The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – High Risk Fire Hazards & Precautions – Part 102

November 18, 2019 2:13 pm

In LWFs 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 101, LWF looked the nature of fire risks found in the magnetic resonance diagnostic equipment areas. In Part 102, we consider fire hazards during building operations, maintenance, alterations or extensions.

Although a good standard of fire safety precautions may be already in place a healthcare venue, the introduction of building works to the premises can both disrupt the fire safety provisions which are normally in place and potentially, cause other risks to arise which must be mitigated.

Structural fire protection can be temporarily or permanently compromised by works which perforate protective fire and smoke barriers or fire-protective finishes, the removal or adaption of walls, doors, floors, ceilings, etc. Alternative fire safety arrangements must be made where compromise is possible and a risk assessment of the new and changing situation should be undertaken.

A side effect of having building works on the premises can be the accumulation of flammable waste such as packaging materials, wood shavings or sawdust. Even fine dust particles which are generated by ongoing works can be potentially explosive.

The temporary storage and use of unauthorised and dangerous combustible building materials in some areas may impact on the normal fire load of an area and should be addressed, particularly in relation to works near to patient care areas.

Potentially dangerous techniques are more likely to be undertaken, for example welding, the use of flame-producing equipment, flammable liquids and adhesives can all contribute to a fire situation.

The installation of fire detection and alarm equipment obviously means that the system is not up and running, equally, some works might interfere with the proper operation of such systems. Works which are ongoing in one area could cause false fire alarms in the system due to excess dust or heat and the situation must be addressed appropriately, as it is not permitted to simply turn off the fire safety system.

Finally, temporary works can interfere with the escape routes for emergency evacuation procedures and cause obstructions. It is essential that there are no obstructions on the evacuation route and if the obstructions are impossible to avoid, a fresh risk assessment of the evacuation route must be implemented and suitable training updates provided as appropriate.

In part 103 of this series, LWF will continue to look at the impact of outside contractors and works on the fire safety provision in a healthcare environment. 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 LWF on freephone 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

Share this post