The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – System Technology – Part 120

March 23, 2020 2:26 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 119, LWF began to look at system technology and types of alarm system. In part 120, we look at how the system should be comprised.

The system technology employed in a healthcare venue should be comprised as follows:

Where a system has up to 50 devices (detectors & manual call points), it may be a conventional fire alarm system. Where the system must have more than 50 devices, but less than 100, it must be an addressable system, at least. In premises where it is necessary to have more than 100 devices, the system should be analogue or multi-state addressable.

The fire alarm system must function in a fully-integrated manner and therefore it is important that compatible system technology must be used throughout the site, with the possible exception of isolated buildings which require no more than 50 detectors & call points, or which require more detectors, but where they function entirely separately from the healthcare site and are not dependent upon staff from the healthcare premises to respond to alarms. For example, it would be acceptable to have a separate fire alarm system operating in a nurses home on the same site, as staff would not be required to assist with evacuating patients from this area, and the only required action would be to respond to the alarm and ensure the Fire Service was summoned. Building management may require notification of the alarm also, this will be dependant on the overall management/fire strategy.

Where a system comprises a number of separate but interconnected control or data-gathering panels it is known as a networked system. The entire networked system should comply with all recommendations contained within BS 5839-1:2017 – Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises. It is also necessary for the cabling used for any network connections to comply with the requirements of BS 5839-1 and to be “enhanced fire-resisting cables”.

In Part 121, LWF will look at the design philosophy of fire alarm systems in healthcare venues, starting by discussing protection and how it is primarily to protect life but also has a role in protecting property and minimising disruption to the main function of the premises. 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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