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Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 106

September 26, 2022 10:47 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 105 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed the overall travel distance of an escape route in a healthcare building. In part 106, we continue looking at means of escape by considering the sub-division of corridors for fire safety purposes.

In healthcare premises, it is common for corridors more than 30 metres long to be subdivided near the centre point by fire doors and, where required, fire-resisting construction. The aim of such measures is to limit the potential for fire and smoke to spread through the escape route if there is a fire.

In healthcare premises where dependent or very high dependency patients are accommodated, the requirements differ. Hospital streets, where they are in use, should be sub-divided at 30 metre intervals.

Other corridors may form part of the circulation routes and therefore subdivision with fire doors and fire-resisting construction should be in line with the travel distances for sub-compartmentation.

Hospital fire safety designs, including those with a hospital street, are based on the principle of protected areas – sub-compartments and compartments – rather than protecting corridors which would be functionally restrictive.

Corridors with two exits from a floor should be subdivided with fire doors to separate the two exits from each other. This should mean that a fire cannot obstruct access to both exits from that area.

Doors provided to prevent the passage of smoke do not need to be fire doors, but may be suitable if they are of substantial construction, self-closing and capable of resisting the passage of smoke.

Doors which are on circulation routes and fitted with a self-closing device should incorporate an electromagnetic hold-open device activated by the fire alarm system. This works so that the door may be held open during normal circumstances, but when a fire is detected, the doors should automatically close.

Smoke should not be able to bypass the door, for example, through a false ceiling or through alternative doors from a room opening either side of the subdivision.

In Part 107 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will discuss protected stairways for means of escape. 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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