The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 89

June 6, 2022 11:40 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 88 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at how Chief Executives should manage fire safety in healthcare buildings. In part 89, we begin to discuss fire hazard rooms.

A fire hazard room is a room within the patient-access area of healthcare premises which constitutes a particular fire hazard. It may be that the room contains hazardous materials, or it might be that hazardous processes are undertaken in the room. Some examples are:

  • Stores of chemicals
  • Cleaners’ storage areas
  • Linen stores
  • Clothing storage
  • Patient day rooms
  • Disposal rooms
  • Laboratories
  • Lift-motor rooms
  • Patient bedrooms provided for older people, patients with mental health problems and people with learning disabilities
  • Overnight accommodation for patients’ relatives
  • Staff changing rooms or locker rooms
  • Store rooms
  • Kitchens for wards, residential or staff
  • X-ray film and record stores
  • Main laundry rooms incl. delivery, sorting, processing, packing, storage.

Areas of particular fire hazard may be found outside patient-access areas too in healthcare buildings, especially in hospitals. A fire starting in a non-patient-access area could present a hazard to patient-access areas. E.g.:

  • Boiler houses
  • Sterile services
  • Central staff changing facilities
  • Flammable stores
  • Laundries
  • Main electrical gear
  • Main kitchens
  • Main stores
  • Medical gas stores
  • Medical records
  • Pathology
  • Patient services
  • – Pharmaceutical (manufacturing) areas
  • Waste collection and disposal areas, incineration.

Potential sources of fuel for a fire are wide-ranging and can be found in almost every environment. Particular fuels that might require identification for risk assessment include:

  • Laundry supplies, e.g. bedding and towels and medical supplies
  • Toiletries, aerosols, wall and ceiling hangings and linings
  • Plastics, rubber (including soft play or restraint areas) video tapes and polyurethane
  • Foam filled items such as furniture, mats etc. and polystyrene-based display models
  • Wooden items such as furniture; textiles and soft furnishings (curtains, spare clothes)
  • Clothing, private belongings (incl. toys), seasonal and religious decorations
  • Flammable products e.g. cleaning, decorating, petrol, white spirit, methylated spirit, cooking oils, disposable cigarette lighters, hand sanitising products.
  • Flammable gases, including LPG and aerosol canisters
  • Waste products, especially shredded paper, wood shavings, offcuts and dust.

It should be noted that certain departments are intrinsically high fire hazard, such as physiotherapy and X-ray. Film storage can present a significant source of flammable material.

The above lists are based on those detailed in HTM 05-03.

In Part 90 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at how sources of oxygen that might contribute to a fire should be identified, completing the identification of items which might contribute to a fire. We will then look at identifying particular people who may be at risk. 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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