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Safe Quantity of Open Medical Gas Storage in a Smoke Compartment

NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, allows a volume of up to 300 ft3 of medical gases (normally oxygen) to be stored outside of a dedicated storage enclosure. This is typically considered to be up to 12 E‐sized cylinders. Those which are “in‐use” or “available for immediate use” do not need to be considered in determining the volume. If these are also considered, the actual volume of gas in cylinders in the open can quite well exceed 300 ft3. The reasoning for the maximum of 300 ft3 does not seem to be based on any specific research. Further, what counts towards this volume and how to count it is not clear. To add confusion, many facilities keep these cylinders separated under designations of “empty” “partial” and “full.” A hazard analysis and risk assessment is needed to clarify and determine the appropriate allowance for a volume of medical gas allowed outside of storage within a smoke compartment.

Research goal: This project seeks to determine the safe quantity of open medical gas storage in a smoke compartment through a literature review. The information collected through this research will provide information to the NFPA 99 Technical Committee on Medical Equipment.