Tip of the week: Combustible materials in gift shops may trigger extra protection

Hospital Safety Insider, February 10, 2010

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Gift shops are often overlooked as hazardous areas in healthcare occupancies, and because of that, you might not be properly protecting these locations.
The Life Safety Code (LSC) and Joint Commission standard LS.02.01.30 both require gift shops that contain large quantities of combustible materials to be protected as hazardous areas, said Brad Keyes, CHSP, life safety consultant for The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA.
Keyes spoke during our February 3 audio conference, “Physical environment compliance 2010: Analyzing The Joint Commission’s latest interpretations and survey hotspots.”
It is up to an authority to determine what constitutes a large or hazardous quantity of combustible materials. In Keyes’ experience, surveyors tend to take a conservative view on whether to judge gift shops as hazardous areas.
If a gift shop is deemed hazardous, the LSC and LS.02.01.30 require one of the following:
  • The area must be enclosed by a one-hour-rated fire barrier and three-quarter-hour-rated doors that self-close and latch, or
  • The areas must be protected by sprinklers and enclosed by smoke-resisting partitions and doors that self-close and latch
Look at the contents of your gift shops for clues, Keyes said. T-shirts, greeting cards, and stuffed animals all qualify as combustible materials, and surveyors are likely to consider shops containing these items to be hazardous areas, he said.
Editor’s note: If you missed our audio conference, you can still order a CD recording of the show or download an audio-on-demand file.

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