9 CSR 45-5.140 - Fire Safety for Group Homes Serving 10-16 People

PURPOSE: This amendment changes the name of the division to comply with House Bill 555 and House Bill 648 passed by the 95th Missouri General Assembly which removed the term "mental retardation" from Missouri statutes, updates the rule with current terminology in the field of developmental disabilities, and adds requirements recommended by the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety to ensure consistency with current best practice in fire safety.

PURPOSE: This rule establishes fire safety requirements for group homes serving ten to sixteen ( 10-16) people funded through the Medicaid home and community-based waiver. The department delegates its authority for fire safety inspections under this rule to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety.

(1) General Requirements.
(A) The staff shall conduct at least one (1) fire drill per month and one (1) natural disaster drill per quarter, with a minimum of two (2) drills, one (1) fire and one (1) natural disaster, conducted annually while the individuals are sleeping. A drill must be conducted within one (1) week of the arrival of a new individual. The staff shall maintain a written record at the facility of the date, type of drill, time required to evacuate the building whether the evacuation was completed, notation of any problems evacuating, and number of occupants present during the drill.
(B) Unscheduled drills shall be held at the Division of Fire Safety inspector's discretion.
(C) During severe weather, fire drills may be postponed.
(D) Each fire drill shall evacuate all persons from the building, or evacuate to an area of refuge and defend in place and conducted as follows:
1. Drills simulate an actual fire condition;
2. Occupants (referred to hereafter as "individuals") and staff members do not obtain clothing or personal effects after the alarm has sounded;
3. The occupants and staff members proceed to a predetermined point outside the building that is sufficiently remote to avoid fire danger, or to a predetermined point inside of the building;
4. Individuals and staff members remain in place until a recall is issued or until they are dismissed; and
5. Exception. If there is potential harm to individuals during drills because a resident is medically fragile, the provider may arrange the drill to not involve the medically fragile. However, all individuals who are medically fragile must participate in a drill at least once per year. This must be documented in the home.
(E) No window in a facility shall have bars or any other item placed over them in a stationary manner that would impede a rescue or evacuation.
(F) All flammable/combustible liquids, matches, toxic cleaning supplies, poisonous materials, or other hazardous items shall be stored so as to be inaccessible to the occupants if the occupants cannot handle the materials safely. If there are firearms and/or ammunition on the premises, they shall be kept in a locked space without access by individuals.
(G) Clothes dryers shall be vented to the outside or as recommended by the manufacturer and maintained properly.
(H) The house numbers shall be plainly visible from the street in case of emergency, at least four inches (4") in height and contrasting color with the building.
(I) Good housekeeping practices ensuring fire safety will be maintained daily.
(J) Stairways, walks, ramps, and porches shall be kept free of ice and snow.
(K) Fresh-cut Christmas trees shall not be used unless they are treated with a flame resistant material and documentation of the treatment is on file at the facility and available for review by the Division of Fire Safety.
(L) Candles and other devices that have an open flame shall not be used indoors. However, short-term supervised use of candles for special occasions or dinners is permitted.
(M) The facility may use a cellular phone when all of the following conditions are met:
1. The phone must always have a signal;
2. The phone must always be charged;
3. The phone must be able to make and receive normal calls;
4. The phone must remain at the facility at all times; and
5. The emergency plan for the facility must address the use of cellular phones.
(M) (N) The facility shall notify the nearest fire department that the facility is in operation and have required documentation completed and signed by the local fire authority (fire department notification form) on file at the facility and available for review by the Division of Fire Safety inspector.
(N) (O) Facilities served by a volunteer or membership fire department shall be a member in good standing with the fire department. A copy of the membership or receipt for membership shall be on file at the facility and available for review.
(O) (P) The facility shall, as soon as possible but no later than the following business day, report any fire in the facility to the Division of Fire Safety office and the Department of Mental Health.
