We interviewed Fire Prevention Lieutenant Keith J. Flermoen from the Maple Grove Fire Department to learn more about the local fire codes and also to learn more about fire prevention in warehouses. Keith was kind enough to give us some very helpful information on the subject. For more warehouse codes and regulations visit our warehouse safety standards page.
Shelving Fire Code
Minnesota State Fire Code defines shelving as a shelf under 30” deep front-to-back. Shelving can have solid decking up to 12-15’ high, depending on the warehouse layout and how the shelving is being used. Shelving with back-to-back solid decking is compliant with code, although the shelving units need to be separated by a noncombustible divider.
Pallet Rack Fire Code
Minnesota State Fire Code defines warehouse racks as a shelf over 30” deep front-to-back. Pallet racking with solid shelf decking is noncompliant with the Minnesota State Fire Code unless it has code-compliant sprinklers installed within the rack system itself. Standard wire mesh decking is compliant. Wood measuring 2″ x 4″ or 2″ x 6″ is also compliant as long as the wood has 2” spacers permanently placed between each length.
If there is a concern with small parts falling through the wire decking, one layer of cardboard atop the wood or decking would also be compliant.
If solid decking is required under certain circumstances, it can be approved as long as it is within 32’ square. Please check with your local inspector for exact details.
Pallet Rack Sprinkler Systems
Another application where in-rack sprinkler systems are required is a rack system that is storing combustible liquid such as paints and motor oils. Any questionable liquids need to be checked with the local inspector.
If you are moving into a new building or warehouse location it’s very important to understand the sprinkler system that is installed. Your rack system needs to be compatible with the specs of the sprinkler system previously installed. Make sure to contact the building sprinkler contractor to get the exact specs of the sprinkler system. In the past, new sprinkler systems have had to be installed to meet the height demands of the rack system because the owner did not check prior to ordering the rack system.
Warehouse Aisle Spacing
MN Fire Code calls for a standard rack storage minimum aisle of 4′, although some sprinkler systems may require 8’ aisles. Again, checking with the sprinkler contractor will help you gain the most accurate info about your building.
*Helpful tip: check with the local inspector prior to purchasing any rack system.
Additional Notes and Helpful Warehouse Fire Code Information
State Fire Marshal A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety WEBSITE
Contact the Minnesota Fire Code Team
Fire code questions may be submitted by email to [email protected]. Code staff monitor this email address on a daily basis and will respond to your question, usually within 24 hours, but always within three working days.
If you are moving to a new warehouse or if you have any more questions involving warehouse fire code safety or warehouse sprinklers call 800-722-5908 and we can help.
This post was written to help you learn more about warehouse rack fire codes and sprinklers, but please don’t forget that the best way to learn about your warehouse rack sprinklers and your local fire codes is to contact your fire inspector.