The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 99

August 8, 2022 11:49 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 98 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at ways the fire risk assessment should address limiting opportunities for ignition in healthcare premises. In part 99, we will continue talking about the removal of sources of fuel which might contribute to a fire and begin looking at sources of oxygen.

Various items in a healthcare building can be a fire hazard and the fire risk assessment should include the identification of such hazards and the removal or safe storage/disposal of the identified items.

Some examples of materials which can be a fire hazard include aerosol sprays; flammable liquids; medical gases; LPGs; disposable items and packaging made from paper, plastic or expanded foam; combustible waste and any other material that may be combustible and present in patient/resident access areas of healthcare premises.

Further guidance on the reduction of fire hazards from other materials is contained in HTM 05-03 part A ‘General fire safety’.

Sources of Oxygen

Because fires need access to oxygen to burn and grow, potential sources of oxygen should be removed or reduced where possible in a fire situation. Possible actions that could be taken include:

  • Closing doors, windows and openings not required for ventilation
  • Stopping ventilation systems not essential to the function of the premises
  • Storing oxidising materials away from any heat sources or flammable materials
  • Ensuring the safe storage of oxygen cylinders and/or piped oxygen, controlling the use of such and ensuring there is no leakage
  • Maintenance of piped oxygen supplies in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Staff are trained to access the shut-off valves in an emergency and management ensures that access to the shut-off valves is available through appropriate siting. Cross-reference should be made to the healthcare organisation’s medical gases policy.

Management procedures and monitoring are of the utmost importance when considering the installation, maintenance and control of sources of oxygen and staff training should be delivered to ensure that every shift is covered by personnel who understand the fire safety procedures.

In Part 100 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will discuss the flexibility of fire protection measures in healthcare buildings, before beginning to look at fire detection and alarm systems. 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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