On Sept. 23, 2023, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Medical Gas Resiliency Task Group finished its yearlong work to develop the “Manual for Recommended Practice for Medical Gas Resiliency,” now out for public comment. If you have not seen the document, head to https://bit.ly/3FDNm3Z and download a copy for review.
The task group consisted of various specialists from across the country to develop safe ways to supply medical gas systems.
The “Manual for Recommended Practice for Medical Gas Resiliency” is a comprehensive document providing guidance and best practices for ensuring the resiliency and reliability of medical gas systems in health-care facilities. Here’s a high-level overview of what this manual covers:
• Importance of Medical Gas Resiliency: The manual emphasizes the critical role of medical gases in health care as they are essential for patient care, diagnostics and life support systems.
It highlights the need for reliable medical gas systems to ensure patient safety and continuity of care during emergencies.
• Regulatory Compliance: The manual provides information on the various regulations and standards governing medical gas systems, including those from the National Fire Protection Association and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
It stresses the importance of adhering to these standards to meet safety and resiliency requirements.
• System Design and Layout: The manual discusses the design and layout considerations for medical gas systems, including the placement of source equipment, outlets, alarms and reserve sources.
It provides recommendations to ensure the design supports resiliency and redundancy.
• Risk Assessment and Mitigation: It covers risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and hazards in medical gas systems.
It outlines strategies for mitigating risks, such as designing redundant systems, ensuring proper ventilation and protecting against power failures.
• Emergency Preparedness: The manual delves into how important comprehensive emergency preparedness plans are for health-care facilities.
It addresses the need for backup power sources, emergency alarms and procedures to maintain a continuous supply of medical gases during power outages or other emergencies.
The manual covers how to navigate multiple pressures in a medical gas system.
• Testing, Inspection and Maintenance: It emphasizes the necessity of regular testing, inspection and maintenance of medical gas systems to ensure their ongoing functionality and reliability.
The manual provides guidelines for creating and implementing maintenance programs.
• Training and Education: Training and education of personnel involved in the operation, maintenance and emergency response related to medical gas systems are highlighted.
It offers recommendations for training programs and competencies.
• Documentation and Record-Keeping: Proper documentation and record-keeping are essential for tracking system maintenance, testing and other activities.
The manual discusses the records that health-care facilities should maintain.
• Risk Management and Liability: The manual touches upon the legal and liability aspects associated with medical gas systems.
It advises health-care facilities to have risk management and insurance strategies in place.
• Case Studies and Best Practices: The manual may include case studies and examples of best practices from health-care facilities to illustrate how medical gas resiliency is achieved.
Overall, the IAPMO medical gas manual is a valuable resource for health-care facility professionals, engineers and medical gas system designers. It provides a framework for creating and maintaining medical gas systems that are resilient and reliable, ensuring patients receive the necessary care, even in challenging circumstances and emergencies. Health-care facilities can use this manual to enhance their preparedness and improve patient safety.
By following the recommendations and best practices outlined in this manual, health-care facilities can enhance their preparedness and ensure the uninterrupted availability of essential medical gases, contributing to a safer and more resilient health-care environment.