The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises- Preparing for a Fire Emergency – Part 111

January 20, 2020 2:51 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 110, LWF looked at the considerations that managers of specific areas must undertake when developing an emergency evacuation plan. In part 111, we will continue discussing the relevant points for consideration when formulating an evacuation plan.

Managers should take into account the factors named in Part 110 relating to fire safety management of specific areas of healthcare buildings, including number of patients and staff to be evacuated from the area, patient dependency and care, staff cover at differing times, staff capabilities, patient-handling and equipment to aid evacuation, and from that information, estimate how many extra helpers would be required in a fire situation and where they are located. It is imperative that the evacuation is achieved in the minimum possible time to ensure the safety of all involved.

Healthcare management should be aware of the estimated number of staff available on the premises who could give assistance in an emergency fire situation and know how they can be summoned if required.

As per HTM 05-03 Part E, Managers must know how to deal with patients relying on life-support equipment during an emergency.
It is important to consider those patients whose behaviour may become obstructive during an evacuation and how they might be best assisted in a timely fashion.

Those elements of the escape plan which are feasible should be practised regularly including patient handling and evacuation techniques with all members of staff.

Management of specific areas of healthcare premises should be familiar with the passive fire safety protection built into the fabric of the building. A knowledge of how compartmentation has been implemented and the principles of progressive horizontal evacuation will mean that in a fire emergency, effective evacuation to a place of safety can be undertaken with minimal disruption to patient care.

An example of how this might work is that when a fire starts in an area containing patients and staff, the plan will indicate that removal and evacuation from the compartment of fire origin to a nearby separate compartment will allow minimum 30 minutes fire resistance in the new area. The 30 minutes may therefore be used by the Fire Service to extinguish the fire and make the area safe. If they are unable to do so within that time, a further evacuation to a new compartment will reset the fire resistance clock at 30 minutes, and so on.

In part 112 of this series, LWF will begin to look at Fire Strategy. 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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