Non-Medical Gas Manifolds

Q: I am aware that medical gas manifold systems have to meet the regulations of NFPA 99-1999 (NFPA 99-2005 for Joint Commission and CMS compliance), and there are specific requirements for a dedicated room, fire rated walls and doors, and dedicated exhaust. However, should a compressed gas cylinder manifold system of “Inergen”, which is used in a fire suppression system, meet the same NFPA 99 requirements for gas manifold rooms? The Inergen cylinders contain a non-flammable compressed gas.

A: Inergen, and other suppression products stored in compressed gas cylinders used in fire suppression systems do not qualify as a nonflammable medical gas, so it is not addressed in NFPA 99. Therefore, the requirements found in NFPA 99 for gas manifold systems, such as fire rated walls and doors, dedicated exhaust, etc., do not apply. However, where fire suppression systems other than automatic sprinklers are installed, section 9.7.3.1 requires compliance with the appropriate NFPA standards, such as NFPA 12 (CO2), NFPA 12A (Halon) and NFPA 2001 (Clean Agent). These standards have specific requirements for the cylinders, such as locating them as close to the hazard (or within the hazard) as possible, properly securing them, and preventing them from coming into contact with harsh chemicals or weather conditions.