CMS updates Emergency Preparedness Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made two changes to its Emergency Preparedness Appendix Z. The first change added “emerging infectious diseases” to the current definition of all-hazards approach. “In light of events such as the Ebola virus and Zika, we believe that facilities should consider preparedness and infection prevention within their all-hazards approach, which covers both natural and man-made disasters,” the document states. “This addition should be added to your Hazard Vulnerability Assessment process.” In the second change, CMS has added guidance under Tag E0015 – Alternate Source Power and Tag E0042 – Emergency Standby Power Systems. These clarifications recommend that facilities should use the most appropriate energy source or electrical system based on its review of its individual facility’s all-hazards risks assessment and as required by existing regulations or state requirements.

NFPA standards open for public comment

Two National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards related to fire and life safety are open for public comment. The second draft ballot for the 2021 edition of NFPA 3, Standard for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems, outlines the commissioning process and integrated testing of fire protection and life safety systems. It was developed in response to a request from the National Institute of Building Sciences to ensure systems perform in conformity with their design intent. NFPA also has added information to the second draft of the 2021 edition of NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing. The standard outlines test scenarios to confirm the operation, interaction and coordination of multiple individual systems perform their functions. NFPA 4 will be included in future editions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®. Public commenting for both drafts closes May 8, and the drafts will be posted January 2020.

CDC issues Ebola preparedness reminder asking U.S. facilities to review processes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that in light of the ongoing outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo, U.S. health care facilities should review their infection prevention and control processes to safely identify and manage patients with communicable infections. The CDC communication reviews the steps that facilities should implement as a routine part of triage to quickly identify, isolate and inform public health authorities about patients who may have communicable infections; current Ebola infection prevention and control recommendations for U.S. health care facilities; the U.S. Regional Treatment Network for Ebola and Other Special Pathogens; and other resources. Recommendations include separate protocols for personal protective equipment when dealing with patients with confirmed Ebola Virus Disease, and posting patient contact protocols in easily visible locations. 

NFPA addresses qualifications for safety directors

NFPA 1082, Standard for Facilities Safety Director Professional Qualifications, is a new standard that documents the duties, requirements and competencies required of facility safety directors for structures having an occupant load of greater than 500 in all occupancies except for industrial. The standard is currently in its second draft, and the final standard will be posted in 2020.