(P) (Q) The Division of Fire Safety may make additional requirements that provide adequate life safety protection if it is determined that the safety of the occupants is endangered. Every building or structure shall be constructed, arranged, equipped, maintained, and operated to avoid danger to the lives and safety of its occupants from fire, smoke, fumes, or resulting panic during the period of time necessary for escape from the building.
(Q) (R) Prior to new construction, remodeling existing structures, and any structural alterations to existing facilities, the provider shall submit two (2) copies of plans and specifications prepared to scale for review and approval. One (1) copy shall be submitted to the Department of Mental Health's Licensure and Certification Unit; the second copy to the Division of Fire Safety. The plans shall include a narrative indicating the utilization of each area of the facility. The architect or contractor shall certify in writing that the plans are in compliance with these certification rules. The provider shall not begin construction until the plans have been reviewed and approved by the Division of Fire Safety. All plans for new construction, remodeling, or additions shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Accessibility Guidelines.
(R) (S) During the construction or remodeling process, the provider shall request a framing and wiring inspection and an inspection for the rough-in wiring for the fire alarm system by the Division of Fire Safety before the walls are enclosed. Failure to request these inspections in a timely manner may result in an unapproved fire inspection from the Division of Fire Safety.
(S) (T) The ceiling height in all facilities shall be a minimum of seven feet six inches (7'6"). An allowance will be made by the Division of Fire Safety for some areas that are below seven feet six inches (7'6") for the installation of ductwork and plumbing. No more than forty percent (40%) of the ceiling in each room shall be below minimal height, with no portion of the ceiling lower than six feet eight inches (6' 8").
(T) (U) Facilities shall comply with all local building codes, fire codes, and ordinances.
(U) (V) The latest edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Chapter 101, Life Safety Code prevails in the interpretation of these rules.
(V) (W) Each group home shall be inspected at least once annually by a Division of Fire Safety inspector. The department will initiate the fire safety inspection. If a facility is found out of compliance with the fire safety rules, the department will apply procedures for achieving compliance as promulgated under 9 CSR 45-5.060.
(2) Means of Egress Requirements.
(A) Each floor occupied in the home shall have not less than two (2) remotely located means of egress. Required means of egress shall not be a window. Existing licensed and approved facilities shall have exit doors with a minimum width of thirty inches (30") wide. All new construction and facilities licensed and approved after the effective date of these rules shall have exit doors with a minimum width of thirty-six inches (36").
(B) Individual sleeping rooms in all new group homes certified after the effective date of this rule shall have two (2) means of egress, or a primary means of egress and a means of escape.
(B) (C) Wheelchairs, walkers, and other support equipment shall not be stored in corridors.
(C) (D) No door in the path of travel to the means of egress shall be less than thirty inches (30") wide. Except that newly constructed doorways shall be at least thirty-six inches (36").
(D) (E) No primary means of escape shall lead through a bathroom, storage room, furnace room, kitchen, garage, or any other room deemed hazardous by the Division of Fire Safety.
(E) (F) All exit doors shall swing in the direction of egress travel and shall have door closures attached.
(F) (G) Emergency lighting that has a battery backup shall be installed to light the path of egress. The location and number of emergency lights shall be determined by the Division of Fire Safety inspector. Emergency lights shall be tested once per month and documentation indicating which lights were tested, the date tested, and the name of the person performing the test kept for review by the Division of Fire Safety.
(G) (H) Lighted exit signs with a battery backup shall be installed above exit doors and as needed throughout the facility to direct the occupants to the exits. Lighted exist signs shall be tested once per month and documentation shall be kept for review by the Division of Fire Safety.
(H) (I) No locks that require a key or special knowledge to unlock the lock from the inside shall be allowed. Delayed egress locks complying with section 7.2.1.6.1 of the 2012 edition NFPA 101 are permitted, provided that no more than one (1) such device is located in any egress path.
(I) (J) Overhead garage doors are not recognized as exit doorways.
(J) (K) Mirrors shall not be placed on exit doors or adjacent to any exit in such a manner to confuse the direction of the exit. All exit doors shall be readily recognizable.
