EM Lights in MRI

Q: I have a question on the requirement for the battery backup lighting inside the MRI suites. We are in the process of building two new MRI centers and I am receiving a lot of push back from the Project Engineer.

This engineering group specializes in MRI projects and they tell me they never install battery backup lighting and that NFPA 99 does not require battery backup lighting anywhere outside of an operating room. I was told to reference 6.3.2.2.11.2 of NFPA 99-2012 which specifically mentions operating rooms. My reply was that 6.3.2.2.11.1 does not specify only operating rooms so it is much broader in scope and since we use anesthesia in the MRI it would be required.

Before I stir up the pot anymore with the engineering firm I wanted to make sure that if Anesthesia is being used in the MRI room that emergency battery backup lighting should be in place.

A: Yes, you are correct. NFPA 99-2012, section 6.3.2.2.11.1 requires one or more battery-powered lighting units within locations where deep sedation and general anesthesia is administered. That includes MRI areas, Cath Lab areas, and of course, Operating Rooms and Procedure rooms. ICUs and NICUs would typically not be included.

Just because the project engineer from the contractor has never been told to install battery-powered lighting units before does not preclude the fact that it is a requirement and it is enforced by CMS and the Accreditation Organizations. The engineer is mistaken.