The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Electronic door locks – Part 134

April 17, 2023 11:35 am

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 133 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed the seventh example of alternative solutions given in HTM 05-03 – ‘Hospitals designed to the Nucleus standards’. In part 134, we begin to look at the provision and use of electronic locks on doors.

Healthcare premises commonly have electronic locks in place on doors throughout. Reference to their use can be found in BS 7273-4 Code of practice for the operation of fire protection measures – Actuation of release mechanisms for doors and HTM 05-03 Part B Health Technical Memorandum 05-03: Operational provisions Part B – Fire detection and alarm systems.

While electronic locks are a popular and well-used security measures, before deciding upon their use, other methods of security should be considered to ascertain if they can appropriately secure the area. The trust’s local security management specialist and the trust fire safety adviser can provide advice.

If it is decided that electronic locks are the only viable solution, variations from the British Standard and HTM will need to be justified on an individual risk assessment basis.

When looking at the use of electronic locks on escape routes and final exit doors, it must be borne in mind that all doors should open in the direction of travel (towards the exit), be openable quickly and easily and without a key.

There are exceptions where there are life-safety protection reasons for additional security. Where this may be the case, each situation should be assessed independently. Examples might be:

  • In maternity wards, where there is a demonstrable risk of child abduction
  • In mental health wards/sections, where the safety of the patients, staff and members of the public could be at risk and where the security of drugs is especially important

It would not be appropriate to install additional security measures simply to secure certain areas from theft or to manage the movement of people. (Unless such measures would not impact upon the escape route or any fire safety measure).

The potential need for extensive escape routes to go through sensitive areas should be addressed at the building design stage.

In Part 135 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue looking at the provision and use of electronic locks on doors in healthcare premises. 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 since 1986 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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