Protecting Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves

We are experts within the healthcare industry and provide comprehensive assistance to all types of healthcare facilities in assessing and addressing their fire and life safety issues. Throughout the entire healthcare environment, fire protection systems and other life safety features are vital to ensuring those individuals who are placed under a facility’s care are protected during an emergency. The vast majority of healthcare facilities operate under a protect or defend in place methodology because the patient population is not capable of self preservation. Facilities must ensure that smoke barriers, fire barriers, fire alarm systems, fire suppression systems, and means of egress are all operational and able to serve patients, staff, and visitors. JENSEN HUGHES’ staff assists healthcare facilities in achieving compliance with the numerous local, state, and federal regulations.

Life Safety Code Assessment, formerly Statement of Conditions

Section 1 PhotoThe status of a facility’s compliance with code provisions for fire/life safety as applied by the accreditation organization and the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) (or CMS’ enforcing agency) is often documented within a building’s Life Safety Code Assessment. These life safety assessments are valuable tools for facility managers, safety officers, and engineers for monitoring and ensuring a building’s continuing compliance. Our healthcare engineers and consultants perform a full building evaluation that includes more than just door functionality and firestopping of penetrations. It is not sufficient to assume a unit, suite, wing, or floor has been arranged to be compliant merely because it exists as designed. JENSEN HUGHES performs the additional step to review building plans for compliance.

We also review a facility’s records for:

  • Interim life safety measures
  • Fire alarm system inspection testing and maintenance
  • Fire suppression inspection testing and maintenance
  • Fire pump inspection testing and maintenance

Fire Alarm and Suppression Systems

Section 2 PhotoKey components of a facility’s fire protection features are the fire alarm and fire suppression systems. First and foremost, properly designed and implemented fire alarm and suppression systems provide for an increased level of protection for patients and staff. Healthcare facilities have the challenge of protecting occupants who are rendered unconscious, immobile or are otherwise incapable of self preservation. Secondly, code compliant fire protection systems allow for other building design parameters to be adjusted and modified for more cost-effective construction. Our obligation as healthcare design professionals is to ensure that the proper fire protection and life safety systems are designed, implemented and maintained. Unfortunately, fire alarm and suppression systems are often incorrectly designed or have noncompliant modifications. JENSEN HUGHES’ expert design engineers can properly assess and design your facility’s fire protection systems to maintain proper protection of your occupants and structures.

Code Equivalencies

Due to the unique nature of the healthcare environment, hospitals and other medical facilities are faced with the challenge of providing code compliant buildings while at the same time providing for a comfortable and private environment for patients to receive care and treatment.  The responsibility for providing a safe, comfortable and private environment often rests on the architects and engineers that design renovations, alterations, additions, and new buildings. In this effort, existing facility constraints or conflicting code requirements can limit the design team’s ability to meet those goals. In these instances, code equivalencies or waivers may be an option.  As part of the design team, our fire, life safety, and building code experts can review the existing constraints and many times develop a series of alternative measures that provide for an equivalent level of safety without sacrificing the patient care or building safety.  These alternative measures are brought to the appropriate Authority Having Jurisdiction for review and acceptance.

Some examples of these types of efforts are:

  • Joint Commission Traditional Equivalencies
  • Incorporation of CMS Categorical Waivers
  • Development of Fire Safety Evaluation Systems (FSES- NFPA 101A)
  • Local jurisdiction code determinations or reviews

Related Project Experience:

  • New York Presbyterian HospitalSection 3 Photo
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • New York University Langone Medical Center
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Stanford University Hospital
  • University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • The Children’s Hospital Denver
  • University of California Davis Medical Center
  • West Palm Beach VA Medical Center
  • University of Chicago New Hospital Pavilion
  • Children’s Hospital Boston
  • University of Maryland Medical Center

Contact Us Today:

Contact us today using our online form or by contacting one of our many regional branches. For specific questions regarding JENSEN HUGHES’ services for Healthcare facilities, please contact:

Mike Crowley