Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Safety Audits - Part 70

Posted by LWF: 15/04/2019 15:00

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 69, we discussed the management of staffing levels and in addition to the number of staff available, it was important that each and every staff member had adequate training in fire and evacuation issues. In part 70, we will discuss fire safety audits and what arrangements should be put into place to fulfil the requirements.

It is necessary for all NHS organisations to confirm each year that their management policies relating to fire safety adhere to the terms of HTM 05-01. The adherence to an existing plan or policy cannot be assumed and therefore it is recommended that the chief executives of the organisation organise an annual audit of fire safety to cover all their premises. 

The purposes of the audit are as follows:

- To monitor compliance with statutory requirements and Firecode
- To identify any weaknesses in compliance
- To set up remedial programmes to remedy any weaknesses
- To allocate sufficient resources within the framework of their business plans
It is assumed that local circumstances will dictate prioritisation of need.

Although there is a parallel between a fire safety audit and a fire risk assessment, as required by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, in that they must both be reviewed periodically, there are some major differences.
A fire risk assessment considers the fire hazards present and the risks those hazards present to the occupants of a healthcare facility. Once the risks have been ascertained, effective fire precautions are put into place to mitigate the risk highlighted. A fire safety audit for NHS premises would verify that those fire precautions put into place are being maintained effectively.

The use of the term ‘maintenance’ should not suggest that the audit is limited to looking at maintenance of physical fire protection equipment. The audit should cover each and every system relating to fire safety, including physical precautions, staffing arrangements and management systems. The audit should be carried out by competent and sufficiently trained staff employed by the NHS organisation. Further information on what makes a staff member ‘competent’ will be given later in the blog series.

In part 71, LWF will continue to look at the fire safety audit process. 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 020 8668 8663.

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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