What is the most cited firestop infraction in healthcare facilities?
A significant percentage of Joint CommissionAn independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards. More info at http://www.jointcommission.org/ findings are firestop related. Of these, the most cited infractions center around improperly or non firestopped cables. When you stop and consider the miles of cable in a facility, the number of daily cable moves, adds, and changes, and the number of contractors working in a facility, it really isn't surprising that there is firestop compliance issue. So, what can a facility manager do?
First and foremost manage your barriers.
To stay compliant someone needs to keep track of what penetrations are being made, by who, and when. More importantly, those making the penetrations must be responsible for firestopping. Believe it or not, managing your fire barriers is a daily on-going program. This is not as ominous as it sounds! You can develop your own manual protocol for permitting barriers or choose one such as BMP. A more advanced electronic version, eBMP can not only help manage penetrations in fire barriers but manage door and fire damper inspections. eBMP chooses the correct UL system and issues the permit. It uses an advanced facility mapping and bar coding system to quickly and easily identify and locate penetrations. This saves time and money spent on a ladder lifting ceiling tiles. As importantly it supports better patient privacy, infectious control, and keeps rooms available.
Specify products and UL systems designed specifically for cables.
Since data cables are moved, added, or changed constantly do not seal them with caulk that hardens and cannot be easily removed. Removable non-hardening puttyFirestopping, non-hardening, compound designed to seal through-penetrations as well as certain membrane penetrations against the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gasses. is a better choice for cable filled sleevesA Liner, generally metallic, used to create an annulus for or around the penetrants. May be placed into concrete as it is poured or may be placed around a penetrant and inserted into a wall as it is erected.. PillowsFirestopped pillows or cushions that are installed in unusual openings by compressing and stacking to fill voids on every side. They expand to fully seal the openings during smoke and fire. are a better choice for bulk cable applications such as cable trays penetrating fire barriers. By far the best choice is a fire rated pathway. A fire rated pathway allows cables to be removed and added more quickly and easily and can often pay for itself in a couple of cable changes. When choosing fire rated pathway make sure there is no firestop to remove or reinstall and the deviceFactory-assembled firestop items such as firestop collars or cast-in concrete devices that create completely firestopped openings without creating additional penetrations or core drilling. does not need to be opened and closed. Pathways with these features are not truly zero maintenance and can easily become non-compliant.
This expert advice section has been developed with the help of designers, installers, inspectors and firestop manufacturers. It is a compilation of frequently asked questions on firestop technology, code compliance, UL system information and installation recommendations. We welcome your questions and/or suggestions for additional content.