When something goes wrong in a healthcare facility, it sparks a chain reaction. When a piece of equipment fails, or a structural component breaks under environmental stress, disaster can compound, rapidly spiraling out of control. If you are responsible for a healthcare facility, you have got to know for sure that you can handle the unexpected. 


With this in mind, the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Code, a federal document that outlines how healthcare facilities protect their patients, was updated in 2012. New mandates drastically changed how protection may best be provided. Before the 2012 update, protection was based on the facility’s occupancy type. Because modern building space is flexible, this model is no longer viable. Instead, a risk-based approach to patient safety is recommended. 


At Premier Fire Alarms & Integration Systems, Inc., we provide Miami-Dade County with the most reliable and up-to-date systems and services in the industry. Over the past 20 years, we have built a reputation through our commitment to ethics and our attention to compliance. We are here to make sure you are up to speed on the latest changes because we know that lives depend on it. 


Understanding The Risk-Based Approach

Instead of evaluating risk according to building type, the NFPA 99 mandates that risk be assessed based on the procedures performed and the services provided to patients at the facility. These key components allow hospitals increased flexibility, funneling resources where they are most needed. 


The Four Risk Categories

Every healthcare facility relies on equipment and systems before, during, and after medical procedures. But what happens when they fail? The risk posed by systems or equipment failure depends on its purpose, so the risk assessment is categorized. The categories are as follows: 

  • Category 1: Failure will likely result in severe injury or death to either the patient or the care provider 
  • Category 2: Failure could lead to a minor injury to either the patient or the care provider 
  • Category 3: Failure is unlikely to cause a lasting injury but could cause discomfort
  • Category 4: Failure is unlikely to cause any impact to either the patient or the care provider 


Putting Changes Into Practice

The changes to the NFPA 99 affect both new and existing construction. This means that all new and old construction, and the equipment housed within, must be categorized accordingly. But how should risk assessments be conducted? The NFPA does not provide specifics, instead, allowing the facility to use any viable risk assessment method with a documented and defined procedure. 


Many new facility owners wonder what is BDA. A BDA system is an emergency radio communication enhancement system that can help mitigate risk during a risk assessment. Not only are BDA systems imperative in emergency management, but they must also be installed in all buildings before January 1, 2022. 


Contact Us 

If you still have questions about the NFPA 99 risk-based approach to safety, our team at Premier Fire Alarms & Integration Systems, Inc. has the knowledge and experience to answer all of your questions. We have served the Miami-Dade County community for over 20 years, and we care about the safety of the people who live and work here daily. That is why we offer no-obligation assessments and quotes for buildings in our community. Call to schedule yours today.