The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – FSO and Enforcement – Part 80

April 4, 2022 12:39 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 79 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered Fire Authorities and discussed their duties in overseeing fire safety provisions in healthcare buildings. In part 80, we talk about Fire Authorities and their attitude to unwanted fire signals.

An unwanted fire signal is an alarm which is not triggered by a fire. The point of a fire alarm system is to alert building occupants to fire (or a central control point) and when fire alarm signals occur which are not indicative of fire, it can cause disruption and unnecessary upheaval. In addition to the practical issues of unwanted fire signals, repeated false alarms can mean that a genuine fire signal is overlooked or not given prompt attention.

In hospitals and other healthcare buildings, unwanted fire signals are seen in significant numbers. Fire Authorities are recognising that repeat unwanted fire signals can be indicative of the fire alarm system being unfit for purpose, or that the premises and/or system are not being maintained or managed correctly.

When issues are experienced, reference should be made to HTM 05-03 Part H – Reducing false alarms in healthcare premises. Consultation with the Fire Authority should also be sought.

Fire Authorities are taking action against premises with high numbers of unwanted fire signals in terms of fire safety enforcement and operational response options. The action taken may mean audits are undertaken, inspections performed and enforcement action may be applied.

The minimisation of unwanted fire signals can reduce impact upon hospital services, the community and the Fire Authority.

In situations where a hospital or healthcare building do not take action to lower the number of unwanted fire signals, the Fire Authority may implement a system whereby local assessment of an actuation of the fire alarm must be undertaken before a call is placed to the Fire Authority. In other words, each fire alarm signal would have to be investigated manually by hospital staff before a call to the Fire Service could be placed for assistance.

In Part 81 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at how ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ is used in assessing the adequacy of fire precautions. 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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