The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 105

September 20, 2022 10:33 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 104 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at escape routes and strategies by discussing means of escape and security measures. In part 105, we will discuss the overall travel distance of an escape route in a healthcare building.

The overall travel distance of means of escape is the maximum distance to be travelled horizontally (ie. Not including stairways) between any point in the storey to one of the following:

  • An adjoining compartment
  • A sub-compartment
  • An escape stairway
  • A place of safety outside

References to compartment or sub-compartment relate to fire-resistant construction designed to keep fire and its products in the area of fire origin or out of an adjoining area.

The first part of the overall travel distance may be escape in a single direction before there is a choice of escape routes.  The maximum overall distance to be travelled in a sub-compartment should be limited to 30 metres.

The design of circulation spaces – corridors and defined routes within an open-plan area – should be undertaken with the intention of evacuating patients from the assessment area by the most appropriate method. An emergency evacuation plan for the assessment area should be prepared in order to assess the suitability of circulation spaces and should state the preferred methods of evacuation.

Although escape over a flat roof is not generally recommended as part of an escape route, this may be unavoidable in some older hospitals.

The following provisions are necessary if the escape route does involve evacuation over a flat roof:

  • An adequate number of staff must be available at all times to assist with evacuation
  • The patients to be evacuated are not designated dependent or very high dependency
  • The route is not prejudiced by the potential for smoke and flame to issue from openings in the building envelope
  • The construction of the flat roof provides fire-resistance for at least 60 minutes
  • The route across the roof is defined, has a non-slip surface and adequate handrails
  • Escape lighting is provided for the roof

In Part 106 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue discussing means of escape by looking at the subdivision of corridors for fire safety purposes. 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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