December 8th, 2011, was the 50-year anniversary of a fire at Hartford Hospital which caused the death of 16 patients, staff, and visitors, and resulted in many important changes to code requirements for hospital construction. Connecticut Public Television has just released a video about the tragedy and the resulting code changes. Other than the statement “all patient room doors must have positively latching hinges,” it’s a great piece.
For the record, patient room doors are required to have positive latches, not roller latches which were once common in hospitals because of convenience. Because they will not keep the door latched against the pressure of a fire, roller latches are no longer allowed and all patient room doors were required to be retrofitted with positive latching hardware by March 2006.