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  • Allison Stalker

New Industry Codes Announced by NFPA

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

At the latest National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo in Boston, new and revised industry codes were announced. Codes for health care facilities were the main focus of the revisions. The revisions were made to the NFPA 99: Standard for Health Care Facilities and the NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. The NFPA 99 is to be renamed the Health Care Facilities Code. The changes have been accepted by the association, however are not final until they are approved by the NFPA Standards Council.

Once approved, the new editions of NFPA 99 have to be adopted by either the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or the Joint Commission or both for use in health care.

The NFPA 99 edition was approved by the membership after receiving and addressing 44 certified amending motions. A sample of the results is presented below.

  • Operating rooms will now be considered wet locations by default unless a risk assessment declares them to be dry locations.

  • Plug-in connections to piped oxygen systems will be prohibited.

  • A major reorganization of NFPA 99 was completed with a categorical system in place based on the type of care provided. Risk will be addressed based on the following system:

o Category 1. “Facility systems in which failure of such equipment or system is likely to cause major injury or death of patients or caregivers … “

o Category 2. “Facility systems in which failure of such equipment is likely to cause minor injury to patients or caregivers …”

o Category 3. “Facility systems in which failure of such equipment is not likely to cause injury to the patients or caregivers, but can cause patient discomfort …”

  • New additions to the code will include chapters on information technology and communication systems, emergency management, security and fire protection written specifically for health care facilities.

The NFPA 101 was approved by the membership after 24 certified amending motions. Some of the significant changes include:

  • Sliding doors no longer need a break-away feature in areas with 9 or fewer individuals, however they will still require latching and smoke resistance.

  • One container of alcohol-based hand gel in each room may be exempted from the total quantity in a smoke compartment.

  • Closets that are less than 6 square feet in patient rooms do not need to be sprinklered.

  • The new edition also contains provisions that are meant to improve nursing home design and create a more homelike atmosphere.

The new editions are set to be examined by both the CMS and the Joint Commission. Once approved, it could still take up to 30 months for the conditions to be changed on a federal basis. To learn more about NFPA 99, click here and for NFPA 101, click here.

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