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Charter, Code and Policies

City of Portland



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FIR-3.09 - Living Christmas Tree

Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority

To provide life safety for participants of 'living' Christmas tree programs.

City of Portland and areas regulated by this office.

Churches, schools or similar groups present programs using 'living' or ‘human’ Christmas trees. The 'trees' are an assemblage of people arranged-on a platform in a framework resembling a Christmas tree (cross, star, etc.).

Because of the potential problems involved with these structures (some hold over 100 participants) the Fire Marshal requires the following:
1. Upon completion and before occupancy, the assemble structure shall be certified as to its structural stability by a registered structural engineer or other qualified person acceptable to the Fire Marshal.
2. All electrical wiring installed on the structure shall be certified as to the safety and compliance with applicable provisions of the electrical code by a registered electrical engineer or other qualified person acceptable to the enforcing agency.
3. A ground-fault interrupter shall be provided on the main electrical supply to the structure.
4. All decorative material installed on the structure shall be inherently flame retardant.
5. Guardrails shall be provided (at required code height) at the front and back of each tier.
6. Smoking shall be prohibited on-or around the structure. NO SMOKING signs shall be posted.
7. Use of any open flame (including candles) shall be prohibited on the structure.
8. Two means of egress shall be provided from each tier of the structure. Such means of egress (and ingress) may consist of a stepped ladder provided at each side of the tier and shall conform to the following:
a. The stepped ladder shall be a minimum of 24 inches in width with steps (treads) not exceeding a rise of 10 inches nor a run less than 6 inches; and
b. The stepped ladder shall be provided with at least one handrail; and
c. The angle (pitch) of the stepped ladder shall not be greater than the angle of the side of the structure. Vertical stepped ladders are not acceptable.
9. An approved portable fire extinguisher (minimum size 2A10BC shall be provided at each side of the structure. Additional extinguishers may be required.

Filed for inclusion in PPD June 13, 2003.
Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document C-9, effective March 28, 1989.