PHE and Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer

As the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency comes to an end, many of the waivers that were put in place to help manage the crisis will also end. One of these waivers, which will expire on May 11, 2023, is the requirement for alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
To ensure that members are prepared for the end of this waiver, it's important to review the pre-pandemic guidance provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in its Life Safety Code. Specifically, NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (2012)* Alcohol-Based Hand-Rub Dispensers provides guidelines for the safe installation and use of alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers.
Scott Cyr, Fire Inspector  NFPA CFI-I of the Maine Fire Marshal Office shares some key point to keep in mind:
  1. Corridor width: If dispensers are installed in a corridor, the corridor must be at least 6 feet wide.
  2. Dispenser capacity: The maximum individual dispenser fluid capacity must be no more than 0.32 gallons (1.2 liters) for dispensers in rooms, corridors, and areas open to corridors, and no more than 0.53 gallons (2.0 liters) for dispensers in suites of rooms.
  3. Aerosol containers: If aerosol containers are used, the maximum capacity of the aerosol dispenser must be 18 ounces (0.51 kilograms), and the aerosol dispenser must be limited to Level 1 aerosols as defined in NFPA 30B.
  4. Spacing: Dispensers must be separated from each other by horizontal spacing of not less than 48 inches (1220 millimeters).
  5. Quantity: Not more than an aggregate 10 gallons (37.8 liters) of alcohol-based hand-rub solution or 1135 ounces (32.2 kilograms) of Level 1 aerosols, or a combination of liquids and Level 1 aerosols not to exceed, in total, the equivalent of 10 gallons (37.8 liters) or 1135 ounces (32.2 kilograms), shall be in use outside of a storage cabinet in a single smoke compartment.
  6. One dispenser per room: One dispenser complying with or (3) per room and located in that room shall not be included in the aggregated quantity addressed in
  7. Storage: Storage of quantities greater than 5 gallons (18.9 liters) in a single smoke compartment shall meet the requirements of NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.
  8. Installation locations: Dispensers shall not be installed above, to the side of, or beneath an ignition source within a 1-inch (25-millimeter) horizontal or vertical distance from the ignition source.
  9. Carpeted floors: Dispensers installed directly over carpeted floors shall be permitted only in sprinklered smoke compartments.
  10. Alcohol content: The alcohol-based hand-rub solution shall not exceed 95 percent alcohol content by volume.
  11. Operation: The dispenser shall be designed, constructed, and operated in a manner that ensures that accidental or malicious activation of the dispensing device is minimized. The dispenser shall be tested in accordance with the manufacturer's care and use instructions each time a new refill is installed.
As a reminder the PHE will end May 11, 2023.

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