Security Cameras in Stairwells

Q: Can I install security cameras in stairwells

A: You can…. But be prepared to remove them. Many Accreditation Organizations (AOs) and most states who survey on behalf of CMS do not allow cameras in stairwells. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) Section 7.1.3.2.1(10) of the 2012 Life Safety Code does not permit new penetrations into the exit enclosure that does not serve the exit enclosure (with some exceptions). Many AHJs believe security cameras serve the facility and not just the exit enclosure; and 2) The concept of exit enclosures is to provide a clean environment that is free of any device that does not serve the purpose of the stairwell. The purpose of the stairwell is to evacuate people from the building in the event of an emergency. The security camera does not serve that purpose… a security camera monitors the activity of the people.

Anyway… I’m in favor of security cameras in stairwells, but my opinion does not matter, and many AHJs do not permit them. So, perhaps it would be best to not install them.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.