(K) (L) All hallways shall have a clear width of at least thirty-six inches (36") wide and shall be kept free of all articles that might impede the occupants' evacuation from the home.
(L) (M) Dead-end corridors/hallways shall not exceed twenty feet (20').
(M) (N) Each wing or corridor of the facility shall be separated into fire compartment areas by fire doors and walls, having not less than a one- (1-) hour rating. All fire doors shall be equipped with a door closure and may be held open at all times with an electrical magnetic switch that is interconnected to the fire alarm system.
(N) (O) Facilities initially certified and areas initially approved on or after the effective date of this rule, shall meet the following requirements. All facilities that have a set of stairs or use stairs as a fire escape shall be constructed as follows:
1. All stairs shall be at least thirty-six inches (36") wide. Fire escapes shall be constructed of noncombustible materials. Existing fire escapes shall be of sturdy construction and, at the discretion of the Division of Fire Safety, may be required to be load tested;
2. A maximum rise of eight inches (8");
3. A minimum tread of nine inches (9");
4. A maximum height between landings of twelve feet (12');
5. A minimum landing size of forty-four inches (44");
6. Handrails placed on both sides of sturdy construction and positioned thirty-four to thirty-eight inches (34"-38") above the tread;
7. An outside diameter of the handrails of at least one and one-fourth inches (1 1/4") and no greater than two inches (2") in size;
8. Handrails with a clearance of at least one and one-half inches (1 1/2") between the handrail and the wall or upright to which it is attached;
9. Spiral staircase or winder is not permitted.
(O) (P) Every ramp used in the component of the means of egress shall be a minimum of forty-four inches (44") wide, and have landings at the top and bottom being the same width as the ramp. Ramp height shall comply with the following:
1. Ramps less than three inches (3") in height have a slope of one inch (1") per eight inches (8") of run;
2. Ramps with a height of three to six inches (3"-6") have a slope of one inch (1") per ten inches (10") of run;
3. Ramps with a height greater than six inches (6") have a slope of one inch (1") per twelve inches (12") of run.
(P) (Q) All ramps shall have a slip-resistant surface and be designed so that water or snow does not accumulate on their surface.
(Q) (R) All ramps over ten inches (10") in height shall have guardrails and handrails on both sides.
(3) Travel Distance to Exits.
(A) The travel distance between any room door intended as an exit access and an exit shall not exceed one hundred feet (100').
(B) The travel distance between any point in a room and an exit shall not exceed one hundred fifty feet (150').
(C) The travel distance between any point in a sleeping room and an exit access door in that room shall not exceed fifty feet (50'). Exception: The travel distance in (A) and (B) of this section shall be permitted to be increased by fifty feet (50') in buildings protected throughout by a supervised automatic sprinkler system that is approved by the Division of Fire Safety, based on the National Fire Protection Association, Standards for Sprinkler Systems.
(4) Protection.
(A) Vertical openings shall be protected so that no primary means of egress is exposed to an unprotected vertical opening. The vertical opening shall be considered protected if the opening is cut off and enclosed in a manner that provides a fire-resisting capability of not less than one (1) hour and resists the passage of smoke. Any doors or openings shall have fire-and smoke-resisting capability equivalent to that of the enclosure and shall be self-closing or automatic closing.
(B) Exception. Specific residential facilities that were certified prior to the effective date of this rule with twenty- (20-) minute fire barriers shall be considered in compliance with current requirements, unless renovations or significant changes have occurred in the way the building is being used or the number of residents are increased.
(B) (C) Interior stairways shall be closed with one- (1-) hour fire barriers, with all openings equipped with smoke actuated automatic-closing or self-closing doors having a fire resistance comparable to that required for the enclosure.
(C) (D) All furnace rooms, rooms containing water heaters, boiler rooms, storage rooms, laundry rooms, and all other rooms or areas deemed hazardous by the Division of Fire Safety inspector shall be separated from the remainder of the building by construction having not less than a one- (1-) hour fire-resistance rating. All doors to these rooms shall have a self-closing device attached and shall have a minimum one- (1-) hour fire rating.
