Q: I have a question about putting pictures up in stairwells. Someone in our administration department at our hospital wants to put pictures up in a stairwell. We have already received a citation for having a camera in a stairwell so I am almost certain we would get one for this also. I want to quote this section: A 126.96.36.199.3 from the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code as I cannot find any other section on it but want to make sure there is nothing I missed since it is an executive asking to do this and I want to make sure I have every angle covered.
A: You’re correct…. AHJs can be very tough on anything placed in a stairwell that does not serve the function of the stairwell. Under previous editions of the Life Safety Code, a camera would not be permitted because it was not considered to serve the stairwell. But in the Annex section A.188.8.131.52.1(10)(b) of the 2012 Life Safety Code, penetrations for electrical wiring for security cameras would be permitted as long as the AHJ approves. You would have to ask all of your AHJs for approval. Pictures would not serve the function of the stairwell and likely would be cited by AHJs. Section 184.108.40.206.3 of the 2012 Life Safety Code says the exit enclosure (i.e. stairwell) cannot be used for any other purpose that has the potential to interfere with the use of the exit enclosure. A picture hanging on the wall could interfere with individuals exiting the facility. The intent is to prohibit any equipment (i.e. pictures) not necessary for safety. The Life Safety Code intends for the exit enclosure to essentially be “sterile” with respect to safety hazards.