When it comes to how a hospital addresses fire and safety policies, there are two broad categories of regulations that come into play: the National Fire Protection Act (NFPA) and the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA).
National Fire Protection Act (NFPA)
Enforced by the local fire marshall, the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), the NFPA is a national code which both state and local governments can amend or add on to the code.
The NFPA, for example, addresses areas such as:
- The survivability of wiring during a fire
- Firewalls, the fire-resistant barriers that help prevent the spread of fires (not to be confused with IT-related firewalls used to secure a computer network)
- The permitting process around Bi-Directional Amplifier Systems (BDA’s) that boost signals within the building to improve in-building radio frequency (RF) signal coverage
- Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS’s) that convert analog RF signals into digital signals for distribution through fiber-optic or Ethernet cabling
- How first responders can use their radio systems within hospital buildings (public safety radio system coverage within hospital buildings)
Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA)
The ACHA, on the other hand, deals less with construction and communications technology, and more with healthcare-related regulations.
For example, ACHA covers:
- Whether a hospital or medical center is ready to open and able to get a Certificate of Occupancy (CO)
- Cleaning and housekeeping regulations
- Emergency public safety communications
How well does your hospital address fire and safety policies? Share your thoughts in the section for comments below.
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