The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 97

July 25, 2022 12:20 pm

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 96 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at how to remove and reduce the hazards found in step 1 of the risk assessment. In part 97, we will continue to look at how potential sources of ignition can be risk-reduced in a healthcare setting.

All potential sources of ignition that could lead to a fire starting should be identified and either removed or the risk mitigated as much as possible.

In the case of arson in healthcare premises, the potential is very great and the precautions that must be taken can be far-reaching.

The fire safety and waste management policies of the premises should address arson and practices should be put in place to minimise the risk.

Site access is the first area any organisation should consider when working to limit opportunities for arson. Persons who are not engaged in normal activities expected of those who visit healthcare buildings should not have free access to the site.

Buildings which are not open to the public should be secured and inaccessible to those who may wish to start a fire. Some examples might be outbuildings used for storage or for the use of staff.

Staff training and schedules should include a design of staff circulation routes to increase passive surveillance of the premises.

CCTV should be monitored by specialist staff, particularly in hidden areas which might be suitable for fire setting.

Unfrequented areas should be reduced.

Sensitive areas such as stores and plant rooms should be restricted in terms of access. Any derelict or disused areas must be similarly secured and monitored.

Arson is far from the only potential source of ignition for a fire. Fires are often started through legitimate activities which are either undertaken carelessly or without due forethought.

A permit-to-work system should be put in place for any hot work which will be undertaken on the premises. This could mean welding, or any activity involving blow lamps or hot-air guns.  Any areas where such work has been carried out should be checked to confirm that no ignition has taken place and no smouldering materials are left behind.

The permit-to-work system should be extended to include the restriction of any sources of ignition, such as blow-lamps, when work is carried out on gas fittings and the work might involve exposing pipes which contain or have contained flammable gas.

In Part 98 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue to look at ways the fire risk assessment should address limiting opportunities for ignition in healthcare premises. 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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