Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Patient Fire Safety Coalition

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you, The Code Coach readers, to another organization that I am passionate about, and work with.  This organization is the Patient Fire Safety Coalition.

As the healthcare industry searches for ways to boost profits, they have set their sights on the elimination of fire and life safety systems. Their main tactic to accomplish this is to lobby for sweeping changes of current fire codes (IFC). They seek changes that will eliminate fire rated walls and smoke barriers, exceptions that will allow the maintenance of these systems to be abandoned, and the removal of system components that ensure general patient safety.

The International Fire Code defines these healthcare facilities as “buildings and structures used for medical, surgical, psychiatric, nursing or custodial care for persons who are not capable of self-preservation. This group shall include, but not be limited to, the following: child care facilities, detoxification facilities, hospitals, mental hospitals, nursing homes.” The primary and sole objective of the Patient Fire Safety Coalition is to serve as an advocate for those patients and individuals who become “not capable of self-preservation”. That they can rest assured that they will be safe in their healing environment. Our goal is to speak in favor of upholding current fire and life safety codes, and ensures that healthcare facilities remain the safe spaces that a patients family and loved ones would expect for it to be. The Patient Fire Safety Coalition is the voice for those who cannot speak, and a watch dog to make certain that health care facilities must maintain the highest standards of fire protection and life safety.

In April the Healthcare industry will try to push through the following reductions in fire/life safety:

• Eliminate fire resistance rated corridors (IFC 1105.3.2)
• Discontinue maintenance of existing smoke and fire barriers (IFC 1103.1)
• Treat existing smoke barriers as ½ hour rated, not requiring any fire stopping or opening protectives (IFC 1105.5.2)
• Consider glass walls in sprinkled buildings to be 1 hour rated (IFC 1103.4.1)

The Patient Fire Safety Coalition needs you to speak out against these changes at the ICC Committee Action Hearing in Dallas on April 21-30, 2013. Join the cause or contact us, info@patientfiresafety.org , to get involved and take a stand for patient fire and life safety.

Please consider joining me in April to stand against these changes.  For more information, to see the arguments in-depth, or to donate to the cause, please visit, www.patientfiresafety.org.