(D) (E) Exception. The one- (1-) hour fire resistance rating required for rooms or areas listed in subsection (4)(C) of this rule is not required if the facility installs a sprinkler head off the domestic water supply or has an approved automatic sprinkler system and a fire alarm initiating device shall be installed in the high hazard area. For group homes certified after the effective date of this rule, a one and three-fourths inches (1 3/4") thick solid core door or a twenty- (20-) minute fire rated door shall be installed with a self-closing device attached to prevent the passage of smoke. Before approval of the sprinkler installation using plastic pipe the provider must present documentation the pipe and fittings are tested and approved to the 1881 or 1887 standard for use in sprinkler applications. If the sprinkler option is chosen, the above appliances must be enclosed in smoke resistant enclosures. The door to these rooms shall be a minimum of one and three-fourths inches (1 3/4") solid bonded wood core door with a self-closing device or a twenty minute fire rated door. No open penetrations including combustion air or return air vents shall be allowed to penetrate these enclosures or doors. Louvers that close on activation of the fire alarm or smoke detectors are allowed.
(E) (F) Every unoccupied attic space shall be subdivided by draft stops having a one- (1-) hour fire rating, into areas not to exceed three thousand (3,000) square feet. Exception: Subdivisions described in this subsection are not required if the space is protected throughout by an approved, automatic sprinkler system.
(F) (G) All doors to sleeping rooms shall have a fire resistance rating of twenty (20) minutes.
(5) Interior Finish.
(A) Interior wall and ceiling finishes throughout shall be a minimum Class B finish, as specified in the definition section of these fire safety rules. Textile material having a napped, tufted, looped, woven, non-woven, or similar surface shall not be applied to walls or ceilings. Foam plastic materials or other highly flammable or toxic materials shall not be used as an interior wall, ceiling, or floor finish.
(B) All wall studs, ceiling joists, and floor joists shall be covered with a minimum of Class B finish, and no exposed studs or joists shall be allowed.
(C) Hangings or draperies shall not be placed over exit doors or be located to conceal or obscure any exit. All other hangings and draperies shall be treated with a flame retardant material with verification to this effect on file for the Division of Fire Safety to review. Exception shall be made for small window valances. These exceptions shall be noted on the fire inspection survey.
(6) Detection, Alarms, Extinguishment.
(A) All facilities shall have a full coverage electrical fire alarm system. Pull stations shall be mounted at each exit door and horns strobes shall be installed throughout the facility. Smoke detectors shall be installed in all sleeping rooms, throughout all corridors, in all living spaces, storage rooms, and offices. Additional smoke detectors may be required by the Division of Fire Safety inspector as deemed necessary. Heat detectors shall be installed in all mechanical rooms, kitchens and throughout the attic. The battery backup control panel shall be Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (F.M.) listed and installed on a dedicated circuit breaker box. The fire alarm system shall be installed and maintained in good working order and shall be UL or F.M. listed. The fire alarm system shall be installed and maintained per the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) and the National Electrical Code.
(B) All smoke detectors that are ten (10) years old or older shall be replaced with new smoke detectors of the same style. The new smoke detectors shall have the installation date written on the side of the detector for the Division of Fire Safety to reference.
(C) All smoke detectors that are connected to a fire alarm system shall be replaced after ten (10) years of service, or recalibrated by the smoke detector's manufacturer. If the smoke detectors are recalibrated, temporary smoke detectors shall be installed so that the fire alarm system continues working properly and providing protection to the occupants while the original smoke detectors are being serviced.
(D) Any residence that has hearing-impaired occupants shall make adequate provisions so that the activation of any fire alarm system shall notify the occupants of the home. The Division of Fire Safety may require additional requirements for the hearing-impaired occupants to insure adequate notification.
(E) Occupant notification shall be provided automatically without delay. Pre-signal systems shall be prohibited.
