Q: We have a physician on-call sleeping room inside our labor and delivery unit. A surveyor told us that we need audible smoke alarms in each on-call sleeping room. We have smoke detectors, but rely on staff waking up any sleeping physicians in the event of a fire alarm. Isn’t that good enough?
A: Well, the surveyor is correct, although most AHJs usually allow smoke detectors connected to the building fire alarm system as being sufficient. Non-patient sleeping rooms in the healthcare occupancy do require single-station smoke alarms, such as the battery powered type found in residential homes. They are not required to be inter-connected with other smoke alarms or the building fire alarm system. Your hospital has multiple occupancies inside the facility, such as Healthcare, Ambulatory Care, Business, Mercantile, and Hotels & Dormitory Occupancies. If you have chosen to have mixed occupancies rather than separated occupancies (at least in the case of the on-call sleeping rooms) then you have to comply with the most restrictive requirement of the multiple occupancies. In the case of the on-call sleeping rooms, section 126.96.36.199 of the 2000 LSC does require single-station smoke alarms. I would not install your building fire alarm occupant notification device (horn/strobe unit) as they are not required and are too costly. Just buy simple 9 volt residential style smoke alarms and install them no more than 12 inches below the ceiling. Put these devices on your PM schedule to have the batteries replaced once per year.