Medical Gas Shutoff Valves

Q: I came across a medical gas shutoff valve that was located behind an access panel in a small storage closet in a surgery department. The closet was packed and equipment was blocking the access panel. There was no signage. Do you know if this is permitted or is it breaking a bunch of rules as it seems to me?

A: You are correct… This is way wrong. What you described is a zone valve and NFPA 99 (1999 edition) section 4-3.1.2.3 (d) requires zone valves to be readily operable from a standing position in the corridor on the same floor that it serves. Section 19.3.2.4 of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code requires the hospital to be in compliance with NFPA 99 for “medical gas storage and administration areas”. The phrase ‘administration areas’ is all inclusive of the medical gas supply system, which means you must comply with NFPA 99 even for existing conditions. My advice to you is to relocate the valve to the corridor in accordance with NFPA 99, and provide adequate signage as to the areas that it serves.