Gift Shops

Q: Are gift shops stilled classified as hazardous areas if they have quantities of combustibles? I do not see the standard for gift shops to be classified as hazardous areas in the 2012 addition.

A: Nope. The 2012 edition dropped the requirement that gift shops have to be considered hazardous areas that was found in previous editions.

Since the combustible items that are in gift shops (i.e. greeting cards, clothes, stuffed animals, etc.) are on display rather than ‘in storage’ they are not required to comply with of the 2012 LSC for hazardous areas. However, the storage room for gift shops still must comply with for hazardous areas.


Helium Tank/ ABHR Dispenser Location

Q: Can we have a helium tank if secured properly in gift shop? And what are requirements for hand sanitizer locations- location to switches or outlets?

A: Provided the tank is secured properly, and there is less than 300 cubic feet of compressed gas total in the Gift Shop, you may have a helium tank in the shop. The typical ‘H’ tank (which is approximately 9 inches in diameter and about 55 inches tall) contains 250 cubic feet, so 1 ‘H’ tank properly secured in the gift shop would be permissible (but only one tank). Joint Commission has changed their requirements to allow the Alcohol Based Hand Rub (ABHR) dispensers to be mounted no less than 1 inch side-to-side to an electrical outlet or an electrical switch. However, CMS is still on the definition of no less than 6 inches center-to-center between an ABHR dispenser and an electrical outlet or switch. Once the new 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code is adopted, then CMS will be on the same page as Joint Commission

Gift Shops

Q: Are hospital gift shops required to be treated as hazardous areas? We had a survey recently and the inspector said the entrance door to our gift shop needed to have positive latching hardware.

A: This is one of those “it depends” answers. Section of the 2000 Life Safety Code clearly states that gift shops are required to be treated as hazardous areas if they contain combustible items in quantities considered hazardous. Most hospital gift shops do contain items that are considered combustible, such as greeting cards, stuffed animals, clothing, and other items. The question is: Are they in sufficient quantities to be considered hazardous? This is a question that only an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) can answer. If an accreditation surveyor were to consider the combustible items in sufficient quantities to be a hazard, then the gift shop must be treated as a hazardous area. However, please be aware that there are more than one AHJ, and in most cases, an opinion of one AHJ does not have much bearing on the opinion of another AHJ. Therefore, I suggest that you be very conservative on this issue, and if your gift shop has any combustible items, then treat it as a hazardous room and all corridor doors must be positive latching. This would require either automatic sprinkler protection with smoke-resistant self-closing positive latching doors, or 1-hour fire rated walls with ¾-hour fire rated self-closing positive latching doors, or both if new. When a gift shop does not have combustible items on display or in storage, and does not exceed 500 square feet, and is fully protected by sprinklers, then it does not have to be treated as a hazardous area, meaning it could be open to the corridor.