The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Fire Protection Measures Solutions – Part 128

March 6, 2023 12:49 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 127 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF began to look at the examples given in HTM 05-03 Part K, starting with the first – Ground to second floor with very high dependency patients. In part 128, we discuss the second example – Ground to second floor with patients with a high propensity to start fires.

In a healthcare building that exhibits certain characteristics or particular challenges to effective fire safety management, particular arrangements may need to be put into place to mitigate risks.

Ground to second floor with patients with a high propensity to start fires

In the case of accommodation for patients on the ground to second floor, where those patients have a high propensity to start fires, additional protection should be provided.

The first step is to establish if the patient base is one which may lead to an increase in patient-ignited fires. Older people, patients with mental illnesses, or with drug or alcohol dependency are all more likely to start fires either accidentally or deliberately. A high proportion of patients of those types or a dedicated treatment facility/wards for patients who are older, with mental illnesses or drug/alcohol dependencies will need to address the increased fire risk.

There are two main approaches to protecting building occupants and the building itself from patient-ignited fires.

The first option is to provide a very high level of observation, which is classed as a situation where more than 75% of the patient beds can be seen from the staff base.

The second option is to install a very high standard of automatic fire detection. The standard L1 system should be supplemented by air-sampling systems to ensure that any fire is detected at an early stage.

The above measures would both increase the time available for escape by early detection of the fire. In the case of small fires started in waste paper baskets, for example, it may be that first-aid fire-fighting action could be taken by staff members who have had suitable training and with the correct equipment provided. Earliest possible detection of a fire can result in a small fire that is easily controllable.

In Part 129 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at the third example scenario given in HTM 05-03 Part K – 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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