TJC announced recently that it is now including the 2012 version of the National Fire Protection Association’s 101 Life Safety (LS) Code in surveys, following the lead of CMS. The rule covers hospitals, critical access hospitals, inpatient hospices, long-term care facilities, intermediate care facilities, and ambulatory surgical centers.
CMS recently published the final rule on Fire Safety Requirements for Certain Health Care Facilities to amend the fire safety standards for certain Medicaid and Medicare participating healthcare facilities. It now requires hospitals to follow the 2012 versions of both the LS Code and the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code referenced in the LS Code.
The rule adopts most of the proposals that CMS made in 2014 with one significant exception. CMS removed a proposed requirement for hospitals to install smoke-purging systems in operating rooms, which would have been a costly and disruptive requirement. Categorical waivers for the 2012 Life Safety Code are now available, provided the organization complies with that code’s requirements.
TJC provides this sampling of the provisions in the final rule:
- Doors with roller latches will be limited only to “doors to corridors, and to rooms containing flammable or combustible materials.”
- Facilities will be required to have a fire watch and evacuate if a fire sprinkler system is out of order for more than 10 hours.
- For new construction only, window sills must not be higher than 36 inches above the floor.
- Wheeled transport and patient handling may take place in the egress corridor, including the use of transport gurneys, wheel chairs, and patient lifts.
- Fixed furnishings, such as seating, are allowed in the egress corridor, with certain restrictions.