Fire and Life Safety Policy
The purpose of the Fire and Life Safety policy is to provide a safer environment for the University community through compliance with the State of Kansas Fire and Life Safety Codes as adopted by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office (KSFMO). The goals of the policy are to encourage safe practices and living habits throughout the University, thereby reducing the threat of injury to faculty, staff, students and visitors; reduce the risk to property; and mitigate the effects in the event of a fire by reducing the incidence and degree of injuries and loss of property. To accomplish these goals, the policy defines the responsibility, means, methods and authority of individuals and University units that deal with Fire and Life Safety Code compliance issues internally and with the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office.
This policy applies to the Lawrence Campus, the Edwards Campus, and all off-campus property managed by Lawrence campus units.
It is the policy of the University of Kansas to strive to provide and maintain safe conditions and to follow operating practices that strive to safeguard all employees, students and visitors. The purpose of the Fire and Life Safety policy is to provide a safer environment for the University community through compliance with the State of Kansas Fire and Life Safety Codes as adopted by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office (KSFMO). The goals of the policy are to encourage safe practices and living habits throughout the University, thereby reducing the threat of injury to faculty, staff, students and visitors; reduce the risk to property; and mitigate the effects in the event of a fire by reducing the incidence and degree of injuries and loss of property. To accomplish these goals, the policy defines the responsibility, means, methods and authority of individuals and University units that deal with Fire and Life Safety Code compliance issues internally and with the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office.
- Operational Policy
- Compliance with Fire and Life Safety Codes is the responsibility of all faculty, staff, students and visitors using University facilities. Enforcement of Fire and Life Safety Codes is the responsibility of administrators, department heads and/or supervisors in the areas and units in their jurisdiction.
- University units that currently deal with various aspects of Fire and Life Safety Code compliance will immediately formalize their code-related activities by pooling resources, information, knowledge and expertise to form a single entity that will deal with issues arising from code compliance on this campus. This entity will provide a centralized point for records and documents related to code compliance and a centralized point for information and training that will enhance the University's efforts in this area. With the authority they jointly possess, in addition to any granted by this policy, members of the group will deal with the internal and external aspects of Fire and Life Safety Code compliance on this campus. This work group will be called the University Fire Marshal Authority (UFMA) and will consist of one person from each of the following units:
- Provost Office
- Facilities Operations
- Facilities Planning and Development
- Environment, Health & Safety
- Public Safety
- Student Housing
- Student Union
- KU Athletics
- Center for Research
- Human Resources
- The University Fire Marshal Authority will appoint one member of the group as the University Coordinator of Fire and Life Safety (UCFLS). The UCFLS will have the following duties and responsibilities to the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office, the UFMA and University Administration: (1) the Coordinator shall have the authority to shut down an operation, cause events to be discontinued, and buildings to be evacuated when, in the Coordinator's opinion, a severe danger to life or injury or loss of property may result if such action is not taken (2) the Coordinator shall notify the responsible authorities of the action taken or to be taken as soon as possible and implement the University's Emergency Plan, when necessary (3) the Coordinator shall be responsible for assisting University personnel in developing programs designed to educate members of the University community on fire and life safety issues, programs to provide appropriate installation, inspection, testing and maintenance of code-required equipment and a program to enforce mandatory fire protection and life safety standards required by the Codes through established administrative channels. The University Coordinator of Fire and Life Safety may request staff assistance from all supporting departments to develop and carry out the mandate of this policy.
Designated personnel of the University Fire Marshal Authority will conduct ongoing inspections throughout the year with the goal to reduce the number of violations that the State Fire Marshal's Office identifies and to increase the safety for occupants. This may include matters pertaining to applicable Codes and specifically to the following:
- To periodically inspect University facilities.
- To encourage and assist in fire prevention, life safety education and training efforts.
- To oversee the review of plans for all new structures and remodeling of existing structures from the standpoint of fire protection, life safety and applicable code compliance.
- To assist in the development of appropriate fire protection standards and/or guidelines.
- To prepare recommendations for the correction of fire, life safety hazards, and needed changes and/or additions to campus facilities.
- To develop and administer the University Fire Violation reporting system, including the collection and review of data for reports and the maintenance of the KSFMO plan of corrections.
- To interpret applicable fire and life safety codes, regulations and laws.
- To maintain liaison between the University, State, Federal and Local authorities, and other agencies and personnel concerned with fire protection and life safety.
- To develop and maintain records on fire protection and life safety systems in each building. This information will be used for UFMA and KSFMO inspections.
- To act in an advisory capacity on fire protection and life safety matters as required for the guidance of the administration, faculty, staff and students.
- The Fire and Life Safety Codes are adopted, amended and revised by state law through the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office. The KSFMO and the Department of Administration - Division of Architectural Services set the standards for compliance with these Codes. The Kansas State Fire Marshal is the final authority on any matter dealing with these Codes.
