CMS 1135 Waiver on Fire Drills
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Feb 23, 2021 12:00:00 AM
Q: Any thoughts as to when hospitals will resume performing traditional fire drills?
A: According to a CMS communication issued May 8, 2020, they stated:
COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Health Care Providers
The Trump Administration is taking aggressive actions and exercising regulatory flexibilities to help healthcare providers contain the spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). CMS is empowered to take proactive steps through 1135 waivers as well as, where applicable, authority granted under section 1812(f) of the Social Security Act (the Act) and rapidly expand the Administration’s aggressive efforts against COVID-19. As a result, the following blanket waivers are in effect, with a retroactive effective date of March 1, 2020 through the end of the emergency declaration.
Fire Drills: Due to the inadvisability of quarterly fire drills that move and mass staff together, we will instead permit a documented orientation training program related to the current fire plan, which considers current facility conditions. The training will instruct employees, including existing, new or temporary employees, on their current duties, life safety procedures and the fire protection devices in their assigned area.
So, to answer your question, you may continue to utilize a documented orientation training program in lieu of conducting routine fire drills as long as your organization has declared an emergency. Keep in mind, the dates your organization declared the emergency and then declared the emergency is over are documented and you will need to begin conducting fire drills effective on the date the emergency is declared over.