Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Electrical receptacles

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
August 28, 2019

Q: I work in a hospital that was recently cited for having electrical receptacles in the stairwells, citing NFPA 101-2012, section 7.1.3.2.3. Are receptacles in stairwells not allowed? Please note that the devices are not used, and there is no equipment that is plugged into them or blocking the egress pathway.

A: I can understand the logic in the surveyor’s citation. No, there is not a specific standard that says electrical receptacles are not permitted in the stairwells, but what are they there for? If someone came along and plugged a cord into the outlet now that becomes an impediment to egress in the rare case if the stairwells needed to be used for emergency egress. 

I think it is a legitimate finding and you should remove the receptacles and install a blank cover over the electrical box.  

Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.

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