the NFPA 2012 codes referenced in this K Tag 712 for me – and let me know if there is any requirement that states that the fire drills must be conducted at least two hours apart from the previous drill for that shift?
For those that may be following this discussion and not knowing exactly what is being discussed. Let's look at K 712.
Is any requirement that states that the fire drills must be conducted at least two hours apart from the previous drill for that shift?
My Answer: No.
Now let's see what Section 126.96.36.199 interpretive guidance says:
A.188.8.131.52 Many health care occupancies conduct fire drills without disturbing patients by choosing the location of the simulated emergency in advance and by closing the doors to patients’ rooms or wards in the vicinity prior to initiation of the drill. The purpose of a fire drill is to test and evaluate the efficiency, knowledge, and response of institutional personnel in implementing the facility fire emergency plan. Its purpose is not to disturb or excite patients. Fire drills should be scheduled on a random basis to ensure that personnel in health care facilities are drilled not less than once in each 3-month period. Drills should consider the ability to move patients to an adjacent smoke compartment. Relocation can be practiced using simulated patients or empty wheelchairs.
From my Life Safety Code surveyor experience, during my review if the fire drill records over a one year period revealed a consistent time of day in a shift and and an interview revealed the scheduling of the drills were not conducted randomly, a citation may be supported. Typically I would have cited K 712 if the records show a consistency of drills conducted near a shift break (3 PM) and the responsible staff said the medical staff of both shifts were available in the facility so the evening shift drills were conducted at the same time. I was looking for randomness of drill schedule that avoided the hour before or after the shift breaks so the medical staff had no possible expectation of an upcoming drill. False alarms should be counted as an actual fire event as they are very unexpected. The event can be counted as a drill to evaluate the staff response to the alarm.
I concur with Milton. Neither TJC nor CMS have a prescriptive standard that can be cited mandating a minimum time between drills.
It's not uncommon to see back-to-back drills before and after a shift change, i.e. 3rd to first,1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd. Killing two birds with one stone too often sets up staff to anticipate the second drill is coming which defeats the intended purpose.
In organizations with more than one building where each buildings alarms individually we tend to see multiple drills on each shift because of the need to drill each building individually. Occasionally, we also see multiple drills in the same building on the same shift because the fire alarm system is configured where only certain floors go into alarm and thus only the floors where the alarm is annunciated are actually participating in the drill.
Just to be sure we haven't overlooked anything can you please clarify what you mean by "two hours apart from the previous drill for that shift"?
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