The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Alarm System Design – Part 128

May 18, 2020 12:37 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 127, LWF looked at the fire alarm system and information display and how it can be used in a fire situation. In part 128, we will continue looking at the placement of control and indicating equipment for healthcare premises, before considering ancillary services.

Control and Indicating Equipment

Control and indicating equipment should be placed at the main entrance (or Fire Service entrance where this is different) to a healthcare building and also in a position which is manned 24-hours a day where possible, most commonly a switchboard; additional control and indicating equipment should be provided in each and every management unit. The equipment should be capable of displaying the location of an alarm incident in the same way as the main panel. The travel distance to an indicator panel should not exceed 60 metres.

Local evacuation procedures may also influence the placement of further control and indicating equipment. For instance, a repeat indicator panel should be provided at the evacuation control point of any escape bed lifts.

The Fire Service access point should also be furnished with manual alert/evacuation controls for each alarm zone, it may also be necessary to place controls at other locations, depending upon the local evacuation procedures.

Ancillary Services

Ancillary services in a healthcare and fire safety context refer to those systems or devices which are dependent upon the fire alarm system for actuation. They most commonly relate to means of escape and fire precautions.

– Automatic door releases and door control systems
– Access control systems
– Ventilation and damper control systems
– Fuel supplies
– Lifts
– Fixed extinguishing systems (such as sprinklers)
– Smoke control systems (extraction)
– Stairway pressurisation systems (smoke control)
– Site signalling system
– Shutters

It should be noted that not all systems and devices are present in all healthcare premises and it may not always be necessary or desirable to actuate ancillary services when the fire alarm system operates. Rather, the need for actuation should be decided on the basis of the overall fire safety strategy, statutory requirements and through consultation.

In Part 129, LWF will continue to look at the use of ancillary services in a fire situation. 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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