Because of health care facilities management’s reactive nature, only a small group of individuals have taken a proactive stance on developing codes. As a result, new code requirements are continually placed on hospitals from outside entities, vendors, manufacturers and others.

To proactively change codes and drive them toward what is best for the health care field, hospitals and health care systems must encourage facilities management teams to review the second draft reports of the 2021 editions of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code ®. Anyone wishing to make an amending motion at the 2020 National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Technical Meeting must declare his or her intentions by filing a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM) by Feb. 19. These NITMAMs will be the items voted on during the 2020 NFPA Technical Meeting.

One example of how a code requirement should be revised is the monthly requirement to visually inspect exit signs. Documented evidence from numerous hospitals across the nation indicates that monthly inspections of LED exit signs produce less than a 0.0004% failure rate and non-LED exit signs produce less than a 0.004% failure rate. On average, staff spent approximately 49 hours per year conducting exit sign inspections.

Furthermore, the individuals conducting these inspections were paid a median wage of $22 an hour; which translates to approximately $1,326.43 in staffing costs per year. The data shows around $7,380,000 annually is spent inspecting exit signs every year in the 5,564 U.S. hospitals. However, due to the impact on the exit sign industry, it would not be surprising if the elimination of monthly inspections on exit signs without battery-operated emergency illumination sources ends up as a vote at the 2021 NFPA Technical Session.

ASHE encourages all of its members who are NFPA members to please join ASHE at the 2020 NFPA Technical Session in Orlando, Fla., on June 18, 2020 and RSVP to let ASHE know you are attending.