Do medical gas cylinders have to be protected from direct sunlight?

NOTE: All references taken from NFPA 99 – 2012 edition

We get this question from customers with medical gas manifolds installed outdoors sometimes. NFPA 99 addresses this question directly in chapter 11 where it talks about protecting gas cylinders stored outdoors:

Note: sub-paragraph (3) Cylinders stored in the open shall be protected as
(1) Against extremes of weather and from the ground beneath
to prevent rusting
(2) During winter, against accumulations of ice or snow
(3) During summer, screened against continuous exposure
to direct rays of the sun in those localities where extreme
temperatures prevail

If you have a gas manifold installed outdoors then you need to ask yourself this question: am I in a location where extreme temperatures prevail?  If the answer is yes then you should take steps to protect those gas cylinders from direct sunlight, if the answer is no then maybe you’re fine.  Keep in mind that the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) will ultimately determine if you’re in a location where extreme temperatures prevail.  It may be worth asking your AHJ what they think if you have the relationship with them where that is feasible.

Sub-paragraph (1) & (2) from this reference should not be ignored either.  Rust on cylinders is a common problem so ensure that your concrete pad is well drained and free of dirt & mud.  Ice & snow buildup can be a major issue in the northern states, being diligent and keeping the pad clear so that it can be navigated by personnel is important after a big snowstorm.

If you have any further questions regarding outdoor cylinder storage or any other aspect of NFPA 99 please give us a call at 1-888-256-EMGS (3647)

Rebuilding Amico & Beacon Medaes Outlets (Series B style, Diamond style quick connect)

When you have a hospital of any age it is likely that you probably have outlets manufactured by more than one company. When this happens you may get outlet repair parts mixed up especially in the case of Amico and Beacon (Series B) style outlets. If you’ve ever rebuilt the latch valve of one of these outlets and noticed that you fixed the leak but created a flow problem (low or no flow) the reason is because of the dust cap used by Amico and Beacon Medaes.

At first glance they appear to be identical, but upon further inspection you will notice subtle differences in each one. Amico has two different styles that come in their standard repair kit, a white cap and a gray cap. The gray cap can be put aside because we are talking specifically about Ohmeda/Medaes Diamond style quick connect outlets. The gray dust cap is specifically for Chemetron (Allied Healthcare) style vacuum inlets.

In the picture below you will note a couple of key differences. The front of the Beacon Medaes dust cap has three lines that meet in the middle to form a triangle. The Amico dust cap is flat with no texture. If you look at the back you will notice another key difference and this is what can cause flow issues. The Amico has a raised portion on the inside front of the dust cap, but the raised portion is solid. The Beacon Medaes dust cap also has a raised portion but it is hollow and has a hole in the middle, this allows the brass poppet to seat slight further within the barrel than on the Amico latch valve. That is why mixing the dust caps can cause no flow issues when Amico dust caps are used on Beacon Medaes outlets.

The moral of the story is be sure to keep your outlet parts segregated and use the appropriate manufacturer repair parts for each individual outlet or inlet.





NFPA 99 Zone Valve Labeling – New Construction vs. Existing Facilities

Zone Valve Box

There are two types of zone valve references that address labeling in NFPA 99 (2012 edition). One is for new construction projects which is located here:

  • Zone valves shall be labeled in accordance with
  • Shutoff Valves.
  • Shutoff valves shall be identified with the following:
    (1) Name or chemical symbol for the specific medical gas or
    vacuum system
    (2) Room or areas served
    (3) Caution to not close or open the valve except in emergency
  • Where positive pressure gas piping systems operate at
    pressures other than the standard gauge pressure of 345 kPa to
    380 kPa (50 psi to 55 psi) or a gauge pressure of 1100 kPa to
    1275 kPa (160 psi to 185 psi) for nitrogen or instrument air, the
    valve identification shall also include the nonstandard operating


The other reference is for existing facilities (which apply during projects such as the annual testing we perform), and that reference is located here:

(NOTE: The * next to Valves indicates that there is additional information available in the annex material. The annex isn’t “technically” enforceable however many inspectors do not seem to care because they enforce items out of the annex all of the time. Zone valves aren’t directly mentioned in this section of chapter 5, just in the annex of chapter 5.)

