Q: I am a healthcare consultant working mostly with home health and hospice clients. I have recently picked up two facilities that are smaller hospitals and am utterly clueless when it comes to Life Safety Code issues. I, and another long-time nurse who is somewhat more familiar than I am with issues have been struggling with keeping up. Being that I am a nurse and do not know a damper valve from an air conditioning duct, is the learning curve too steep? Is there a book written for real people – like me – that walks through the required testing, the intervals at which stuff should be tested and how the testing should be documented? Finally, one hospital was cited for the lack of an inventory. Got any advice on how I can construct one and what needs to be on there? I am hoping you will be able to tell me that there is a three day seminar a non-mechanical nurse can attend and return from an expert on all things life safety. Any luck with that?
A: No… I’m sorry to say there is no magic 3-day seminar to provide a rookie with adequate training on the Life Safety Code to conduct an adequate assessment. The Life Safety Code is very complicated and convoluted and it would take years of day-to-day application to begin to understand the nuances of the code.
However, if you are interested, I would recommend the following resources:
- Joint Commission Resources seminars on EC Base Camp and Life Safety Chapter training.
- ASHE seminars on Life Safety Code
- NFPA seminars on Life Safety Code
- Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp
All of the above are excellent starts to begin your second career as a Life Safety consultant. But you would need to back it up with on-the-job training for years to begin to understand the code. For now, my recommendation is for you to sub-contract with a life safety expert consultant to perform a life safety assessment at your client’s hospital.