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RULE §506.83Fire Safety Requirements

(a) Fire evacuation classification rating and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compliance. All documents published by NFPA as referenced in these rules may be obtained by writing or calling the NFPA, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 or (800) 344-3555.

  (1) An existing special care facility, which was licensed prior to the effective date of the rules, shall:

    (A) comply, at a minimum, with the edition of the National Fire Protection Association 101, Code for Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures, 2000 edition (NFPA 101), under which it was initially licensed, or

    (B) if classified as a health care occupancy, with NFPA 101, Chapter 19, 2000 edition; or

    (C) if classified as an occupancy other than a health care occupancy, NFPA 101, Chapter 33; or

    (D) if classified as an occupancy other than a health care occupancy, the applicable code as determined by the local fire authority.

  (2) A new special care facility shall be classified as a Limited Care Facility (LCF) or a Residential Board and Care Facility (RBCF).

    (A) A LCF, as the term is defined in §125.3(b)(1) of this title (relating to Occupancy Classification), shall be classified as a health care occupancy and shall comply with NFPA 101, Chapter 18.

    (B) For an RBCF, as the term is defined in §125.3(b)(2) of this title, the fire evacuation classification rating shall be determined based on the evacuation capability of the residents. A RBCF shall be designated as having an evacuation capability of prompt or impractical.

      (i) To be designated as prompt, all residents must be able to travel from their living unit to a central location, such as a lobby, living room or dining room area, on the level of the building where the fire exit to the outside of the facility is located, within a 13 minute period without continuous staff assistance. Elevators cannot be used as an evacuation route.

      (ii) A RBCF that is not able to meet all criteria specified in clause (i) of this subparagraph will be designated as impractical.

    (C) A RBCF with an evacuation capability of prompt shall be classified as a residential board and care occupancy, and must comply with NFPA 101, Chapter 32.

    (D) A RBCF with an evacuation capability rating of impractical shall be classified as a health care occupancy and must comply with subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(b) Fire protection. Fire protection shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 101, §12-7, and §125.91 of this title (relating to Construction Requirements). When required or installed, sprinkler systems for exterior fire exposures shall comply with NFPA 80A, Recommended Practice for Protection of Buildings from Exterior Fire Exposures, 1996 edition.

(c) Fire inspections.

  (1) Annual inspection. Approval of the fire protection of a SCF by the local fire department shall be a prerequisite for licensure.

  (2) Purpose of inspection. The purpose of these inspections shall be to ascertain and to cause to be corrected any conditions liable to cause fire or violations of any of the provisions or intent of these rules, or of any other applicable ordinances, which affect fire safety in any way.

  (3) Hazardous or dangerous conditions or materials. Whenever any of the officers, members, or inspectors of the fire department or bureau of fire prevention find in any building or upon any premises dangerous or hazardous conditions or materials, removal or remedy of dangerous conditions or materials shall be carried out in a manner specified by the head of the local fire department.

  (4) Access for inspection. At all reasonable hours, the chief of the fire department, the chief of the bureau of fire prevention, or any of the fire inspectors may enter any building or premises for the purpose of making an inspection or investigation which may be deemed necessary under the provisions of these rules.

(d) Fire reporting. All occurrences of fire shall be reported to the local fire authority and shall be reported in writing to the director as soon as possible but not later than 10 calendar days following the occurrence. Any fire causing injury or death to a resident shall be reported within 24 hours of incident.

(e) Smoking rules. Each SCF shall adopt, implement and enforce a smoking policy. The policy shall include the minimal provisions of NFPA 101, §18.7.4, or §32.7.4.

(f) Fire extinguishing systems. Inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire-fighting equipment shall be conducted by each SCF.

  (1) Water-based fire protection systems. All fire sprinkler systems, fire pumps, fire standpipe and hose systems, water storage tanks, and valves and fire department connections shall be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 1998 edition.

  (2) Range hood extinguishers. Fire extinguishing systems for commercial cooking equipment, such as at range hoods, shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Cooking Operations, 1998 edition.

  (3) Portable fire extinguishers. Every portable fire extinguisher located in a SCF or upon SCF property shall be installed, tagged, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 1998 edition.

    (A) Extinguishers in resident corridors must be spaced so that travel distance is not more than 75 feet. The minimum size of extinguishers must be either 2 1/2 gallon for water type of five pounds for ABC type. In large facilities, at least one portable Underwriters Laboratory or Factory Mutual-approved five-pound Class B:C dry chemical fire extinguisher, rechargeable type, is required in each laundry, kitchen and walk-in mechanical room.

    (B) Extinguishers must be surface wall-mounted or recessed in an approved cabinet where they are not subject to physical damage or dislodgement.

(g) Fire protection and evacuation plan. A plan for the protection of patients in the event of fire and their evacuation from the building when necessary shall be formulated according to NFPA 101, §18.7, or §32.7. Copies of the plan shall be available to all staff.

  (1) Posting requirements. An evacuation floor plan shall be prominently and conspicuously posted for display throughout the SCF in public areas that are readily visible to patients, residents, employees, and visitors.

  (2) Annual training. Each SCF shall conduct an annual training program for instruction of all personnel in the location and use of fire-fighting equipment. All employees shall be instructed regarding their duties under the fire protection and evacuation plan.

(h) Fire drills. The SCF shall conduct fire drills on a regular basis.

  (1) For existing facilities which were licensed prior to the effective date of these rules, fire drills shall be conducted at least quarterly.

  (2) New facilities shall conduct fire drills as follows:

    (A) A LCF shall conduct fire drills quarterly for each shift.

    (B) A RBCF shall conduct fire drills quarterly with not less than two drills conducted during the night when residents are sleeping.

      (i) The drills may be announced in advance to the residents.

      (ii) The drills shall involve the residents, family, and staff in accordance with the emergency plan.

      (iii) Residents shall be informed of evacuation procedures and locations of exits.

  (3) All fire drills shall be documented on a form. There shall be an evaluation of each drill with respect to the fire plan.

  (4) The fire drill for a new facility classified as a LCF or a RBCF shall include communication of alarms, and use of fire-fighting equipments. The LCF drill may include simulation of evacuation of patients.

  (5) When drills are conducted between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., a coded announcement may be used instead of audible alarms in a LCF.

(i) Fire alarm system.

  (1) For existing facilities which were licensed prior to the effective date of these rules, a fire alarm system must be provided only if required by local code, or under the applicable NFPA 101 occupancy category under which the facility was initially licensed.


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