How to Store Hazardous Materials

Many industrial facilities, at some point, will find it necessary to create a hazardous material storage area.  Many of these materials and liquids will fall into the high hazard contents classification.  NFPA 101: defines a high hazard as contents “that are likely to burn with extreme rapidity or from which explosions are likely”.  The storage of these materials is outlined in the storage occupancy chapter of NFPA 101.  Though there are a lot of code requirements and nuances when creating these facilities.  This article should serve as a basic primer, that will send you in the right direction for further research.

The required structural components of the building itself shall meet the following:

  • Exit and Emergency Lighting - shall be provided within the space (101:42.2.8; 101:42.2.9; 101:42.2.10).
  • Means of Egress - two separate and remote means of egress shall be in place (101:  
  • 1-hr. Rated Fire Wall - the code states that any area having a degree of hazard greater than normal shall be enclosed with a 1-hour rated fire barrier (101:42.3.2; 101:

NFPA 1, Fire Code, section 60 outlines specific requirements and items that must be in place:

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to be available on the premises (1:
  • Emergency Plan and Hazardous Materials Management Plan to be in place(1:60.1.5)
  • “No Smoking” signage to be posted (1:; 1:
  • NFPA 704 placards to be posted near entrance to the building (1:
  • All electrical wiring to be properly installed and covered (1:
  • Incompatible materials are to be segregated and stored separately (1:

Other applicable codes and standards:

These facilities and processes can be adequately protected only when each of these codes and standards are utilized and applied together.