(F) All facilities shall have the fire alarm system tested, inspected, and approved annually by a fire alarm company and a copy of the test report and approval of the system kept on file at the facility for review by the Division of Fire Safety.
(G) Facilities using any equipment or appliances using wood or fossil fuel, and that pose a potential carbon monoxide risk, including facilities with attached garages, shall install a carbon monoxide detector(s). The detector(s) shall be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. The Division of Fire Safety inspector may require additional carbon monoxide detectors if the Division of Fire Safety inspector determines that the safety of the occupants is endangered.
1. Carbon monoxide detectors shall be in good operating condition. If a battery-operated detector is not operational, the facility shall install a detector that is powered by the home's electrical system with a battery backup.
2. If an elevated carbon monoxide level is detected during a fire inspection, the facility shall have all gas-fired appliances checked by a heating and air conditioning company to identify the source of the carbon monoxide. Until the facility has documentation on file at the home verifying that all gas-fired appliances were checked by a heating and air conditioning company and are in safe working order, and the facility is determined safe by the Division of Fire Safety, the fire inspection shall not be approved.
3. If a level of carbon monoxide is determined that endangers the lives of the occupants, the Division of Fire Safety shall take measures necessary to protect the occupants. This may include evacuation of the building or closing the facility. The facility shall obtain and have on file at the facility, documentation verifying that all gas-fired appliances were checked by a heating and air conditioning company and are in safe working order. The facility shall be re-inspected by the Division of Fire Safety and determined safe before the occupants can return to the building or the facility can reopen.
(H) At least one (1) portable (five pound (5 lb)) 2A-10B:C fire extinguisher shall be required in all facilities. One (1) fire extinguisher shall be located in the kitchen. Additional fire extinguishers shall be placed throughout the facility, with a travel distance no greater than seventy-five feet (75') between fire extinguishers. Additional fire extinguishers may be required by the Division of Fire Safety inspector depending on the floor plan arrangement of space and the number of levels used.
(I) Fire extinguishers shall be installed and maintained according to the instructions of the Division of Fire Safety inspector and inspected and approved annually by a fire extinguisher company. Documentation of the inspection and approval shall be on file at the facility and available for review by the Division of Fire Safety inspector.
(J) Facilities using a commercial stove, deep fryer, or two (2) home type ranges placed side by side, or a home type range that produces a grease laden vapor shall be equipped with a range hood and extinguishing system with an automatic cutoff of the fuel supply and exhaust system in case of fire. A qualified technician shall inspect these systems to insure they are in good working condition and installed/maintained correctly. The qualified technician shall base this inspection on National Fire Protection Association, Chapter 96, Standard for Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations. Exception:
1) Home type ranges separated by an eighteen inch (18") cabinet shall not be required to have an extinguishing system installed above them.
2) Facilities that cook on a home type range, and have a menu that does not include frying, or emitting a grease laden vapor, and has approval letter from the Department of Mental Health, does not need to install a fire extinguishing system above the range.
(K) The range hood fire extinguishment system shall be connected to the control panel of the fire alarm system. The activation of the range hood fire extinguishment system shall cause the fire alarm system to activate throughout the building.
(7) Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Mechanical Equipment.
(A) Unvented fuel-fired room heaters, portable electric space heaters and floor furnaces shall not be permitted for use.
(B) No facility shall be allowed to heat the home with a wood burning stove, fireplace, or wood burning furnace located inside of the structure as a primary source of heat.
(C) All gas and electric heating equipment shall be equipped with thermostatic controls. All water heaters, if gas fired, shall have the exhaust properly vented with galvanized pipe with screws at all joints or with a material recommended by the manufacturer. All water heaters shall have a properly sized pressure relief valve installed with a drip leg. The drip leg pipe on the pressure relief valve shall extend to approximately six inches (6") above the floor and shall be of rigid material such as copper or black iron pipe. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) or PVC pipe can only be used if manufactured specifically for use on drip legs. No drip leg may be reduced in size from the opening of temperature and pressure valve.
