The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Fire Protection Measures Solutions – Part 129

March 13, 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 128 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed the second example given in HTM 03-03 Part K – Ground to second floor with patients with a high propensity to start fires. In part 129, we begin to look at the third – Ground to second floor with poor observation of patients’ beds.

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 poor observation of patients’ beds

In a patient-care ward, most fires are spotted in their early stages by staff, who see the smoke and are able to take action.

However, in wards with poor observation of patients’ beds or where there are single rooms, fewer patient beds will be easily seen from the staff base. In such cases, additional fire protection measures should be taken and can include:

  • Increased staffing numbers: At least four staff members present at all times and six if there are more than 30 patients on a ward
  • Increased automatic fire detection (although it is noted that maximum protection may already be provided)
  • An automatic fire suppression system, such as a sprinkler system installation covering the required areas
  • A combination of short travel distances and a high degree of refuge

The measures listed may allow the following:

  • Enable first-aid firefighting by staff members
  • Increase the time available for escape by detecting the fire early
  • Reduce time taken to evacuate with increased staff numbers or additional fire precautions and protection measures
  • Reduce fire severity when using a fire suppression system

It is also possible to increase the level of observation provided, but this may be either undesirable or impractical for nursing or clinical reasons.

It should also be stated that in patient-care areas with single rooms, the fire alarm system should incorporate each room and detectors be placed as appropriate for the building design. Early warning and provision of adequate first-aid firefighting equipment can mean that appropriately trained staff members may be able to put out a small fire.

In Part 130 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at the fourth example scenario given in HTM 05-03 Part K – Floors on or above the third floor level accommodating patient-care areas. 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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