Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Safety Measures for Healthcare Buildings - Part 64

Posted by LWF: 04/03/2019 14:52

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 63, we looked at the scope and background of HTM 05-03 and the role of management and staff in designing, implementing and disseminating fire safety and prevention policies in healthcare venues and in providing suitable training for staff members. In part 64 of this series, LWF will continue looking at the background and scope of HTM 05-03. 

In a healthcare environment, it is important that the most basic and fundamental of fire protection measures are provided and maintained. The improper use of fire doors or inadequate provision in that regard can result in dangerous smoke logging. All bedding and textiles should comprise flame-retardant fabrics, as the use of non-flame-retardant bedding, for example, can contribute to the seriousness of a fire and place patients in additional danger. It is therefore the case that the lack of very serious fires in healthcare buildings is attributable, at least in part, to the fire safety training and dedication of the staff who manage these locations.

While a fire presents an immediate threat to life, it should also be borne in mind that a serious fire impacts the ability to provide treatment and causes damage to property. Even when a fire is contained within the area of fire origin and does not spread, the financial and organisational impact can be considerable. With the limited resources available to them, healthcare organisations must always recognise the potential for disruption to service and the financial costs involved in repairing and replacing equipment and pay attention to the need to avoid fire.

HTM 05-02, which LWF has already covered, states the importance of both active and passive fire protection measures. Active fire protection measures might include an alarm system or a sprinkler system. Passive fire protection measures include compartmentation, fire-stopping and fire doors. However, both active and passive fire protection measures are only effective after a fire has started.

It is essential, therefore, that attention should be paid to fire prevention and to fast and decisive action if a fire breaks out. The provision of fire-retardant fabrics, furniture and furnishings is important and one safety provision which falls outside the areas of active or passive fire protection measures.

In part 65, LWF will continue to look at 05-03 with provision of means of escape. 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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