The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Fire Strategy – Part 112

January 27, 2020 4:13 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 111, LWF discussed the relevant points for consideration when formulating an evacuation plan. In part 112, we will begin to look at Fire Strategy.

A fire strategy is a document which sets out the defined fire safety objectives and performance requirements for a building and describes the methods by which they will be accomplished. A fire strategy document should incorporate particular information, under specific headings.

Firstly, an introduction and overview must be given, which should include a brief outline of the content of the fire strategy. Next, the design codes and guidance which relate to the development of the scheme. If alternative fire engineered solutions have been used, these should be laid out in the strategy and the purpose for use indicated where appropriate. Derogations are not acceptable, however, variations or deviations from standard codes of practice must be fully justified in the fire strategy.

A description of the premises should be provided, with details of the use of each floor and any adjacency issues that could arise. The type of building occupants who are likely to use the building should be identified and described. HTM 05-02 provides occupant descriptions that this section should be based upon.

The evacuation strategy and methodology should be laid out in detail. There may be more than one strategy used in a healthcare building in order to facilitate the various needs of the patients. The strategy should lay out the assumptions made by design teams. Because evacuation is a foreseeable event, it should be addressed as part of the design phase.

Details of automatic fire systems should be given, including any fire alarm and detection systems, automatic fire suppression systems and any means for securing fire doors and exits electronically should be included, where appropriate.

A full explanation of means of escape should be included in the fire strategy. Travel distances are set out in HTM 05-02 and any occurrence of a travel distance exceeding those prescribed distances should be justified in full.

Details of potential for fire spread through surface spread of flame provisions and any space separation issues should be given.

Full details of the Fire and Rescue Service access and facilities should be given and the Service should agree to any variations to the provisions of Firecode, which should form a part of the strategy.

Information relating to ventilation systems, how they operate and where the system should be allowed to continue to operate (e.g. in operating departments), along with any cause/effect information should be laid out.

Any special considerations should be noted and explained, such as atria requiring a fire engineered solution. A third-party review of special considerations and fire engineered solutions by a competent fire engineer is recommended.

Finally, details of any significant findings of the fire risk assessment, along with plans to eliminate or reduce identified risks and hazards should be included.

LWF will begin the next blog in the series, part 113, by looking at HTM 05-03, which deals with operational provisions. 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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