Group day care facilities are less restrictive in most cases than centers because of the number of clients involved. With a maximum number of twelve (12) clients, these facilities are often found in the family home. The requirements for a secondary means of escape from all rooms used for day-care purposes still remains.
Smoke detectors must be installed in all areas used for day-care and in all napping rooms used by the day-care clients. In new group day care homes, smoke detectors must be installed on all floor levels of the building. All smoke detectors must be supplied power by the building electrical system. In existing day care facilities one required smoke detector must be supplied by the building electrical system. In all existing day care facilities, all floor levels must have a smoke detector. All single station smoke detectors, (detectors not interconnected with other detectors or connected to a fire alarm panel) must be tested on a monthly basis and a record kept at the facility.
New smoke detectors are available which are powered by the building electrical service and also have a battery contained within which will keep them effective even during a power outage. All new installation of smoke detectors require that they are powered by the building electrical supply and must have a battery back-up.
For group day care homes (7-12 clients) the basement level and the main floor level must be separated. The door may be at the top or bottom of the stairs and must conform to one of the following: The door must be an UL listed 20-minute fire rated door. It may also be a 1-¾ inch solid wood door. Either door must also have a self-closing device on it that will automatically close the door.
If basements are used for day care purposes, an exit with a normal side-hinged door (not a bulkhead) must be provided to allow exiting directly to the outside. Remember, all rooms used for day care purposes must have a same egress window or door as required for all other floor levels. Normal basement windows installed during construction are most often too small to meet these requirements. Many new homes in the State of Maine are being constructed with a residential sprinkler system installed at the time of construction. These residential sprinklers systems have been proven in many other states to be life safety systems. With the decreased expense these systems have becomes popular with developers of childcare and health care facilities. Many exceptions to fire codes exist when fully sprinkler protected facilities are changed to other uses saving the developer and clients a lot of money in some cases.