Case study: Upgrading storage to meet NFPA 99 requirements
A hospital facility reached out to provide a study of two locations within a hospital facility where medical gases were being stored
A hospital facility (client) reached out to provide a study of two locations within a hospital facility where medical gases were being stored, including cryogenic fluids, nitrogen, oxygen, medical air, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.
Dewberry was asked to check that the storage methods were compliant, especially concerning:
- Types of gases stored in each room.
- Quantities of gases stored in each room.
- Ventilation requirements.
- Electrical requirements.
Dewberry was asked to check for oxygen sensors and alarms that would detect substantial displacement of oxygen by the unintentional release of gas in the room as well because these sensors and alarms could prevent potential asphyxiation.
The team assembled a report, which featured upgrades required to make the space meet gas storage room requirements of NFPA 99, NFPA 55 and local fire codes. The report was presented to facility administrators so they could make the necessary changes.
The proposed changes included a new exhaust fan (powered by the facility’s essential electrical system), low–wall exhaust inlet, new emergency lighting and new rated doors. It also advised upgrading/repairing rated walls, adding fire dampers and setting a quantity limit of gases. The client then requested a proposal for design documents for construction, which Dewberry delivered.
Although misses are common, in most cases, there is no intentionality on the part of health care facility professionals. More often, miscommunication arises between health care practitioners and facility managers responsible for meeting code requirements.
Conducting a storage audit at your facility and establishing standard for communications between these teams supports compliance with NFPA 99 and the health and safety of the teams.