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by Ron Joseph

January, 2005

Fire Sprinklers for Paint Spray Booths

Q. We operate a small spray booth using water based paints. Usually latexes, we use a paint by Sherwin William Company (DTM) for all our metal spraying usually touch up of fill cabinets. We sand down the items and wipe them down with acetone to clean the surface before spraying. The problem has come up that the fire marshall said the spray booth does not meet fire codes because there is no sprinkler system in the area. We do have a 10lb ABC type extinguisher in the room at the exits which was appropriate for the previous fire marshall. I have looked through all our local codes and state, OSHA, NFP codes and can not find any reference other than combustable and flamable references. Could you help and direct me where to find related items for my situation?

A. Your research is probably accurate. I've looked trough NFPA-33, the bible on fire protection in spray booths, and it does allow for alternatives to sprinklers; namely fire extinguishers of various types. Attached is the wording from NFPA-33. I hope this confirms your position and perhaps you can show it to your fire marshall and convince him that you are following acceptable practice.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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