Skip to main content

System Status: 

Corridor Safety Requirements

Learn what is permitted and prohibited in UC San Diego building corridors.

UC San Diego campus policy outlines the use of equipment and storage of materials in corridors. Corridors are the most important element for your safe and expeditious escape from a building. Understand their value and how to keep them usable as your pathway to safety.


  • Corridor: Any passageway connecting individual rooms and spaces to an exit door, stairwell, or other areas of refuge
  • Equipment: Anything requiring electrical power to operate (copy machines, ATMs, vending machines), or which occupies a permanent footprint on the floor
  • Material: Other items such as file cabinets, desks, chairs

General restrictions

In general, the following restrictions apply to all corridors:

  • Nothing may obstruct the required minimum width of a corridor.
  • Corridors may never be used as routine workspaces.

California Fire Code Section 1020.3 Obstruction. The minimum width or required capacity of corridors shall be unobstructed.

Note: Corridor safety requirements also apply to the pathway out of large rooms and laboratories. Unobstructed corridors are of little value if you can't get to them.

Prohibited equipment and materials

Any equipment, material, or activity obstructing passage through a corridor is prohibited. Specifically prohibited equipment, materials, and activities are described below.

  • Maintain a clear area around corridor eyewashes, emergency showers, and fire extinguishers. Anything that interferes with the use of corridor safety equipment is prohibited.
  • Never store or use hazardous materials in a corridor.
  • Examples of items that are not permitted include, but are not limited to:
    • Bicycles
    • Refrigerators
    • Copy machines
    • ATMs
    • Storage cabinets (metal or wood)
    • Cardboard or wooden boxes
    • Pallets of chemicals
    • Trash or recycling receptacles
    • Compressed gas cylinders containing toxic or flammable gases
    • Water bottles
    • Flammable liquid storage cabinets
    • Cryogenic liquid dewars (i.e., containers with a loose-fitting cap over the outlet that prevents atmospheric moisture from plugging the outlet neck and allows gas vapor from the stored liquid to escape)
    • Decorative materials
  • Remove unauthorized items promptly within the required timeframe:
    • Immediately if material is hazardous (compressed gases, hazardous chemicals, etc.)
    • Within 30 days if the item is non-hazardous

Note: If you're in a healthcare setting, fire safety requirements are more restrictive. Nothing can be stored in hospital or clinic corridors. Contact Medical Center Safety and Security Services, (619) 543-7575, for more information.

Equipment and materials that may be authorized and permitted

Note: Only equipment and materials authorized and tagged by Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) may be placed in a corridor (including materials placed on walls)

  • Authorized equipment and materials must meet the following criteria:
    • Conform with state fire marshal regulations
    • Be secured against movement during an earthquake
    • Be non-combustible or of limited combustibility

When approved by the Fire Marshal limited numbers of inert gas cylinders may be temporarily stored in designated areas outside of laboratories for exchange. Empty cylinders would be allowed in the designated area for exchange after regular laboratory hours. Full cylinders would be required to be returned to laboratories the following workday. Storage areas must be clearly marked, must have appropriate chain restraint, and must have a Fire Marshal’s Approval Tag

Example of cylinders that may be approved include:

  • Pressurized liquid nitrogen cylinders (e.g., insulated vacuum-jacketed, pressure vessels equipped with pressure relief valves and rupture disks) secured to a substantial, fixed surface with a top ring tether – nitrogen dewars are not allowed in corridors. Review how to handle cryogenic liquids for safety information.
  • Compressed inert gas cylinders (e.g., argon, helium, neon, nitrogen, krypton, carbon dioxide), secured to a substantial, fixed surface with upper and lower chains. Review compressed gas guidelines for safety information.

Contact EH&S Fire & Life Safety, (858) 534-3659, to request authorization to place equipment or material in a corridor. EH&S will tag authorized items to indicate approval has been granted.

For more information, contact EH&S Fire & Life Safety, (858) 534-3659.

Note: this page has a friendly link that's easy to remember:

Notice: In case of fire, your first responsibility is to escape unharmed and sound the alarm. Use a fire extinguisher only if you have been trained to use one and you have a clear exit path behind you.