The LWF Blog
Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises- Fire Safety Audits – Part 72April 29, 2019 1:27 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 71, we began to look at the fire safety audit and what it should comprise. In part 72, we will continue to look at those areas which should be addressed during a fire safety audit of healthcare premises and how they should be completed by a competent person or team.
Competent person: a person recognised as having sufficient technical training and actual experience, or technical knowledge and other qualities both to understand fully the dangers involved, and to undertake properly the statutory and Firecode provisions referred to in Health Technical Memorandums.
The fire alarm system and fire detection system, along with any extinguishment systems must be regularly tested and the condition recorded. Any issues noted must be marked for action and completed as soon as is possible.
Regular checks must also be made of the presence and condition of first-aid fire-fighting equipment, such as hose reels, fire extinguishers, fire blankets etc. Any damage should be noted and any items should be replaced. It should also be noted that the checks must encompass any variation from the norm such as the use of an extinguisher to prop open a door, which is not to be allowed. The extinguishers must be kept where they are provided for use and doors which are self-closing should not be propped open.
The continued effectiveness of escape lighting must be regularly checked, along with the continued presence of any fire drawings/posters which indicate means of escape or physical fire precautions. Their relevance should also be considered, in case of changes to the system which are not reflected in the drawings and notices provided.
There should be procedures in place for the issuing and monitoring of ‘hot work’ permits. Hot work is any operation that produces a flame, heat or sparks such as electric or gas welding, abrasive cutting, soldering, grinding, torch work, and brazing activities. In addition, the control and use of flammable materials, such as adhesives, must be monitored strictly in a healthcare environment.
Correct procedures must also be in place for the storage of flammable liquids.
Procedures must be in place which deal with any consultation with the local fire services and building control authorities.
Practices should be regularly held for evacuation techniques such as those involving the use of escape bed lifts (see HTM 05-03 Part E ‘Escape Lifts in Healthcare Premises’).
Non-healthcare areas of healthcare buildings must also be considered. Provisions for any commercial premises must be made (see HTM 05-03 Part D ‘Commercial enterprises on healthcare premises’). In addition, fire safety must be considered in any staff residences on site or houses of multiple occupation.
There should be policies in place regarding the purchasing of flame-retardant textiles and furniture. Further information on this can be gained from HTM 05-03 Part C ‘Textiles and Furnishings’).
In part 73 of this series, LWF will discuss Fire Prevention 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 Peter Gyere on 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.