  • General. The elements in through
    5.1.15 shall be inspected or tested as part of the maintenance
    program as follows:
    (8)*Valves — labeling

The * refers to:

  • A. Additional inspections for zone valves include
    the following:
    (1) Locations (relationship to terminals controlled)
    (2) Leaks
    (3) Labeling
    (4) Housekeeping around alarm

EMGS Hosts Medical Gas Expo

Our 2013 Medical Gas Expo & Educational Seminar was a huge success! It was held at the AmericasMart in Atlanta, GA on March 21st. Over 40 hospital personnel, engineers, and other medical industry professionals were in attendance.

President and CEO of EMGS, Tot Darden presented on the 2012 edition NFPA 99 code changes.

Guest speaker Jaime Valdivia with NITC spoke on the ASSE credentialing standards. Jaime has 29 years of experience as a craftsman of the plumbing and pipefitting industry. He has held a medical gas installer credential since 1987 by completing a four year apprenticeship program. Jaime holds certifications as a Journeyman plumber, Journeyman pipefitter, Master Plumber, Foreman, and for Green Awareness and also possesses a Los Angeles City Plumber license. Jaime is a graduate of the United Associations Instructor Training Program and he is former instructor of the Apprentice and Journeyman program in Southern California. He earned an Associate in Applied Science as an Honors graduate in the field of Industrial Training and acquired a Bachelors of Arts in Labor Education from the National Labor College.

Matt Nimershiem with Lokring shared his expertise on Lokring fittings in medical gas systems. Matt has been with Lokring for 20 years, and is considered by the company to be their medical gas specialist. Matt has been involved with the medical gas industry since the introduction of the product to the NFPA 99 committee and was instrumental in the usage of Lokring at the recently completed Walter Reed Military Medical Center project in Bethesda, MD. Matt holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Virginia Tech and is a member of ASHE, ASME, and ASNE.

Joseph Messina, Plumbing Section Manager for HDR Architecture,  was another guest speaker. He spoke on Chapter 8 of NFPA 99. He has more than 35 years of engineering experience, in the design and engineering of plumbing systems with an expertise in research facilities, hospitals, detention facilities and civic. Joseph is very active in the Atlanta Chapter of ASPE, serves as VP of Education on the chapter board, and is on the ASPE Educational Committee. He has also authored the Designers Notebook column in the Plumbing System and Design Magazine.

With 25 years of experience with the design, marketing and services of air compressor and vacuum pump systems for medical, research, and industrial facilities Don Goggans with Powerex was able to conclude our forum with his knowledge on source equipment for labs & hospitals. Don has been a member or speaker of Medical Gas Professional Healthcare Organization, American Society of Plumbing Engineers, and American Society of Healthcare Engineers.

We are very appreciative that all of these well-informed men got to share their invaluable ingenuity, and be a part in our educational forum.

Please make plans to join us for future educational seminars. Contact Terri Clayton for further information at 770-459-5920.

Risk Assessment Services

When patients and doctors are dependent upon medical gas equipment for
their safety, nothing becomes more important than ensuring said equipment is
functioning perfectly.

EMGS, Inc. offers risk assessment services and consulting to your hospital
personnel. We can carefully craft a user-friendly report to provide to your staff
displaying the potential hazards and failures of the equipment they are in charge
of maintaining. This report will document the common causes of equipment issues,
and the control measures that can be put in place to prevent these issues. We will
also show who is typically responsible for ensuring these measures are attended to.

This report will prove invaluable to your staff. Let EMGS, Inc. help put you on the
path to superior safety and performance so the doctors and nurses can rest easy in
providing care to their patients.