Hospitals are places of healing. At the same time, critical patient tools–like oxygen canisters—can, in the event of a fire, become disastrous. Fires can spread quickly through the specialized HVAC systems required by some hospital departments and can be accelerated by the very gases and compounds used to keep patients alive. When hospitals need to undergo construction, how can they keep their patients, staff, and visitors safe? Further, today’s hospitals often function as “anchor institutions”, centrally located near public transportation and commercial districts. A hospital fire could be disastrous not only for human life, but for the economic vitality of its resident community.
Section 1705 of the 2012 and later editions of the International Building Code (IBC) requires special inspections of firestop systems, fire-resistant joint systems, and perimeter fire-containment systems installed in high-rise buildings and in buildings defined as Risk Category III or IV, like hospitals. The proper installation of these critical life safety systems helps protect the building and its occupants against the spread of fire, heat, smoke, and toxic gases should a fire occur.
How can a hospital be certain that its contractors are using the correct systems and that those systems are properly installed? The system components and installation procedures are critical to the success of a firestop installation. Engaging with expert inspectors can help ensure that the system was installed properly and in accordance with IBC requirements. Firestop systems, fire-resistant joint systems, and perimeter fire-containment systems should be inspected to ASTM requirements as specified by the IBC.
Hippocrates once implored medical professionals to do no harm. Today’s hospitals and hospital systems have an increased duty to their patients and to the communities surrounding them. As adoption of the 2012 and later IBC increases, ensuring compliance with firestop special inspection requirements is an important step toward demonstrating increased fire protection safety.
To find out more about UL’s Firestop Inspection Service, contact Fire.Inspection@UL.com or (480)290-6987