Fire safety updates in healthcare facilities for 2021Mayara
NFPA’s codes and regulations dictate the main guidelines for fire prevention in the United States. These standards cover different aspects of fire security, drawing a wide picture of protection. Among the regulations, different guidelines cover fire safety in healthcare facilities, educational facilities, office buildings, industries, and many other places.
Later this year, NFPA will release the most updated version of two of these codes: the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code®. The new editions highlight updates that have a comprehensive impact on the health sector. Check some of these new guidelines and be sure to follow the NFPA 99 and NFPA 101 fire alarm requirements.
NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code
The NFPA 99 code set standards to minimize the hazards of fire or explosion in healthcare facilities. Such rules ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors.
The upcoming edition of the code brings more than 200 revisions ranging from microgrid technology to signaling modes. Check below some of these changes and be prepared for the updates on NFPA 99 code.
The use of microgrid technology in healthcare facilities will be properly regulated by NFPA 99 code’s new edition. The rules are still wide, but the guide specifies performance criteria as a source for an essential electrical system.
Microgrid technology allows facilities to use interconnected power generators and control technologies that can operate within or independent of a central grid. The system can switch between power sources, maximizing efficiency, and resiliency.
Preventive electrical maintenance
Another update related to the building’s electrical system is a new section that guidelines preventive electrical maintenance. Previous versions of the code already predicted maintenance on the emergency power supply system, but now the rules apply for all major components.
This section of the code details specific criteria for maintenance, intervals for inspection, and testing activities.
Medical gas and vacuum system
Concerning medical gas and vacuum systems, the NFPA 99 new edition predicts the designation of a “responsible facility authority”. This person will be in charge of the medical gas and vacuum system requirements, ensuring compliance with the safety guidelines. The code also specifies the qualifications for this role and details a list of specific responsibilities.
An update in the NFPA 99 code also allows the permanence of existing signage in rooms containing stored medical gases. This not only permits preexisting signaling but also avoids the update obligation when signals are to be revised.
NFPA 101 Requirements for Fire Safety in Healthcare Facilities
While NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code focuses exclusively on health prevention, NFPA 101 Life Safety Code is much more extensive. Between guidelines for different places and situations, it also covers insights and standards for the health sector. Below, we’ll cover some of the main changes for 2021.
It is now stated that alarm notification appliances are not required in spaces where such alerts might affect patient care.
This update is very similar to previous ones, but past editions would still require visible alarms. The new change permits the omission of both audible and visual notification devices, in private operating mode fire alarm systems.
With this update, the NFPA 101 code makes evident the main objective of fire drills, which is to train the internal response of a system or team in the event of a fire. The transmission of a fire alarm signal, for example, can be tested in other routines described in NFPA 72 code.
The new version also states that for drills conducted between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., a coded announcement would be sufficient. In this case, fire alarm notification appliances would not need to be activated.
This update reflects the current reality of several facilities, not only healthcare ones. A requirement for testing alcohol-based rub dispensers has been removed from the code. This point was brought up by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, which pointed out that the testing instructions were currently vague and unproductive.
These are only a few changes that will be in place once NFPA 99 and NFPA 101 2021 editions are released. These standards will have an impact on fire safety in healthcare facilities routine and security in years to come. If you want to learn more about NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code and NFPA 101 Life Safety code, check NFPA’s website. If you need to buy any fire alarm parts to comply with such standards, you can count on The Fire Alarm Supplier.