Iowa Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division

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  1. Question: When am I required to apply for a CMS Life Safety Code Waiver?

    Answer: For long term care facilities, all deficiencies that cannot be corrected within 30 days must have an approved waiver on file. For ICF-MR (Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded) surveyed under health care standards, all deficiencies that cannot be corrected within 60 days must have an approved waiver on file. Finally, all hospitals with deficiencies that cannot be corrected within 90 days must have an approved waiver on file.

    All requested waivers with completion dates 6 months or less can be approved by the State Fire Marshal's Office. All waiver requests with completion dates over six months must be approved by CMS (Kansas City Regional Office).

  2. Question: What information am I required to include on my plan of correction (for federal health care inspectors only)?

    Answer: Included in every statement of deficiencies packet (2567 form), a blue sheet with all required information for the plan of correction is given. If you have any questions about what to include on your plan of correction, please call Inspector Dan Wood at (515) 725-6161.

  3. Question: I have an approved life safety code waiver to correct a deficiency with a deadline that is about to expire. What am I required to do if we can't meet the waiver deadline?

    Answer: A new waiver is required to be submitted with all applicable information provided as to why more time is needed to correct the deficiency. The waiver will then be submitted to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) for approval or denial.

  4. Question: I want an inspector to come and conduct an inspection and issue a report so we know what needs to be done to open our building as a preschool. Is there a fee for this? How do I get an inspection set up?

    Answer: These types of inspections are called feasibility inspections and require a $100.00 inspection fee. An inspection can be set up with an inspector in your area. To see a listing of all inspector's counties and contact numbers, click the following link: State Fire Marshal Inspector Territorial Listing.

  5. Question: What are the minimum requirements for a fire watch?

    Answer: The person is dedicated, with no other job duties. They need to see all portions of the facility that are impaired. This requires access to all locked areas and may require going outside (canopies) or even poking their head up in the attic spaces. It must be documented and retained onsite. The person shall be responsible and knowledgeable concerning fire hazards and fire safety. They can be a volunteer or paid. Facility will need to notify the local fire department, and the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office.

  6. Question: Does the same person have to conduct the fire watch throughout the period that it is required?

    Answer: No. The duties can be split among different staff members. Staff can become complacent very quickly. Depending on the size/layout of the facility, it may take more than one person to cover one round.

  7. Question: Are checks required every 15 minutes, or every 30 minutes?

    Answer: The State Fire Marshal's Office requires a fire watch at minimum every 30 minutes during fire alarm and sprinkler system outages lasting more than 4 hours in a 24 hour period.

  8. Question: Do light fixtures in exit discharge areas have to be equipped with 2 light bulbs?

    Answer: Yes. NFPA 101, 2000 edition,, requires minimum illumination of 0.2 ft.-candle upon failure of any single lighting unit (bulb). However, the code does allow for multiple light fixtures to be used as long as the fixtures are close enough to allow overlapping light patterns.

    Note: The code defines exit discharge as “that portion of a means of egress between the termination of an exit (exit door) and a public way (street, parking lot, etc.)”

  9. Question: Do the lights in exit discharge areas have to be connected to our emergency generator and battery back up?

    Answer: No. NFPA 101, 2000 edition, requires emergency lighting be provided in all exit discharge areas to a public way. The back up power for the emergency lighting can be obtained one of two ways:

    a) The emergency lighting can be tied to the emergency generator. Generators are required to be inspected weekly and run under load monthly for a minimum of 30 minutes. Records shall be maintained for inspection purposes.

    b) The emergency lighting can be equipped with battery back up. The back up batteries shall be at minimum 90 minute rated and be tested monthly for 30 seconds and annually for 90 minutes. Records shall be maintained for inspection purposes.

  10. Question: Are extension cords permitted in buildings inspected by state fire inspectors?

    Answer: Extension cords are not permitted to be used in place of permanent wiring. Extension cords may be used on a temporary basis for classroom instruction, but the cord must be unplugged after classroom use.

  11. Question: Are electrical surge protectors permitted to be used in buildings inspected by state fire inspectors?

    Answer: To read the state fire marshal policy on surge protectors, please click on this link - Surge Protector Policy
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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated:06-14-2011 (JMR)