Infinity Supercritical Review: Marijuana Facility Guidance – Colorado Fire Marshals Special Task Group Part 2

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Marijuana Facility Guidance – Colorado Fire Marshals’ Special Task Group – 2

Continued ….

1.  Certain processes or storage involving compressed gas must be reviewed by an independent 3rd party licensed engineer.  This review will be concerned with code compliance, application procedures, material storage, quote – atmospheric monitoring, ventilation, posted proper emergency procedures – unquote, among others.

2. All facilities require, quote – at least one all-weather road that is wide enough and strong enough to support the size and weight of fire department apparatus – unquote.  Additionally, facilities located at a dead end may be required to provide unobstructed space for fire equipment turnaround.

3. Rooms containing fire protection equipment, air-conditioning equipment, utility equipment, and hazardous materials should be well labeled to improve emergency response access.

4. Industrial Hemp producers may need to be aware of a combustible fiber risk that must be mitigated.

5. When performing fumigation or insecticide fogging a few considerations must be taken into account.  Some jurisdictions will require a permit before use; some require fire department notification  two days in advance. All building occupants must be informed of the intended use, chemicals involved, and potential hazards. All entrances must be signed and monitored to prevent unauthorized access during application, and only the application team is allowed to be in the facility during use.

6. It is also important to realized that many insecticides and fumigants are flammable, as such all sources of ignition must be mitigated prior to application.

7. At the end of application, all spaces must be properly vented and all application remnants must be properly disposed of.

8. Rack storage presents unique fire risks and must be designed by a professional and permitted prior to installation.  Installation plans will dictate isle size, structural design, fire sprinkler requirement, and smoke ventilation.

9. A marijuana producer or processor may be required to maintain and submit a comprehensive lists of all potentially hazardous materials that will be used on site. Each state’s Department of Agriculture may classify hazardous materials differently.

10. Hazardous materials must be classified based on specific categories and definitions provided by the IFC.  Certain categories carry a maximum amount of allowable storage on site.  In some cases, multiple different material will be in the same classification and their quantities must be calculated together.  To store more than the allowed amount on site may require specific facility construction, fire prevention systems, and/or exterior signage to make emergency responders aware of the building content.

11. If quantities of CO2 are used on site that have the potential to create an asphyxiation hazard based on the cubic volume of the room, the room must have atmosphere monitoring equipment that emits an audible alarm when the allowable atmospheric limit is reached.  If the equipment is unattended, it must have an automatic shutoff operated by the atmospheric monitoring system. Employees must be trained to properly respond to the presence of an alarm.

12. The use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas comes with many safety considerations. Specific building and fire codes dictate how, where, and how much LPG can be stored on site.  Locations of use are also specific: LPG cannot be used in quote – basements, pits or similar locations … where heavier than-air-gas can collect – unquote. 

13. A third party assessment may be required for ventilation systems used in marijuana facilities.  Quote – ventilation may include systems for gas rooms, exhausted enclosures, gas cabinets, indoor storage areas and storage buildings – unquote.

14. Zoning requirements for marijuana facilities will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction which should be investigated prior to purchase or lease signing.  Most jurisdictions prevent marijuana facilities from, quote – locating in residential or mixed-use neighborhoods – unquote.

15. Most jurisdictions supply local law enforcement with lists of active marijuana production and processing licenses. Law enforcement agencies often the right to perform unannounced inspections of marijuana facilities.

16. In Colorado, the  Department of Public Health, quote  – does not regulate or inspect – unquote marijuana businesses, but the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division, quote – does have basic sanitary standards for licensee compliance – unquote.

17. Pages 21 – 24 of this document provide the exact wording of some of the Colorado marijuana regulations as well as a chart showing which regulations apply to which situations. It is not all inclusive, but it is a good starting place to asses the regulations that a marijuana producer or processor may need to meet in Colorado.  Although specific to Colorado, this document has much applicability to other jurisdictions as well.

Source: Fire Marshals’ Special Task Group. Marijuana Facility Guidance.; 2016. https://fmac-co.wildapricot.org/resources/Pictures/Marijuana_Guidance_Document_v.1_2016 03 16.pdf. Accessed August 7, 2018.

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