The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – Risk Assessment – Part 31

April 19, 2021 1:45 pm

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 30 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF examined safety factors in Risk Assessment before discussing logic trees. In part 31, we consider worst case scenario planning.

Worst case scenario planning is an important part of emergency planning. The basis for the idea is that if the worst is prepared for and anticipated, if it happens, procedures are in place to deal with the arising issues. If it doesn’t happen, but something ‘lesser’ does happen, the facilities in place to deal with the worst-case scenario will surely be sufficient to cope.

However, assumptions made that might be conservative for one aspect of the fire system might not be sufficient for others.

A worst-case scenario might involve a large and rapidly growing fire and while that would certainly be of huge significance, a small, undetected and smouldering fire in a closed room could kill a sleeping occupant.

The worst-case scenario envisaged may be a big fire with all fire safety systems working as intended and designed, but if one component does not work as intended, or simply fails, the consequences might be severe enough to outweigh the smaller probability of this scenario occurring.

System maintenance – fire detection, fire suppression and smoke control – should be carried out on a regular basis and with suitably experienced and accredited personnel. Any changes to layout or usage of an area should be risk assessed and arising risks mitigated and any changes to procedure, process and substances in use should be similarly re-assessed and incorporated into emergency plans.

Additional risk from building contractors on site must be assessed and they must be aware of how their actions could impact on both the existing passive and active fire protection measures in place.

Worst-case scenario planning is necessary, but it should be appreciated that the plans often rely on everything working as it should, on good housekeeping and good fire safety management procedures being followed.

In Part 32 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to look at various fire engineering concepts, starting with fire growth. 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.

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