State of New Hampshire Department of Safety

Richard M. Flynn, Commissioner

Office of the State Fire Marshall

10 Hazen Dr.

Concord  NH  03305

(603) 271-3294, Fax (603) 271-1091

Information Bulletin 99-2                                                                                        August 1999


The 1997 edition of the NTFPA 101 Life Safety Code has been adopted as part of the New Hampshire State Fire Code (Section SAF-C 8008.03), effective July 1, 1999.

Section 11-7 of the Life Safety Code establishes the requirements for fire exit drills in educational occupancies.  Section 11-7, 1.2.1 has been amended in New Hampshire to encourage schools and communities to plan and practice for events such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Two of the required monthly fire drills may be replaced with “two natural hazard drills” provided that:

  • An emergency response plan has been placed on file with the fire chief and the NH Office of Emergency Management.
  • The fire chief has approved the elimination of the two fire drills.

The following is the amended text of the fire drill requirement for educational occupancies (the NH amendment is italicized in bold print):

11-7, 1.2.1 – At least one fire drill shall be conducted every month the facility is in session.

Exception No. 1:  In climates where the weather is severe, the monthly fire exit drills shall be permitted to be deferred provided that the required number of fire exit drills is achieved and at least four (4) are conducted before the drills are deferred.

Exception No. 2:  With the approval of the local fire official, no more than two (2) of the required fire drills may be eliminated and replaced by drills that test emergency response to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods.  No required fire drills shall be replaced by natural hazard drills unless an emergency response plan is submitted to the local fire official and the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management.

11-7, 1.2.2 – One additional fire exit drill shall be required within thirty (30) days of operation.

11-7, 1.3 – Drills shall be executed at different times of the day or evening, during the changing of classes, when the school is at assembly, during the recess or gymnastic periods, or during other times to avoid distinction between drills and actual fires.  If a drill is called while pupils are going up and down the stairways, such as during the time classes are changing, the pupils shall be instructed to form in file and immediately proceed to the next available exit in an orderly manner.

11-7, 1.4 – Every fire exit drill shall be an exercise in school management for principal and staff with the chief purpose of every drill being the complete control of the class so that staff members can form ranks quickly and silently, and can halt, turn, or direct the students as desired.  Great emphasis shall be put upon the execution of each drill in a brisk, quiet, and orderly manner.   Running shall be prohibited.  If there are pupils incapable of holding their places in line moving at a reasonable speed, provisions shall be made to have them taken care of by the more capable pupils, who will keep them from moving independently of the regular line.

11-7, 1.5 – Monitors shall be appointed form among the more mature pupils to assist in the proper execution of drills.   They shall be instructed to hold doors open in the line of march or close doors where necessary to prevent spread of fire or smoke in accordance with 5-2.1.8.  There shall be at least two (2) substitutes for each appointment so as to provide for proper performance in case of the absence of regular monitors.  The searching of restrooms or other rooms shall be the duty of teachers or other members of the staff.  If the teachers are to search, this should be done after they have joined their classes to the preceding lines.

11-7, 1.6 – As all drills simulate an actual fire condition, pupils shall not be allowed to obtain clothing after the alarm is sounded, even when in homerooms, due to confusion that would result in forming lines and the danger of tripping over apparel.

11-7, 1.7 – Each class or group shall proceed to the predetermined point outside the building and remain there while a check is made to see that all are accounted for, leaving only when a recall signal is given.

Adoption:  July 18, 2000