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Fire Safety Evaluation Systems for Board and Care Homes. Final Report.



Harold E. Nelson, Bernard M. Levin, A J. Shibe, N E. Groner, R L. Paulsen, D M. Alvord, S D. Thorne


Board and Care Homes for residents with mental retardation, the infirmities of age, or mental illness are a new type of occupancy, and model fire safety codes do not have requirements specifically for this type of occupancy. In support of efforts to write model codes for this type of occupancy, a Fire Safety Evaluation System has been developed. It can be used for determining if a home has fire safety equivalent to that obtained by meeting the requirements of a given code. The system was calibrated for use with a proposed chapter of the Life Safety Code. There are three sets of requirements: one for small dwelling units, one for large facilities, and one for apartment houses. Within each set, there are four levels of evacuation capability of the residents and staff -- prompt, moderate, slow, and impractical, each with a different requirement for fire safety features, so that homes with more capable residents will not be required to have as many fire safety features to meet the desired level of safety. A novel rating system is described for determining the evacuation capabilities of the residents with available staff assistance. A field test is described.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


apartments, board and care homes, developmentally disabled, egress, elderly persons, evacuation, fire safety, Fire Safety Evaluation System, handicapped, mental retardation, residential buildings


Nelson, H. , Levin, B. , Shibe, A. , Groner, N. , Paulsen, R. , Alvord, D. and Thorne, S. (1983), Fire Safety Evaluation Systems for Board and Care Homes. Final Report., NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created February 28, 1983, Updated October 12, 2021