Celebrating the holidays in a healthcare organization can be an uplifting experience for both residents and staff. However, decorating can oftentimes lead to some unintended consequences. Here are some quick tips to help ensure your organization maintains a safe environment that is compliant with the Life Safety Code® this holiday season:
- Combustible decorations are only permitted if they are flame retardant or when they are in limited quantities such that the hazard of fire development and spread is not present. For example, a handful of holiday cards attached to a door can be considered a limited quantity. A door completely covered with holiday cards could be considered excessive. Section 220.127.116.11 of the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code® outlines the combustible decorations requirements in detail.
- Live Christmas trees are not permitted. Living trees in a balled condition with their roots protected in soil shall be permitted if they are maintained in a fresh condition and not allowed to become dry.
- Artificial Christmas trees are only permitted if they are labeled or identified as “flame retardant” or “flame resistive”. There are products that can be applied to artificial trees to meet this requirement.
- Use only UL listed holiday lights and wiring.
- Do not visually block egress, exit signage or any fire safety equipment with decorations. This includes fire alarm pull stations, visual fire alarm notification devices and fire extinguishers.
- Do not hang decorations from sprinkler heads.
- Do not use flame producing decorations including candles.
- Do not use extension cords to power decorations.
Finally, monitor decorations that are brought into the facility by residents, families and friends. Ensure anything electric is UL listed, is not heat producing and does not involve candles/flames. Otherwise, enjoy the decorations and the resulting holiday spirit!
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