Focus: Fire-Life Safety / Column

Regulations, Codes & Standards Q&A: Lactation pods

By Brad Keyes / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
August 7, 2019

Q: Our hospital recently purchased a few lactation pods like they have in airports. I can't help wondering if they need to have fire alarm notification devices and sprinklers. Has this been issue with any Joint Commission surveyors yet?

A: I can’t say that I’ve given this subject much thought. I am not aware that any surveyors have cited this issue so far. 

It would be my thinking that a Lactation Pod would be similar to the concept of a clothes closet as described in section of the 2012 LSC whereas sprinklers would not be required. But there is a maximum area allowed under that section of 6 square feet, and I don’t know if the Lactation Pod is under six square feet. 

I did contact CMS and asked them if they would require sprinklers in these pods and they replied in an informal communication and said they agreed that the lactation pods would be considered comparable to a portable wardrobe unit and would not require sprinklers to be installed in the pod.  

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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