Pallet Safety and Fire Codes

Model safety codes are stronger when they accurately reflect proven best practices. The NWPCA worked with fire safety experts to develop sections in the fire codes typically used in the USA to address outdoor pallet storage that applies specifically to the wood packaging industry. The new provisions mandate the use of effective safeguarding procedures in lieu of restrictive requirements that adversely impact the operation of such facilities.

To assist in the adoption process, the NWPCA, in conjunction with Koffel Associates Inc., has developed a code compliance manual. The manual outlines specific steps that each facility will need to take to comply with the new fire codes, for both the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) and International Code Council (ICC) code requirements. The best place to begin this process is to determine the entity that enforces the fire code in your jurisdiction. Fire codes are generally adopted at the State or Local level and the enforcement is at that level. The application of the code can vary between states and even within states, there can be exceptions. For example, the State of Maryland adopts a State Fire Code. However, individual counties in Maryland may adopt their own Fire Code provided it is at least as restrictive as the State Code. Some counties choose not to adopt a Code at the County level and instead enforce the State Code using County personnel.

Other counties rely on the State Fire Marshal’s office to enforce the Code. And, the State law then exempts certain jurisdictions, such as the City of Baltimore, from the State Code and the City adopts their own Fire Code. Confusing? Yes, it is to most people. However, most states have a person referred to as the State Fire Marshal.

To determine who is the regulatory agency in your jurisdiction, either call

the State Fire Marshal or call the local fire department, who may also be able to

answer the question for you.  The key question you are asking at this point is “Who enforces the

Fire Code” in your jurisdiction. If you do not already know, you may want to ask the following


  • What fire code applies to my facility? You will probably need to identify the location of your facility by town, city, or county.

If the answer to the above question is the International Fire Code or NFPA 1, you should

ask the following two questions:

o Which edition of the Code applies?

o Are there any state or local amendments to the referenced Code?

o Note that you may get an answer such as the Florida Fire Prevention Code which is really NFPA 1 as adopted and amended by the State of Florida. Note that the International Fire Code (IFC) uses the phrase “fire official” or “code official” while NFPA codes and standards use the phrase “authority having jurisdiction” or AHJ. However, you can simply ask who is enforcing the fire code in your jurisdiction. There are two separate bodies that develop fire code requirements for the outside storage of wood pallets, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC). The requirements are published in either NFPA1 (document for NFPA) or the International Fire Code (IFC) for ICC.