NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 70

THE CLASS OF

Revised special amusement
requirements
While requirements for special amusements have been in the code for many
cycles, they hadn't received a thorough
update in at least 30 years, Harrington
said, even as amusement park rides
have become more high-tech and new
attractions like escape rooms have
emerged. This cycle, those requirements
received a significant revision. The bulk
of the work was done by a task group
comprising code officials and representatives from several well-known

parks, including Walt Disney World and
Resorts and Universal Studios.
While previous editions of the code
lumped all special amusement attractions together, the proposed revisions
divide them into three classifications
based on how difficult it is for patrons
to get off the rides and out of the
attraction in the event of an emergency.
At the simpler end would be a haunted
house at a carnival. "If there's a fire,
the alarms activate, the lights come
up, all of the special effects stop, exit
signs come on, and you just walk out

Classroom door locks
In a world where the dangers of fire
and shooting violence exist side by side,
the issue of door locks in K-12 classrooms has been a persistent challenge
for NFPA 101 committee members. On
one side of the argument, door locks
must be robust to keep intruders out.
On the other side, complicated or aftermarket locks could prevent occupants
from escaping in a fire or keep emergency responders from entering.
With that in mind, the NFPA 101 committee has proposed allowing existing
schools to install door locks and latches
that require up to two releasing motions
to open. This is a departure from the
2018 edition, which only permitted locks
and latches with one releasing operation. (This requirement would still apply
to new schools.) From a practical standpoint, the one-motion rule "resulted in
some school districts having to spend
a lot of money to retrofit the locking
hardware on the doors, and many districts were just not able to meet the
financial demands," Harrington said.
That led some to install aftermarket barricade devices, which are relatively low
cost, but potentially difficult to remove
during an emergency.
Moving to two locking motions "is
a case where we need to balance the
needs for life safety against the needs
for security," Harrington said. "While
we've always required the one motion,
as long as teachers and staff are trained
on how to open those two-motion doors
in an emergency, the committee felt that

GETT Y IMAGES

of the building," Harrington said. "At
the other end of the spectrum, if you're
on a suspended roller coaster type
of attraction, you're not just going to
unharness yourself and jump down and
walk out. You don't want people trying
to self-evacuate, so you've got to have a
higher degree of protection and certain
staffing requirements."
Many other attractions fall somewhere between those extremes,
including most escape rooms, where
patrons might be required to solve riddles or puzzles to find a key to exit the
space. The level of protection requirements increases as you move up in
classification, Harrington said.

With amusement park rides
becoming increasingly hightech, the 2021 edition of NFPA
101 is expected to include
changes to its section on
special amusements, including
establishing different classes
of rides based on egress
simplicity.

70 | NFPA JOURNAL * M A Y / J U N E 2 0 2 0

Codes Update_05.20 V4 DCS.indd 70

5/4/20 1:34 PM



NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

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