude into the exit path, regardless of the required width.

B. Corridor Storage

Corridor Storage Guidelines

The above left photo of Briggs Hall shows the difficulty occupants would have making a safe exit in the event of an emergency. In a fire, visibility could be reduced to virtually zero by heavy smoke. If smoke is present in the exit corridors, it can become very difficult to see. As a result, escape becomes extremely difficult, especially when you must navigate around protrusions and obstacles through dark smoke. Because corridors are designed for use as a safe haven for occupants’ use during building evacuation, storage of combustible materials or the use of door wedges is not permitted. In the photograph of the same hallway taken after the corridors were cleared (above, right), safe exit would be much easier during an emergency and emergency responders would be capable of conducting a much more effective search of the area if necessary. In addition, most corridors have a one hour fire and smoke wall that theoretically protects the safe haven for up to one hour should a fire emergency occur inside an adjacent room.

C. Permitted Items

Items specifically permitted in or exposed to the corridor with the approval of the Fire Marshal:

  1. Eye wash/showers, as long as they are recessed and don’t project into the corridor.
  2. Water fountains, as long as they are recessed and don’t project into the corridor.
  3. Display cases with non-combustible or limited combustible materials, as long as they don’t project into the required corridor width or create an exit obstruction, and are firmly attached to the wall.
  4. Non-combustible or non-hazardous material, including bulletin boards, may not take up more than 10% of the linear wall space, may not project into the required corridor width or create an exit obstruction, and are firmly attached to the wall and/or floor.
  5. Objects with leading edges more than 27 inches and not more than 80 inches above the floor shall not project horizontally more than 4 inches into the circulation path. 

D. Corridor Storage Guidelines

Type of Material or Object

Type of Corridor

 

Exit Enclosure

Rated Corridor

Unrated Corridor

Vending Machines

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted*

Furniture, fixed, non-combustible

Not permitted

Permitted*

Permitted*

Furniture, fixed, combustible

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted*

Furniture, non-fixed, non-combustible

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted*

Furniture, non-fixed, combustible

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted*

Recycling containers, fixed, non-combustible, with self-closing lid

Not permitted

Permitted*

Permitted*

If fixed non-combustible: structural members, exhibits, display objects, artwork

Permitted*

Permitted*

Permitted*

If fixed, non-combustible: eyewashes, emergency showers, water fountains, metals lockers for personal use

Not permitted

Permitted*

Permitted*

Display cases containing non-combustible or limited combustible materials behind glass doors

Not permitted

Permitted without limitation in area*

Permitted without limitation in area*

Bulletin or tack boards with combustible display materials

Not permitted

Permitted up to 10% of the wall area

Permitted without limitation in area*

Equipment, freezers, refrigerators, storage units or any other object or material not specifically listed above

Not permitted

Not permitted

Permitted*

*Shall not encroach into minimum required exit width AND shall not create an obstruction AND shall not intrude into the total corridor width by more than 3”.

 

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