James W. Moore, PE / Brandon D. Enevold, PE / Kjersten E. Kuhta, PE Dylan J. Cunningham, PE / Jacob L. Deering, PE / Joel R. Enevold, PE / Anthony Schoen, PE
The Fire Marshall has been citing facilities throughout the State of Washington due to compliance concerns relating to the fuel storage requirements outlined in the 2010 version of NFPA 110, as adopted by the 2012 version of NFPA 99. In many cases, this citation does not necessitate correction, as it may be addressed using an alternate compliance path.
Several factors should be researched and considered prior to implementing revisions to bring your existing fuel storage system up to the current code requirements:
1. Under which approved code versions was your fuel storage system originally constructed and what were the specific requirements within those codes? Does your fuel storage system meet those requirements? Many codes do not require retroactively upgrading your facility to meet new requirements, as long as your facility met the codes that were in place during the original construction.
2. Review the specific code section referenced in the citation to confirm whether or not those requirements are applicable to your facility. Applicability to the type of facility (i.e. new construction or an existing facility) can be found at the beginning of each chapter, under the Applicability section. When reviewing applicability, or any portion of NFPA, ensure that all applicable Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) issued for the NFPA code you are reviewing are included. TIAs can be found on the NFPA website.
a. For a fuel storage citation, Chapter 6 – Electrical Systems in the 2012 version of NFPA 99 contains the requirement to reference the 2010 version of NFPA 110 for fuel storage.
Section 6.1 – Applicability in NFPA 99 does not list the fuel supply section (Section 188.8.131.52.15) as a retroactive requirement applying to existing facilities.
3. Does your Emergency Preparedness Plan detail the use of fuel delivery as a means for obtaining the required fuel amounts? Tag E-0041 of the Emergency Preparedness Rule is the specific tag which applies to the utilization of fuel delivery in lieu of only having on-site fuel storage. Some of the major items this tag requires to be identified within the plan are as follows:
a. The plan indicates after how many hours you will evacuate your facility upon fuel delivery failure.
b. You must provide, as part of the emergency plan, a signed contract by a fuel supplier.
c. The contract and emergency plan must be reviewed and updated annually.
In summary, if you have received a recent citation for fuel storage, or any other citation indicating your facility is not in compliance with current code requirements, the above steps could be taken prior to implementing changes to your facility. These steps may result in determining that the citation is not applicable to your facility, potentially reducing or eliminating disruptive and costly changes. Additionally, a good starting point to any citation is contacting your Department of Health Reviewer, Fire Marshall, or whomever made the citation to ensure that all parties are on the same page throughout the process. Sometimes citations can be talked through from the beginning without additional action. Although your facility may not be required to update various components in response to a citation or updated code requirements, codes and standards have evolved over the years to continually improve the health, safety, and experience of the environment of care your facility provides to your patients and staff. Each aspect of your facility should be carefully analyzed and reviewed to ensure it is accomplishing your mission. This, in part, can be achieved by updating your facility to meet or exceed the requirements of new codes and the recommendations of applicable standards. This type of evaluation by an external engineering or architectural consultant will assist in developing a path forward to align your facility with your long term goals. If any more detailed questions or insight on your facility arises, please do not hesitate to contact me for clarification or information.
Anthony Schoen, PE, HFDP