Safety

Life Safety Code Q&A: Ambulatory care soiled utility room

Hospital Safety Insider, January 3, 2013

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Question: We have an ambulatory care occupancy that has clean supply and soiled linen rooms. Since these rooms are considered storage with combustibles, the Life Safety Code® (LSC) views them as hazardous areas. These rooms are sprinklered, which means they do not need one-hour fire-rated barriers. Do these rooms require doors that need to latch? It does not appear so, as I read the LSC.

Answer: You're right. A soiled utility room in an ambulatory care occupancy that is protected with automatic sprinklers does not require fire-rated walls and no doors are required. It sounds strange, but this is why: Section 21.3.2 of the 2000 edition of the LSC refers to section 39.3.2 for protection from hazards, which identifies storage rooms as hazardous rooms that need to comply with section 8.4. This section allows the option of sprinklering the room or providing one-hour fire-rated walls. If you choose the one-hour fire-rated wall, then you would have to provide a 3/4-hour fire-rated door and frame that self-closes and positive latches. But in your scenario, your clean supply and soiled linen rooms are sprinklered, and 8.4 does not require self-closing and latching doors. Also, section 21.3.6 says there are no requirements for corridors, so that means there are no requirements for corridor doors. This is quite different from a healthcare occupancy, which would require self-closing and latching doors even if the rooms were sprinklered.

This brief was excerpted from the December issue of Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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