Gas Fireplaces

imagesCAX8FCJWGas fireplaces inside a hospital, just doesn’t seem to be a good idea, at least not to me. I remember telling my COO at the hospital where I used to work that gas fired fireplaces are not allowed in a hospital by the Life Safety Code. He believed me until an architect told him I was wrong, that they were allowed, under certain conditions. The COO never forgot that and eventually had one included in the design of a new lobby for the hospital.

Now, I should not have lied, and I should have explained the risks involved with a gas fireplace, but I had a suspicion that he wouldn’t have listened to me anyway. In the same lobby renovation he included a water-wall feature that the infection control manager and the facility manager were dead-set against. Two bad decisions that should not have been made…. But what the heck. That’s life.


To be sure, gas-fired fireplaces are permitted in a hospital, under the following conditions:

  1. They must be vented to the outdoors. This means the ventless type of fireplaces are not permitted.
  2. They must be separated from patient sleeping areas by 1-hour fire rated barriers.
  3.  They must be equipped with a fireplace enclosure guaranteed against breakage up to 650 degrees F, which is constructed from heat tempered glass or other approved materials.
  4. Combustion air must be drawn in from the outside.
  5. Must be equipped with safety features to stop the flow of fuel in case of excessive temperatures.

The 2012 edition of the LSC has relaxed the rules of fireplaces and allows gas fireplaces in patient care areas, but not sleeping rooms. And the new code allows solid fuel fireplaces also. Isn’t that a kick in the grass?

I guess they call this progress.