The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 108

October 10, 2022 11:21 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 107 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at protected stairways for means of escape. In part 108, we consider the ways that an assessment area can be situated higher than the third storey where necessary, as well as discussing staff-assisted evacuation.

In a healthcare building where it is not possible to adhere to the recommendation of keeping assessment areas below three storeys high, mitigation to the additional risk is likely to be required.

An assessment area higher than three storey heights above ground can cause increased risk to dependent or very high dependency patients.

Potential solutions to mitigate the additional risk may lie in:

  • providing an increased number of compartments to limit how quickly fire can spread from one to the next
  • provision of additional staircases
  • provision of escape lifts
  • small compartment sizes

The final fire safety solution for a specific healthcare building requiring assessment areas above the third floor may involve a combination of the above mitigating factors to ensure patient safety when evacuation due to fire is required.

If an assessment area is to be on two or more floors, the position of the higher floor(s) should be considered in determining the height above ground.

More information on basement levels can be found in the FSO Green Guide as it is known in healthcare circles.

Staff Assisted Evacuation

The management of the healthcare building should devise a suitable plan to ensure adequate staff are on duty at all times to facilitate assisted evacuation for dependent and very high dependency patients.

The minimum number required is two staff present at all times (even including meal breaks) or three staff present at all times if there are 30 patients or more.

The staff members in question should have received training in the methods of patient evacuation appropriate to the dependency of the patients and must be familiar with the evacuation procedures at their place of work. This can be gained through drills and fire training.

The evacuation strategies and procedures in place should recognise that an effective evacuation will depend on assistance given by staff from adjacent and other compartments in accordance with the hospital’s emergency response procedures.

In Part 109 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at escape bed lifts and emergency escape lighting. 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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