Facilities Planning

State Education Law 408-b Guidance

A recent change in the State Education Law, effective March 19, 2001, amended Education Law by adding Section 408-b. This new section requires every public and nonpublic school statewide to submit copies of school building plans and specifications to their respective local fire and law enforcement officials. This guidance document will clarify the law and answer common questions associated with this new requirement. NOTE: Local fire and law enforcement agencies may provide schools within their areas additional guidance and clarification.


  1. Question:What is meant by "plans and specifications" in the law?

    Answer: Plans and specifications mean blueprints, schematics, and/or floor plans. The plans and specifications noted in the law do not necessarily refer to construction documents.

  2. Question:What is the purpose of Section 408-b?

    Answer: The purpose of submitting plans and specifications is to ensure that both fire and law enforcement agencies have quick and easy access through school buildings as necessary for fire or law enforcement purposes.

  3. Question:What is considered by "law enforcement officials?"

    Answer: The law enforcement officials include any police agencies that may reasonablyrespond to your school during an emergency. This may include town, village or city police; county police or sheriff; State police; or others depending on where your school is located.

  4. Question:Is this new section of law related to the school safety and emergency planningrequirements under Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education)?

    Answer: While Section 408-b is not directly related to Project SAVE, it reflects one of the required components of the Project SAVE building-level emergency response plan.   It is important that school administrators and emergency responders work together to ensure a timely response to a school in the event of an emergency situation. The following chart compares these two laws:

    Comparing Project SAVE and Education Law 408-b

     Project SAVE

    Education Law 408-b

    Applies to public

    Elementary/Secondary schools only.

    Applies to both public and nonpublic

    Elementary/Secondary schools.

    Applies to regularly occupied buildings.

    Applies to regularly occupied buildings.

    Emergency responders must have "access" to floor plans, blueprints, schematics, etc.

    School authorities are required to "submit" plans for each building to fire and local law enforcement officials.

    Ensure rapid access to schools

    in the event of an emergency.

    Ensure rapid access to schools

    in the event of an emergency.

  5. Question:What types of information and details should be defined on the plans that are submitted to the local fire and law enforcement officials?

    Answer: The following list suggests items that should be defined. Local fire and law enforcement agencies may provide schools within their areas with additional guidance.

    • Locations of all exits
    • Barriers, gates, or other impediments that may affect exiting or access
    • Hazard areas such as chemical storage, flammable storage, maintenance areas, chemistry labs, etc.
    • Confined spaces
    • Utility shut-off for electric, gas, etc.
    • Remote shut-offs for labs, kitchens, etc.
    • Fire alarm panel and any annunciator panels
    • Location of the fire department connections for standpipe and/or sprinkler systems
    • Any installed fire protection systems and their locations - such as hood suppression systems, computer room systems, auditorium/stage sprinklers, etc.
    • Fire hydrant locations
    • Underground gas pipelines, underground storage tanks, etc.
  6. Question:What method should be used to submit plans to the fire and law enforcement

    agencies?
    Answer: Consult with the fire and law enforcement agencies in your area to learn how they want to receive this information.

  7. Question:When do I need to submit a revised floor plan to fire and law enforcement agencies?

    Answer: Revised plans need to be submitted to fire and law enforcement agencies when a reconstruction project takes place that alters the layout of the building.

  8. Question:Who may I contact for further information on Education Law 408-b?

    Answer: Contact your local fire and law enforcement agencies or the State Education Department at 518-474-3906 - Carl Thurnau (cthurnau@mail.nysed.gov) or Laura Sahr (lsahr@mail.nysed.gov).

Last Updated: January 3, 2013