(D) Facilities with a water heater two hundred thousand British thermal units (200,000 Btus) per hour input or larger, or that is heating with a boiler, shall have a valid permit from the Division of Fire Safety posted on the premises. A copy of the permit shall be kept on file at the Division of Fire Safety.
(E) All furnace rooms shall be properly vented. Furnace flue pipes shall be constructed of galvanized pipe or material recommended by the manufacturer. All galvanized pipe shall be secured by screws at every joint in the pipe.
(F) All joints in the gas supply pipe shall be located outside of the furnace cabinet housing.
(G) A gas shutoff valve shall be located next to all gas appliances, furnaces, water heaters.
(H) All furnaces shall be equipped with an electrical fused switch to protect the unit from electrical overloading and to disconnect the electrical supply.
(I) If a furnace or water heater is located inside a garage, the burner or ignition source shall be at least eighteen inches (18") above the finished floor and enclosed inside a fire resistant room having a fire rating of thirty (30) minutes. The door to this room shall also have a minimum thirty- (30-) minute fire rating and have a door closure attached. Open penetrations, including combustion air or return air vents, shall not be allowed to penetrate these enclosures or doors. Louvers that close on activation of the fire alarm or smoke detectors shall be allowed.
(J) All furnace rooms and rooms containing the water heater shall have adequate combustion air for the units. The vent size opening for the combustion air shall be measured at one (1) square inch per one thousand (1,000) Btus input if the combustion air is drawn from inside the structure and one (1) square inch per four thousand (4,000) Btus input if the air is drawn from outside of the structure. There shall be two (2) combustion air vent openings in each furnace room, one (1) located at the lower level and the other at the upper level. Combustion or return openings shall not allow the passage of smoke to the facility.
(K) One (1) combustion air vent opening shall be permitted if the vent opening communicates directly to the outside of the structure. This opening shall be one (1) square inch per three thousand (3,000) Btus input of the total gas appliances located in this room. The gas appliances must be installed per the manufacturer's instructions with proper clearance or have a minimum clearance of one inch (1") from the sides and back, and six inches (6") from the front of the unit.
(L) Air conditioning, heating, ventilating ductwork, and related equipment shall be installed in a safe manner and be in good operating condition as determined by the Division of Fire Safety.
(M) Any furnace or air handling equipment that has air flow of two thousand (2,000) cubic feet per minute or more, shall have a fan shutdown switch that is interconnected with the fire alarm system.
(N) All elevators shall be inspected bi-annually by a state licensed elevator inspector and shall obtain an annual state operating permit form from the Division of Fire Safety and post it as required.
(O) If any combustibles are stored in a furnace room, they must be enclosed in a metal container.
(8) Electrical Services.
(A) Electrical wiring shall be installed and maintained in good working order. If Division of Fire Safety considers the wiring to be unsafe for the occupants or if it is installed improperly, an inspection by a licensed electrician may be required prior to fire safety approval. The inspection by the licensed electrician shall be based on National Fire Protection Association, Chapter 70, National Electrical Code.
(B) No electrical extension cords will be allowed, unless approved in writing by the Division of Fire Safety. Extension cords shall not be permanently affixed to the structure or replace permanent wiring. Exception: The use of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) approved fused power surge strips is acceptable.
(9) Equivalency Concepts. Nothing in this rule is intended to prevent the use of systems, methods, or devices of equivalent or superior quality, strength, fire resistance, effectiveness, durability, and safety as alternatives required by this rule. These alternatives may be used only if technical documentation to demonstrate equivalency and the system, method, or device is submitted and approved by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety.

Notes

9 CSR 45-5.140
AUTHORITY: section 630.655, RSMo 2000.* Original rule filed Sept. 5, 2003, effective April 30, 2004. Amended by Missouri Register October 1, 2018/Volume 43, Number 19, effective 11/30/2018

*Original authority: 630.655, RSMo 1980.

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