Q: We have a large hospital with over 1.5 million square feet. We are fully sprinkled and would like to remove our occupant use fire hoses. It has been determined that we will not use these fire hoses in the event of fire, and the local fire department will not use them either. I have asked the Fire Marshal in our city for a letter granting permission to remove them and he refused stating he cannot find a standard allowing a hospital to remove fire hoses. My question is: Do we need his blessing to remove the hoses or can we do so without his permission?
A: The Life Safety Code only requires standpipe systems for new high-rise hospitals, according to section 18.4.2 of the LSC. That refers you to section 11.8, where section 188.8.131.52 requires a Class I standpipe system for new high-rise buildings in accordance with section 9.7. Section 184.108.40.206 requires a standpipe system and a 2½ inch hose connection compliant with NFPA 14, to supply water for use by fire departments and those trained in handling heavy fire streams. Class I standpipe systems do not require the installation of fire hoses of any size or intended use.
For all other hospitals that are not considered new high-rise buildings, standpipe systems (and occupant use fire hoses) are not required by the LSC. Removing existing occupant use fire hoses constitutes an alteration of the building and/or fire safety equipment, and section 4.6.7 requires alterations to meet the requirements for new construction. Therefore, from a NFPA Life Safety Code perspective, the existing occupant use fire hoses could be removed since they are not required for either new or existing. However, that alone does not give you the authority or permission to remove them.
A local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), such as a city Fire Marshal has the responsibility to inspect your facility to all applicable codes, standards and ordinances. Your municipality may have higher standards than what is required by the Life Safety Code. My advice is to negotiate with the Fire Marshal and show them that the Life Safety Code does not require the occupant use fire hoses. In other words, it is far better to keep the fire hoses and test or replace them every 3 – 5 years than to upset the Fire Marshal and make an enemy. I think in the long run you will be better served to keep that person as a friend.