New Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Code – No more 527 CMR 1-55 Reply

The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations in Massachusetts has voted to promulgate a new fire safety code, which will take effect on January 1st, 2015. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations is responsible for promulgating a comprehensive fire safety code for the state and was created in part as a reaction the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston that killed 492 people.

The new code, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code 527 CMR 1.00, is meant to align with a recognized fire code: the NFPA-1 (2012 edition). This fire code revision is also intended to allow for better unison with the Massachusetts building code regulations, 780 CMR. While many parts of the old 527 CMR 1 to 50 will be carried over into the new 527 CMR 1.00, the organization will be different: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/dfs/osfm/boards/specific-meetings/2014-9-18-fea-body-bytitleofsection-finaldraft-cmr-nfpa1-website-print.pdf

One highlight of the new Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code is that, with the adoption of NFPA 1, it will provide more prescriptive requirements for hazardous materials. Chapter 60 will be dedicated to hazardous materials and will contain codified language referring to the specific hazard classes (pyrophoric, oxidizer, water reactive, etc.) and associated requirements, some of which did not exist in the old fire code. For those of you who have already familiarized yourself with the recently enacted 527 CMR 33—not to worry, this regulation will be carried into Section 60 of 527 CMR 1.00.

In the words of State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, “The adoption of a model code sets the stage for a code that is adaptable to new technologies and emerging trends, while also being easily maintained going forward. It taps into the depth and expertise of the NFPA’s voluntary code development process.”

Those Massachusetts organizations that do not already adhere to NFPA 1 standards should soon begin to ensure that they have adopted the 2012 edition as modified by the state: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/dfs/osfm/boards/specific-meetings/publichearingdraftofmassamendmentstorevisedfiresafetycode-2-.pdf

To learn more about the new Massachusetts fire safety code, visit the MA Department of Fire Services website: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/comprehensive-model-fire-code.html

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Wong Berman at 508.970.0033 ext. 126 or aberman@capaccio.com.

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