The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises –FSO and Enforcement– Part 88

May 30, 2022 11:33 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 87 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at how Chief Executives of trusts should form a fire safety strategy. In part 88, we continue to discuss how Chief Executives should manage fire safety in healthcare buildings.

Effective fire safety management by Chief Executives in healthcare buildings means that they are charged with ensuring fires are unlikely to occur, but that if a fire should occur, it is detected promptly and dealt with appropriately.

A part of managing fire safety is in keeping up to date records. Records should be kept for a minimum of three years and should detail any maintenance works, instruction and training in fire safety and fire drills. Records should be created and maintained for the following elements:

  • The means of detecting fire and giving warning (fire alarm systems)
  • The means and methods of fighting fire (first-aid fire equipment)
  • Any automatic fire suppression systems
  • Any smoke management, control or ventilation systems
  • Any escape lighting systems (and relevant backup power sources)
  • Fire doors and fire exit doors
  • Fire instruction and fire training
  • Fire drills

Each element should include:

  • The dates and results of any testing and maintenance and by whom it was carried out
  • The date on which any defect was reported/discovered and remedial action taken
  • The date on which any defect was remedied and by whom.

Health and Technical Memorandum 05-01 contains information on managing fire safety.

Identifying Fire Hazards

In order for a fire to start, there need to be three elements in place. They are a source of ignition, a source of fuel and oxygen.

Ignition sources are many, for example –  arson, smoking materials, naked flames, electrical or other heaters, cooking equipment, faulty electrical equipment, lighting equipment, hot surfaces, obstruction of equipment ventilation, hot work (such as welding by contractors), other work and maintenance processes, lightning and potentially, chemicals used for cleaning, laundering and some clinical processes.

Arson is particularly relevant where there may be patients on site who have mental health problems, and equally, fires may be started by accident by older patients, people with learning disabilities or young people with disabilities. Equally, fires are easily started by people attempting to smoke in areas they should not or by careless behaviour of members of the public.

Because it is possible for fires to be ignited in such a wide array of ways, it is especially important that any evidence of a near miss is recorded. This might include scorch marks on furniture, discoloured plugs or sockets, cigarette burns or cigarette ends. Identifying a fire hazard and taking remedial action can prevent a fire happening.

In Part 89 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to look at fire hazard rooms. 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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