Take the “Firedrill” out of Staying in Compliance:
Avoid the “one-side of the wall” firestop mistakes
In conversations with our Field Sales Reps the subject of tight hospital budgets keeps comes up often and is of major concern to many of you. Dealing with budget constraints makes staying in compliance with the firestop safety codes much more difficult. An affordable solution is a firestop maintenance program.
Delaying or otherwise not doing the necessary upgrades and maintenance of firestop systems may create the sudden need for major project work to be done immediately prior to a scheduled Joint Commission inspection. This can create some significant expense outlays, and be made even worse by overtime and other expenses associate with that type of last minute exercise. In addition, we know upper management doesn’t like this either – not to mention having to beat the inspection clock also adding to your daily headaches.
We’ve got some ideas that we have gleaned from talking with many of you at tradeshows and local ASHE meetings as well as day-to-day in your facilities. Here what others are doing and recommend you don’t do.
Implementing a Regular Firestop Maintenance Program
We have heard many stories of frenzied “all in one shot” “let’s get it all in compliance today” rushed projects before the inspectors show up “events.” Not only is this stressful, it is unnecessary. Many facilities are implementing a regular Firestopping Maintenance Program, either monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly — depending upon your budget and needs. Performing regular preventative maintenance and upgrading your current firestopping systems provides for more assured compliance and more importantly a safer facility. In addition, your Finance Department and upper management will be much happier if the bills are spread out – making it much easier to budget and fund.
Don’t Try and Save with Poor Quality
Many a facility manager have told us they wish they’d brought us in sooner. So they say, resist the temptation to bring it in house or employ contractors of questionable credentials in order to possibly save a few dollars. This can come back to bite you in the form of failed inspections and lack of facilities compliance with firestopping codes. Recently, we were at a facility that paid a local contractor to do their firestopping. As the Joint Commission was walking down the hallway, checking all the firestop work everything was looking good until he walked into a patient room. You guessed it, no firestopping at all on the other side of the wall…this was true throughout the facility. Ouch.
Make sure your Firestopping Contractor is licensed in your state and a member of FCIA (Firestop Contractors International Assoc) – FCIA contractors keep abreast of all the latest firestopping construction techniques, materials and thinking. Also, question how much you are saving and measure the quality of your results from an in-house DIY approach.
In our efforts to work with clients on keeping their facilities in compliance on an ongoing basis, PREVENT Life Safety Services has a quarterly or monthly firestopping program that you can sign up for. This enables you to spread the cost of these necessary safety upgrades over a longer period of time while maintaining the safety of your facility. Paying a premium for a “Rush- Job” can become a thing of the past.
Give us a call to discuss your budget and the timing of a regular firestop maintenance program.