The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – System Technology – Part 119

March 16, 2020 3:14 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 118, LWF looked at Category L4 and Category L5 Automatic Fire Detection Systems. In part 119, we begin to look at system technology.

A fire alarm system which sends signals from each detector and call point through to the main control panel where they can be individually identified have an advantage over a conventional system, as they indicate in which area of a building the alarm was raised. For this reason, addressable fire alarm systems are preferred over conventional systems for use in healthcare buildings.

Being aware of which part of the building is the source of an alarm aids in evacuation and first-aid fire-fighting as well as making confirmation of the alarm more practical in case of an unwanted fire signal.

An addressable system may be less worthwhile in smaller healthcare buildings with few rooms or open plan wards and may also be less appropriate for isolated buildings on a healthcare site, e.g. boiler houses.

When using an addressable system in a large healthcare building, analogue detectors are preferred as the potential for unwanted fire alarm signals is reduced, with some systems having control software designed to filter out unwanted signals. Even the use of simple multi-sensor detectors which are capable of giving a pre-alarm warning are useful.

Where it is necessary to add to an existing fire alarm system, for example if the building is extended, then the additions should be comprised of compatible system technology. It may be that it is necessary to install equipment from the same manufacturer as the original alarm system, unless addressable systems or different manufacturers can be fully interconnected.

It is not always possible to achieve compatible parts, however, if the original system is not relatively new and in those cases where it is not possible to interconnect the new and older parts of the system effectively, the new system must have its own control and indicator panel which is interfaced with the existing system’s panel. This shorter-term fix enables the ultimate goal of replacement of the entire system to be delayed until finances are available.

In Part 120, LWF will look at the particulars of system technology guidance. 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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