Maine Life Safety Systems

Maine has quite a lot of old Grange Halls, schools and other assembly occupancy buildings that are worth saving. These buildings also often have a second floor assembly space. Unfortunately, the NFPA 101 life safety code does not allow Type V non-rated buildings to have assembly occupancies on the floor above the level of exit discharge: the second floor. Such a building requires sprinklers. The catch is, a lot of these old buildings rely on well systems for water, and those wells are not capable of producing adequate water flow for commercial sprinkler systems.
The solution is to store water in tanks. Unfortunately, a typical 5,000 square foot building might require thousands of gallons of stored water. This is why many sprinkler systems are fed from a fire pond: a body of water out in back, whose sole purpose is to provide sprinkler system water. These are expensive.
Fortunately, Maine allows a special type of sprinkler system aptly called the Maine Life Safety System. This is a system for which hundreds, not thousands, of gallons of water must be stored. We have recently worked on two Maine Life Safety System projects. In both cases, the second floor of a wood-framed, unprotected building contained an assembly occupancy. In both case, municipal water was not available; they buildings had wells.
A typical question that comes up is: how much storage space is needed for a Maine Life Safety System? Here’s the answer: These three tanks hold 300 gallons each, and they occupy a six-foot by eight-foot area of the basement.
Longfellow Tanks 2
Longfellow Tanks 1

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Principal at Sealander Architects, Ellsworth Maine. Revit guru. Married with 3 children. Avid gardener. Lived in San Francisco for nine years. Master in Architecture from Columbia University Bachelor of arts in religious studies, Wesleyan University. Graduated Staples High School, Westport CT. Hope to spend some time in Hokkaido before all is said and done.