Q: During a recent survey, we were cited for not having a single-station smoke alarm in our hospital on-call staff sleeping rooms. Since this was cited, I have learned that these staff sleeping rooms are required to have single-station smoke alarms since they are considered a different occupancy (Lodging & Rooming House) and must meet section 184.108.40.206.1 of the 2012 LSC. But can I use the hospital smoke detector system in lieu of installing a battery-operated smoke alarm in these rooms?
A: Yes… According to section 220.127.116.11 of the 2012 LSC, smoke detectors connected to the building’s NFPA 72-2010 approved fire alarm system are permitted instead of installing the battery-operated smoke alarms. However, section 18.104.22.168.1.4 does say these system smoke detectors must be arranged to function in the same manner as single-station or multiple-station smoke alarms. The typical building system smoke detectors are detectors only and do not provide any occupant notification.
But the single-station smoke alarms provide both functions: Detection and occupant notification. Therefore, on a technical standpoint, the basic fire alarm system smoke detectors are not enough and some sort of occupant notification system must be provided. Now, having said that, I do know that some accreditation organizations are simply accepting a smoke detector in the on-call sleeping room without the inclusion of an occupant notification device. But, I am aware that some state agencies surveying on behalf of CMS do enforce the letter of the code and will cite you if you do not have an occupant notification device in the room.