The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Safety Measures & Staffing Levels – Part 68

April 1, 2019 1:32 pm

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 67, LWF considered fire safety policy issues including how and when staff fire training should be delivered, it was noted that a staff member moving to a new ward or section of the same building should receive updated training on the evacuation procedure for that area on their first day. In part 68, LWF will discuss staffing levels in terms of fire safety and the importance of attendant staff knowledge about fire safety.


It is essential to have staff on site at all times with specialised training in fire safety. While this is not a very challenging prospect during daytime hours, it is necessary for adequate provision to be made for night shifts when levels of activity are much lower. The lower levels of staff on night duty, along with the lack of activity can lead to a delay in a fire being detected.


Trained staff must be on hand at all times to respond quickly and effectively to a fire situation and the actions they take will be of vital importance in providing protection from the effects of fire to dependent patients and other building occupants.


While medical and nursing requirements for in-patients mean it is necessary to have at least two staff on duty at any given time, the requirements of the evacuation strategy must be taken into account when organising staffing.


The ‘manning’ of an evacuation strategy cannot rely on outside resources and must be undertaken by properly trained staff who are able to deliver the level of clinical attention required of the patients in their care. For this reason, two members of staff may not be sufficient, especially in cases where the in-patients are highly dependent or when considering the necessity for two persons who are both qualified to care for the patients and who are trained in fire safety and evacuation procedures to be available at all times, even when meal breaks, or comfort breaks, are being taken by clinical staff members.


In part 69, LWF will continue looking at the necessity of adequate staffing levels in healthcare organisations, with fire safety and patient evacuation processes in mind.  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 020 8668 8663.


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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