The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 103

September 5, 2022 11:45 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 102 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed what instances are appropriate for the installation of sprinkler systems in healthcare premises. In part 103, we consider escape routes and strategies in healthcare premises, including safe evacuation from premises without the aid of the Fire and Rescue Service.

When a fire starts in healthcare premises and is detected, the alarm is raised and building occupants, including patients, should be able to escape safely. It may be that they are able to escape unaided, or they may require assistance from staff, but it is essential that the system in place allows for an evacuation without assistance from the Fire and Rescue Service.

When the Fire Service arrive, the building or affected area should be empty of all occupants to allow them to enter and deal with the fire.

The fire safety strategy for the healthcare premises should include escape routes and an evacuation strategy. It should also include the necessary procedures for operation of any fire protection measures in place to protect the building and occupants, as well as all maintenance requirements associated with the provision(s).

References and guidance relating to the development and documentation of fire safety strategies and procedures can be found in HTM 05-02 and HTM 05-01.

In all buildings, escape routes should be designed to allow a person at any point (other than small single direction elements) inside the building to turn from a source of fire and escape, either directly to a place of total safety (single-stage evacuation) or in the first instance to a place of reasonable safety (progressive horizontal evacuation) depending upon the system in place.

A place of reasonable safety may be an adjacent sub-compartment or compartment on the same level as the compartment of fire origin. The process of progressive horizontal evacuation involves the use of compartments which are subject to fire-stopping measures and allow a given period of time of safety for occupants. Progressive horizontal evacuation allows the further evacuation onwards to the next compartment or sub-compartment after the first, or to a protected stairway or directly to a final exit.

In Part 104 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue looking at escape routes and strategies by discussing means of escape and security measures. 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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