Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Safety Policies - Part 66

Posted by LWF: 18/03/2019 15:02

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 65, LWF considered some of the many important elements when considering general fire safety in a healthcare building, including the provision of alternative escape routes and the potentially unpredictable nature of human behaviour in a fire situation. In part 66, we look at fire safety policies.

Clearly-defined fire safety policies are essential for all healthcare premises. The Chief Executive must ensure all premises under their control have an up to date fire safety policy. Each should include full details on fire prevention, fire-fighting and the movement and/or evacuation of patients in an emergency. The detail should be such that it breaks down such issues as how, physically, to prevent fires occurring, how to avoid the spread of fire and how to deal with fire should it occur. All measures should be in line with statutory instruments and Firecode objectives.

Each member of staff, whether they are professional or administrative, should be instructed as to their role in an emergency situation and what actions should be taken. All details should be included in the policy.

An operational strategy must be laid out in the policy. This will define the emergency procedures which will be implemented in a fire situation and staff must be aware of all policy, operational strategy and emergency procedures with appropriate training provided. 

Where policies are prepared for multiple premises, each strategy must be conceived to suit the requirements of the individual building or buildings. It would not be sufficient to have an overall policy and apply it to more than one healthcare building.  A ‘one size fits all’ approach would ensure only that it fitted none.

The Fire Safety Manager (FSM) will have overall responsibility for the compilation and maintenance of comprehensive fire precautions, safety policies and programmes of improvement. The FSM should be assisted by managers at each appropriate level and, where employed, healthcare fire safety advisers in accordance with HTM 05-01. The preparation of a fire safety policy cannot be effectively undertaken by one person alone as healthcare organisations are extremely complex. A team of managers and healthcare fire safety advisers should work alongside the FSM and consult with members of staff from admin, medical, nursing and estates to ensure all viewpoints are effectively considered and service needs met.

In part 67 of this series, LWF will continue looking at the creation of the fire safety policy. 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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