The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Alarm Technical Recommendations – Part 134

June 29, 2020 2:30 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 133, LWF looked at the technical requirements of fire alarms in healthcare premises and manual call points. In part 134, we will continue looking at the siting of manual call points in healthcare premises.

BS 5839-1 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises provides recommendations on the type, siting and location of manual call points and should be used for healthcare premises, taking into account the exceptions given in HTM 05-03 and summarised in part 133 of this blog series.

Within healthcare buildings, manual call points must be installed at a height of not more than 1.2 m above finished floor level.

While in non-patient access areas, it is acceptable to install manual call points in line with BS 5939-1, within patient access areas, they should also be sited:

i) At, or close, to each nurses’ station
ii) At each exit on a stairway (but not normally on stairway landings)
iii) On both sides of main doorways between detection zones (close to the doors)

Within mental health facilities, the provision of manual call points must be considered to minimise the potential for inappropriate operation. Some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risks include siting in staff areas, the addition of anti-tamper lift flaps and, where necessary, anti-tamper lift flaps coupled with a local alarm device.

Where the suggested precautions are insufficient to avoid considerable issues with patients and manual call points, and when all other preventative measures have failed, the use of key-operated call points may be considered.

In mental health units only, manual call point type and siting may deviate from the recommendations of BS 5839-1 if the risk of unwanted fire signals is considered high. In such circumstances, manual call points need not comply with BS EN 54-2 Fire detection and fire alarm systems. Control and indicating equipment., or be accessible by patients. It is, however, imperative that they are easily and quickly accessible by staff in the area.

In Part 135, LWF will begin to look at the use of automatic fire detectors 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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