The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Fire Protection Measures Solutions – Part 127

February 27, 2023 12:17 pm

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 126 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered the basic principles of fire protection measures and how they are to be applied in practical terms. In part 127, we begin to look at the first example given in HTM 05-03 Part K – Ground to second floor with very high dependency patients.

Additional fire precautions will be necessary in those areas of a healthcare building designed to care for those patients whose clinical treatment or condition creates a very high dependency on clinical staff. For example – critical care areas, special care baby units and operating theatres.

Additional protection for very high dependency patients will vary depending upon the circumstances but can be a combination of the following factors:

  • High levels of observation – more than 75% of the beds viewable from the staff base
  • High numbers of staff – at least four members of staff present at all times, six where there are more than 30 patients on a ward
  • A high degree of refuge
  • Additional sub-compartmentation around the fire hazard rooms, where it does not dilute the levels of staff observation of the patient beds
  • Installation of automatic fire-suppression systems in key areas

The combination of the above measures would enable first aid firefighting measures to be taken if a fire started. They would increase the amount of time available for escape because the fire would be detected in its early stages. Evacuation time would also be reduced due to the staff numbers available and the provision of a refuge.

The efficacy of the provisions would be reliant on good fire safety management practices and procedures, to include proper provision of any physical fire protection measures, such as the provision of first-aid firefighting equipment, maintenance and checks of sub-compartmentation and the automatic fire-suppression systems. Additionally, effective fire safety management would ensure that all staff were adequately trained in first-aid firefighting, efficient evacuation practices and maintenance of patient-care while the necessary actions were undertaken in case of a fire.

In Part 128 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will discuss the second and third examples given – Ground to second floor with patients with a high propensity to start fires, and, Ground to second floor with poor observation of patients’ beds. 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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