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NFPA-101 Life Safety Code & CMS Compliance for Healthcare Facilities

August 22, 2017 Kevin Kozlowski Jump to Comments

Due to the recently issued requirements by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), low-profile fire extinguishers are the only fire extinguishers which may be surface-mounted in the corridors of healthcare facilities while maintaining compliance with NFPA-101, Life Safety Code - 2012 edition. Otherwise, when surface-mounted, typical fire extinguishers that protrude more than 4-1/2” are not compliant.


Many facilities currently have their extinguishers installed within recessed or semi-recessed cabinets, and therefore they don’t have a compliance problem. However there are many older hospitals and facilities such as senior living, assisted living, long-term care, ambulatory care, and rehab facilities which utilize typical surface-mounted fire extinguishers. They currently have two viable options to solve their non-compliance with the Life Safety Code’s non-continuous object-projection limits. Their first option is to install new, fully-recessed or semi-recessed cabinets into their existing walls. The second option (which is also less invasive, faster, cleaner, and less expensive) is to surface-mount low-profile fire extinguishers.

Read CMS’s requirements to follow the NFPA-101 2012 edition, as of July 5th, 2016.

Within the 2012 edition of NFPA-101, specific to new healthcare and ambulatory care facilities, non-continuous projections located below 38” are now limited to 4-1/2”. Although objects above 38” are allowed to project up to 6” per NFPA 101, ADA requirements limit projections to 4”. This requirement overrules the Life Safety Code allowance of 6”. (See below for a link to the Federal register below which clarifies this.) Specific to existing healthcare and ambulatory care facilities, non-continuous projections located below the existing handrail height are now limited to 4-1/2”. Objects above the handrail height are allowed to project up to 6” per NFPA, however the ADA limit of 4” again overrules the Life Safety Code and applies (*See link to federal register below which clarifies this).

Federal Register explanation of the Medicare and Medicaid program's fire safety requirements for certain healthcare facilities.

Read clarification from the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) which addresses protruding object limits within healthcare facilities.

Read expert clarification of the new rules, published in Healthcare Facilities Today.

About the author: Kevin Kozlowski is an inventor, entrepreneur, and problem solver who serves as president and CEO of Oval Brand Fire Products. He is also CEO of Universal Product Registration, an innovative technology platform for product authentication, anti-counterfeiting, track-and-trace, customer service and data analytics. Kevin began his career as a construction laborer and project manager, and he has evolved into a builder of brands. He has been awarded six U.S. patents, with other patents currently pending. Kevin is a graduate of Saint Cloud State University.

About the company: Oval Brand Fire Products is innovating the fire protection industry to increase safety and improve design. Oval Brand offers the world’s slimmest fire extinguishers in an efficient, aesthetically pleasing form that is as much as 40 percent slimmer than standard 5-pound and 10-pound portable fire extinguishers. Oval Brand’s fire products are made in the United States from more than 85 percent domestic materials. Its innovative designs make working with fire safety easier for architects, installers, fire marshals and fire extinguisher service technicians because they are more convenient, the most ADA compliant, and the safest comparable fire safety equipment on the market today. For more information, please visit www.ovalfireproducts.com.

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