The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Staff Fire Training and Responsible Person Requirements – Part 13

March 16, 2018 10:37 am

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give advice and information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 12, the principles of fire safety in healthcare premises in terms of the adequate fire separation of those areas which can be accessed by patients from those areas which are staff only was discussed. In part 13, our attention turns to staffing levels and the role of the responsible person.


In a fire situation in healthcare premises, effective and prompt actions from staff are required in order to ensure that patients are safe from the effects of fire.


While all staff must receive fire safety training, it is essential that an adequate number of staff members are available, at any given time, who can respond appropriately and quickly. This is particularly important where dependent patients are present.


A responsible person is required by the Fire Safety Order to ensure they have undertaken the following actions:


 Produce an evacuation procedure

 Have sufficient staff available at any time to implement it

 Ensure that those staff are adequately trained for delivery


A responsible person is nominated by an organisation to have responsibility for those matters on an ongoing basis (i.e. if the circumstances change, even temporarily, the plan must change to reflect that). In the absence of a person who undertakes this role as a part of their job, the responsible person is, by default, the most senior executive of the organisation.


The emergency plan must detail the fire safety provisions in each patient area, with the dependency of the patients being taken into consideration. The information contained within the emergency plan will allow fire safety management procedures to be drawn up which lay out how many staff are required in order to undertake an evacuation of a given area. This information should be prepared as the design is developed to ensure that design assumptions on paper are practicable with the available trained staff.


The relevant management are responsible for ensuring that adequate numbers of trained staff are available at all and any given time to invoke the arrangements leading to safe evacuation, as per the emergency plan.


Where staff are expected to work with certain dependencies of patients, they must receive training appropriate to that level of care during evacuation at their place of work. Management must be able to demonstrate that the staffing levels (and training) are adequate at all times, upon request.


In part 14 of this series, LWF will look at the design and construction of buildings through means of warning and escape. In the meantime, if you have any queries about fire safety in healthcare premises or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings. 


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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