Compliance part of recipe for fire safety

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2019

National Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12. This is a good time to review fire safety and regulations aimed at protecting your facility. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly half of fires at healthcare facilities happened at nursing homes. There were an estimated 2,700 fires reported at long-term care facilities between 2012 and 2014. These fires resulted in deaths, injuries and thousands of dollars in damages and losses. The majority of the blazes were small in size and related to cooking, in fact, sixty-six percent were confined to cooking vessels.

In May 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released fire safety rules for healthcare facilities. The rules adopt updated provisions of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code, as well as provisions of the NFPA’s 2012 edition of the Health Care Facilities Code. In June 2016, some areas of the Life Safety Code were updated and directly addressed cooking in facilities, particularly cooking near or in corridors. According to Sections 18.3.2.5.3 and 19.3.2.5.3:
Cooking facilities are allowed in a smoke compartment where food is prepared for 30 individuals or fewer (by bed count). The cooking facility is permitted to be open to the corridor, provided that the following conditions are met:
  • The area being served is limited to 30 beds or less.
  • The area is separated from other portions of the facility by a smoke barrier.
  • The range hood and stovetop meet certain standards—
  • A switch must be located in the area that is used to deactivate the cook top or range whenever the kitchen is not under staff supervision.
  • The switch also has a timer, not exceeding 120-minute capacity that automatically shuts off after time runs out.
  • Two smoke detectors must be located no closer than 20 feet and not further than 25 feet from the cooktop or range.
The rule also addressed equipment used for food warming or limited cooking such as microwaves and heated food cabinets. According to Sections 18.3.2.5.2 and 19.3.2.5.2, it states that such equipment does not require protection in accordance with Section 9.2.3, which requires compliance with “NFPA 96: Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations.” It also states that the presence of the food warming equipment does not require that the area be protected as a hazardous area.
Fires pose a significant threat to the safety of your staff and residents. It’s important to stay abreast of regulations and updates meant to reduce this threat. The Compliance Store has resources to support fire safety at your facility. Find out how we can help you at www.TheComplianceStore.com.

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