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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Alarm System Design – Part 122

April 6, 2020 1:40 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 121, LWF considered the design philosophy of fire alarm systems in healthcare venues. In part 122, we will look at assessing fire alarm systems in healthcare venues by considering the non-patient areas where it may be that detectors can be omitted safely.

Each area of a healthcare venue must be risk-assessed in order to ascertain whether or not it should be included in the place which must have fire alarm smoke detectors. It is only safe to leave detectors out of areas which are under continuous surveillance by staff or places within the building that have neither a high fire load or significant ignition sources.

In addition to the two categories given, any area which may not be covered by the fire alarm detectors must satisfy all of the following conditions:

The area must not be a patient access area;

It must not contain any equipment or services upon which patients may be dependent;

It must not contain contents of high financial value or patient-care value;

It must have adequate fire separation between it and adjoining patient access areas.

Some examples of areas which may be suitable to not be covered by detectors are administration offices away from patients and telephone switchboards which are permanently manned.

It is usual for a Category L2 or L3 system to be provided in a healthcare premises which is not a hospital. A hospital should have a Category L1 system provided throughout all parts of the premises. However, it is not normally required to have detectors in the following areas:

Within voids and roof spaces of any depth which contain only MICC or wiring clipped to a metal tray or within metal conduit or trunking; non-combustible pipework and ducts or, metal or plastic pipes used for water supply or drainage.

Bath/Shower rooms

Toilets in staff areas

Small cupboards less than 1 m2

Operating theatres

In all cases, the omission of detectors from any area of a building should be subject to a risk assessment, as there is no ‘one size fits all’ rule for fire safety in healthcare buildings.

In Part 123, LWF look at zoning for fire detection and fire alarms. 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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