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From the C&A Classroom: Assuring a Safe Infrastructure

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From the C&A Classroom: Assuring a Safe Infrastructure: Current Environment of Care, Life Safety and Emergency Management Requirements & Challenges

This month Senior Consultant at Courtemanche & Associates, Marty Piepoli, presented a webinar focused on the current Environment of Care, Life Safety and Emergency Management requirements and challenges. He shared examples of tools that are effective in identifying and tracking EC/ LS and EM systems and processes as well as building features, provided a visual tour demonstrating “dos” and “don’ts” of life safety and the key importance of documentation.

Risk Assessments are one type of tool that can guide your organization to clarity on vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement. Marty encourages that a pro-active risk assessment be done to assess the effectiveness of the environment at least annually and to engage leadership about what is key and what is a risk. Another type of assessment, the facility-wide risk assessment, is an examination of the organization’s physical environment to identify hazards and estimate the potential impact of those hazards on people, equipment or buildings and grounds. When reviewing these assessments, ask:

  • Have there been any changes?
  • Are there improvements still needed?
  • Have workers reported a problem?
  • Is new information such as accidents/near misses, industry standards and regulations available?

In addition to sharing types of tools that can be used, Marty took participants on a virtual tour of buildings and equipment that either met or exceeded standards, as well as areas where there were trouble spots. He gave the example of how critical it is to have current electrical systems and processes for demarking breakers when there are issues. He shared an example of how to properly store and manage oxygen tanks and he emphasized the importance of maintaining egress.

So much of what Marty had to share comes back to the fact that surveyors will be looking for thorough evidence that an organization is in compliance with current life safety code as well as all other pertinent regulatory agencies. The key to demonstrating compliance is documentation. Marty says, “The organization of documentation really impacts flow and sends a strong message to the surveyor about the degree of communication your organization enacts and that you take regulatory and accreditation processes seriously.” It is also critical to have documentation current and well organized. Marty explains, “the purpose of Fire and Life Safety related documentation is to demonstrate that the building and surrounding environment is safe.”   Some examples of Fire and Life Safety documentation include:

  • Fire alarm testing
  • Fire drills
  • Emergency and standby power systems
  • Medical gas systems

To learn more about the Life Safety Code, Marty shared that TJC has done a great job of partnering with ASHE, providing a physical environment portal that shares information about key issues that organizations face. For more information about the portal, click here.

In summary, conducting a risk assessment will provide you key information that you can use to make real, systemic change in your organization. Learning about vulnerabilities, addressing issues, engaging leadership are all outcomes of a good assessment process. Know the Life Safety Code and what you need to do to be sure your organization is in compliance. Marty emphasized, “Safety needs to be everyone’s priority.”

 Coming Up:

Pre-recorded Webinar to be Released October 19, 2015

The Latest News from the Road: An Update on TJC Survey Process & Requirements
This is the critical year-end update sharing the highlights from TJC’s Executive Briefings. By the end of this session, you will be able to identify how surveyors are viewing current challenges and new requirements.

Visit C&A’s all-new eClassroom to learn about our latest online course offerings.

Jill Ryan

Author Jill Ryan

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