Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Prevention - Part 74

Posted by LWF: 07/05/2019 15:07

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 73, LWF looked began to look at fire prevention, what it is and how it can be maintained, and in part 74, we will continue from that point. 

While fire safety is important in all locations of a healthcare venue, it is the case that some areas will have a higher fire loading and pose a greater fire risk. At the planning stage, it is therefore important that areas such as laboratories, pharmacies, gas stores, kitchens, laundries, boiler houses, workshops, stores and shops in foyers are located separately to patient and staff areas. Where this is not possible, particular attention must be given to structural fire protection, fire alarms, fire suppression and fire prevention measures, some of which may be necessary no matter the location. 

Physical fire prevention measures can be put into place and maintained, but some of the most important fire prevention tools are not physical. It is important that the fire risk is recognised from the increasing possibility of arson and that the staff apply good house-keeping practices at all times.

Smoking is no longer permitted in enclosed buildings, however there are exceptions to the rule – one of which is that smoking is permitted in some long-stay mental health facilities. In such circumstances, good fire prevention practices must be maintained and must take into account the additional risk smoking poses. 

Good-housekeeping has been mentioned several times so far in these blogs and while some aspects really do come down to common sense with regards to tidiness and disposal of waste, there are various points which should be recognised and implemented throughout to protect against fire risks.

Stores housing linen, paper or plastic packaging must be kept in an orderly fashion with neat stacking to reduce the risk of fire spread and assist fire-fighting.

Equipment and packages must be stored only in designated storage areas and not left in other areas which might seem to have space – some examples of places not to store items include plantrooms, service voids and shafts, in corridors or lobbies.

Checks should be undertaken to ensure that storage is not permitted in a healthcare street or on an escape route, it is not permitted near a fire exit or near fire-fighting equipment. 

Items should not be dried over heaters which have radiant heat sources, such makeshift solutions can cause dangerously high temperatures and may ignite causing a fire. Such practices must be heavily and actively discouraged.

In part 75 of this series, LWF will continue looking at good housekeeping measures which should be implemented in a healthcare venue. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 0800 410 1130.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF's publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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