Managing Fire & Smoke Barriers in Today’s Healthcare Environment

Mark Izsa – STI Firestop

Managing barriers in today’s healthcare facility can be a real challenge. There is a multitude of processes related to barriers and in any given week, a variety of trades and hospital personnel come in contact with them. In many cases the approach to handling compliance issues is reactive. This approach is costly and really doesn’t provide a true compilation of work being performed. Getting contractors back to make repairs after the fact is difficult, often leaving the facility to repair these infractions themselves. Improper penetrations in barriers continue to be one of the top 10 citations by inspection professionals. While code requires anyone penetrating a barrier to seal them to a specific standard, this is often incomplete, disregarded or misunderstood by those doing the installations. Maintaining the eSOC and PFI’s can be costly. So how do healthcare facilities get a handle on this perpetual nightmare?

Taking a proactive approach to managing, documenting and inspecting barriers within a facility is best managed by utilizing a proactive approach. Implementing a standard from the conception of design. In order to implement a protocol for managing vendors, you need a process that includes task such as a permitting program. The process should document all barriers and penetrations, and ensure quality control throughout closeout inspection. The protocol should have an accurate, up to date accounting of who, what, when, where and how installations, maintenance and inspections in each barrier are performed. Exact locations of these applications are documented, providing the facility with a roadmap moving forward. With tightened budgets, increased regulatory requirements, and reduced staffing, maintaining these barriers by implementing a barrier management protocol saves time, money and resources.

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