For the American Society for Health Care Engineering’s (ASHE’s) Advocacy Team, member feedback is critical to shaping the regulations that dictate day-to-day operations.

ASHE surveys are an effective tool to gather data from facilities managers working on the front lines of health care. In 2023, for example, ASHE plans to survey members on monthly fire-extinguisher inspections that are time intensive yet have demonstrated a low rate of failure. 

The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, requires the inspection of extinguishers when they are installed and once a month after that. ASHE has been pushing to change the regulation since 2018 when it issued its first survey on the topic, says Jonathan Flannery, MHSA, CHFM, FASHE, FACHE, ASHE’s senior associate director of advocacy.

“Our data shows that a change in this requirement is appropriate based on the failure rates we are seeing,” Flannery says. “We suggested the change to the NFPA 10 committee, but it wasn’t approved. So, we are gathering more data to make a stronger case.”

Over the years, ASHE has surveyed members on issues including elevator firefighter’s recall testing and exit sign inspection requirements, among others.

“ASHE has done these surveys for about a decade, and it’s a really effective way to get information on what facilities managers are experiencing,” says Chad E. Beebe, AIA, CHFM, CFPS, CBO, FASHE, deputy executive director at ASHE. “We use the information to help determine whether a change is necessary to a regulation. If we feel a change is needed, that data informs our advocacy. Nothing is better than having real-world data.”

While facilities managers have jam-packed schedules, answering ASHE surveys — which take roughly five to 10 minutes — could eventually free up time if regulations are changed, or eliminated, to make their jobs more efficient. 

“With fire extinguishers, we’re not seeing a valid failure rate, so why are facilities managers spending time on monthly inspections? They could be using that time to improve patient care,” Flannery says.