Generator Signaling Requirements
Date: May 21, 1999 -- DSL-BQA-99-007
To: Nursing Homes NH - 3,
Community Based Residential Facilities CBRF - 3,
Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled FDD
From: Rita Prigioni, Interim Director, Bureau of Quality Assurance
NURSING HOMES AND FACILITIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED
Bureau of Quality Assurance Life Safety Code surveyors have observed that facilities
with emergency generators do not have a means of alerting staff of problems with the
emergency generator. Although we have noted this problem, we are not currently citing this
as a deficiency in older facilities.
In reviewing the National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code (LSC)
requirements, we have determined that the requirement for remote notification of trouble
has been in place since the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) adopted the 1967
edition of the LSC as a certification requirement on October 28, 1971.
The LSC references the National Electric code for annuciation function. Compliance with
the National Electrical Code (NEC) has also been a continuing requirement of the State of
Wisconsin Building Code.
In reviewing the 1965/1968 edition of the NEC, we find the requirement for annunication
(derangement) in Article 700-12 (NEC):
700-12. Derangement Signals. Audible and visual signal devices shall be provided where
practical for the following purposes:
(a) To give warning of derangement of the emergency or auxiliary source.
(b) To indicate that the battery or generator set is carrying load.
(c) To indicate when the battery charger is functioning properly.
We have determined that compliance with this requirement may be accomplished for
minimal cost. We have also received a formal interpretation from NFPA which indicates a
single warning light and audible sound at a 24-hour nursing station or 24-hour supervised
work station would be acceptable in meeting this requirement in existing buildings.
Nursing home facilities constructed after June 1, 1976, which must meet the 1973 or
1981 or 1985 or 1991 edition of the NFPA 101 Code are required to have a generator warning
system. The warning system shall be in accordance with NFPA 76, NFPA 99, NFPA 110, and the
National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) referenced by the edition of the code under which the
building was built.
ANNUNCIATOR REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW/REPLACEMENT GENERATORS
Please note that any new or replacement generator has to meet the requirements of the
1991 edition of the LSC. This requires compliance with the edition of NFPA 99, NFPA 70 and
NFPA 110 referenced in the LSC, which will indicate the standards for complete warning
systems for generator sets. The warning panels are to be located at 24-hour staffed
locations. The signals can be extended to include the nursing station. It should also be
noted that the plans for the new installation would have to be submitted to the Bureau for
approval prior to the beginning of construction.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR CBRFs
Community based residential facilities (CBRFs), which are not on municipal water
systems, may require a generator to provide back-up power to a fire pump connected to the
water storage system for the sprinkler system. When back-up power is required, signals to
indicate malfunction for these generators are required.
GENERATOR TESTING FOR YEAR 2000 READINESS
As a part of Year 2000 readiness, all providers are expected to test and ensure that
all of their equipment, including the generator, annuciator and related devices, will
continue to be operational into the next millennium.
If you have any questions regarding new installation, please contact your BQA engineer.
Romaine Anderson, Western Regional Office (Eau Claire),
Ganesh Shrestha, Southeastern Regional Office (Milwaukee),
Keith Weitner, Southeastern Regional Office (Milwaukee),
George Gunderson, Southern Regional Office (Madison), (608) 243-2376
Kevin Joyce, Northeastern Regional Office (Green Bay),
John Rutt, Northern Regional Office (Rhinelander), (715) 365-2803
Tom Ankeny, Central Office (Madison), (608) 243-2029
Jon Cechvala, Central Office (Madison), (608) 243-2037
Ron Hoffland [replaced by Richard Batchelder,
Milwaukee, (414) 220-5306]
David Soens, Central Office (Madison), (608) 261-5993
Lynn Wallace, Central Office (Madison), (608) 243-2069
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