Tim Adams, FASHE, CHFM, CHC, ASHE director of leadership development, argues against a change to NFPA 13 at the National Fire Protection Association's annual conference.

Leaders of the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) successfully advocated against proposed changes that it says could have negatively affected fire safety in health care facilities. At the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference & Expo, ASHE’s advocacy team argued against a change to NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems. The proposed change to NFPA 13 would have allowed vestibules less than 150 square feet in new construction to omit sprinklers. Although this change sounds like a beneficial option upon first hearing, there were a few conditions with which the ASHE advocacy team could foresee potential conflict.

First, the space could never contain combustible items, which ASHE says would be very difficult to manage in a health care setting. This could, in turn, lead to an increase in citations for hospitals, taking precious resources away that could be used elsewhere in the organization. Additionally, ASHE believes that allowing un-sprinklered areas of health care facilities sets an undesired precedence. The organization says hospitals currently have a very positive fire safety record, which the field is committed to maintaining. The group believes this proposed change, if passed, could have undermined the hard work health care facilities have done to continuously improve fire safety.