The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – High Risk Fire Hazards & Precautions – Part 90

August 28, 2019 12:36 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 89, LWF looked at the fire safety implications of ventilated ceilings in main kitchens, which are intended to permit the passage of air from the kitchen to the void above, before extraction to open air. In part 90, we will discuss the potential for corrosion in ductwork and how this should be avoided, before looking at the fire-fighting controls which should be present in a healthcare main kitchen.

Corrosion of Ductwork

The integrity of any ductwork and installed parts such as fire-dampers would be impaired by corrosion from deposits if it were allowed to occur. Fire dampers are installed to maintain the efficiency of any fire separating construction and corrosion could mean fire is allowed to spread from one area of the building to another.

Incidences of corrosion can be avoided by particular attention being paid to the following:

– The galvanising process
– An application of further appropriate protective barriers against corrosion, or
– Ensuring parts are constructed of other non-corrosive and non-combustible materials, such as stainless steel.
The potential for galvanic action between dissimilar metals should not be overlooked.


Fire-fighting Controls

It may be necessary for extraction equipment to be provided for the purpose of controlling the removal of hot smoke and gases following a fire. The local Fire Authority / an appropriate competent person can provide guidance on if this is required.

Fire dampers, a passive fire protection provision, can help avoid fire spreading through kitchen ductwork. Where they are required, effective control of them should be gained through the installation of heat-actuated devices, such as fusible links. In a fire situation, the heat would cause the fire damper to trigger and close. A faster and more reliable operation is gained if the installation is triggered by fire-detector activation in addition, dampers activated from automatic fire detection will be required within certain circumstances.

In the event of fire, extraction fans should be switched off to avoid fire spreading through the extraction system. If a manual solution is required, switches should be positioned on an exit route and clearly indicated, the system and its operation should be included in fire safety training and a member of staff can operate the switch to turn off the extraction fans while evacuating the area. Preferably, however, the extraction fans should be linked to the automatic fire detection system so that they are automatically stopped in the event of fire and are not reliant upon any person operating the switches manually.

In part 91, LWF will look at the necessary maintenance of ventilation systems in healthcare venue main kitchens. 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.

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