- The Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office conducts an annual code compliance inspection and provides written citations for violations of the Codes. Other state employees inspect University facilities for a variety of reasons and provide documentation on their findings, which can include Fire and Life Safety Codes violations. University employees who currently have responsibilities for the construction, remodeling, inspecting and patrolling of campus facilities will provide documentation on the Fire and Life Safety Codes violations that they discover in the course of their duties. The University Coordinator of Fire and Life Safety will develop a method to facilitate regular inspection of University facilities by personnel from the units comprising the University Fire Marshal Authority. Any faculty, staff, student and/or visitor may provide a written description of any situation potentially violation of the Codes, or may contact directly any of the departments involved in for code compliance with questions. All documents will be directed to and become part of the centralized code compliance record/document system.
- Citations are issued by the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office for violations of the Fire and Life Safety Codes. All other documents involving code issues will be reviewed by the University Coordinator of Fire and Life Safety and treated as violations if the situation so warrants. Where there is a question on a violation, the Coordinator may refer the situation to the University Fire Marshal Authority, directly to the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office or other governing agency for determination.
- Violations will be categorized three (3) ways:
- Violations that require a major commitment of University resources.
- Violations that are handled as routine maintenance.
- Violations that are behavioral in nature. These violations include, but are not limited to:
- Combustible storage in mechanical/electrical rooms.
- Any storage in communication or mechanical closets and under or within stairwells.
- Flammable liquids not stored in approved cabinets.
- Stairwell and corridor doors blocked open, including lab corridor doors. These doors must be closed unless held open by magnetic holding devices connected to the central Fire Alarm.
Exit or egress paths must be kept open and clear. Exit paths are all corridors and stairwells that serve the occupants of a building. The following are not permitted in exit paths even temporarily.
- Pressurized cylinders.
- Flammable or combustible liquids.
- Work stations, shop equipment and/or non-secured furniture, trash containers and filing cabinets.
- Biohazardous materials, radioactive materials, chemical agents or chemical waste materials.
- Any arrangement judged to create a physical hazard to responding emergency personnel or building occupants, including for people with disabilities.
No items of any kind are to be stored, even temporarily, in protected stairwells including:
- Chairs, desks, furniture, or other secured or non-secured obstacles.
- Equipment, vending machines, computers, or other devices.
- Boxes, cartons, trash cans, postal boxes, and other containers.
- After an action plan is developed, the University Coordinator of Fire and Life Safety will provide an appropriate response to the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office on all violations requiring major resource commitments. Maintenance violations will be referred to the appropriate University unit for remedial action or repair. Behavioral violations will be referred to the appropriate unit for appropriate action.
- The University Fire Marshal Authority will issue a "NOTICE OF VIOLATION" to responsible departments for behavioral violations. At the University Fire Marshal Authority's discretion, conditions that are "distinctly hazardous" and are determined to be a clear threat to life safety may require an immediate action request. In this event, a "REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION" notice will be issued along with the notice of violation, to the responsible department. Once identified, the responsible department is required to take immediate action.
- If responsibility for the infraction is unclear due to the joint use of an area, all parties will be notified and the issue will be forwarded to the Provost's Office for clarification of who is the responsible party. If the item presents a clear hazard, it may be removed utilizing outside resources before determining responsibility. The Provost Office will resolve financial responsibility for enforcement at a later date.
- Any item(s) in exit paths (corridors/stairwells) creating a Code violation may be red-tagged by the University Fire Marshal Authority with a "NOTICE OF VIOLATION." A notice will also be forwarded to the nearest department(s). The notice will contain information regarding contact person, deadline for remediation, and potential liability of the violation.
- Corrective Actions
- Upon receipt of these notices, departments will be required to respond or correct the item(s) as described:
- "NOTICE OF VIOLATION" - Response or correction within ten working days.
- "REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION" - Response or correction required immediately.
- Upon correcting or addressing the problem, an e-mail must be sent to the University Fire Marshal Authority for verification and processing. If no response is received, the issue will be upgraded and remanded to the enforcement authority.
- Upon receipt of these notices, departments will be required to respond or correct the item(s) as described:
- Enforcement authority
- In the case of unresolved issues, the University Fire Marshal Authority will issue a "REQUEST FOR CORRECTIVE ACTION" to have the item(s) removed. Resources outside the department will be used to remove and/or correct the violation. Item(s) removed will be held for 30 days pending identification of the responsible party or parties and determining future disposition, which may include disposal options or appropriate storage arrangements. Any and all costs for the correction and possible storage of items, including a minimum fee for removal, will be the responsibility of the department(s) involved. Adjudication on questions of responsibility will be made by the Provost.
- In the event discretionary authority is utilized to immediately remove obstructions, additional incurred expenses may be assessed to the department(s) involved.
- As violations of the Fire and Life Safety Codes may endanger personnel and property and can be the subject of civil and/or criminal actions, the University may also take disciplinary action against individuals and units who demonstrate a continued disregard for Fire and Life Safety Codes.
- In the event of an incident resulting in property damage or serious or fatal injury, the University Fire Marshal Authority will review information from the investigating departments/agencies and will submit a written report to the Provost detailing its findings and recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
The University of Kansas
Fire Marshal Authority
1246 West Campus Rd, Room 114
Lawrence, KS 66045
Bob Rombach, University Fire Marshal
04/22/2021: Updated reference from Design Construction Management to Facilities Planning & Development.
07/08/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
12/09/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).