The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Vertical Escape – Part 24

May 30, 2018 11:09 am

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, we look to give information on best practice in fire safety for hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 23 of this series, the requirements for lifts and escape stairs which would be used for assisted patient evacuation were outlined. In part 24, LWF starts with the requirements for those stairways which are not intended for use in assisted patient evacuation and concludes with details about final exits.


While all stairways in a healthcare environment must be considered potential escape stairs, they are not all designed to be used for assisted patient evacuation. Those stairways which are designed only for the use of independent patients and other building occupants such as staff or visitors should fulfil the requirements of the clear minimum width of escape, which is 1200mm for up to 200 people and an additional 25mm for each additional 50 people.


In order for safe and successful evacuations to take place, each stairway must terminate on the floor of final exit or escape and should provide immediate access to one of three areas:


 The outside.

 A route to the outside which provides the same period of fire resistance as the protected shaft and which does not contain accommodation, except that permitted for a protected shaft.

 A hospital Street.


It should be noted that escape stairs must not discharge to an atrium.


Final Exits

While final exits must provide an efficient means of escape in case of fire, it is accepted that there must be a balance between the needs of fire safety and security. The particular requirements for the exit should be decided upon at the time of construction with all relevant parties in agreement.


Final exit doors which are automatic must be openable by hand in case of power failure and if that is not possible due to the design, non-automatic, outward opening doors must be provided alongside the automatic door.


Final exit doors must not involve a step or steps and should open onto an area which is level for a distance of at least 1 metre. A step could cause someone to fall and cause an obstruction in the doorway for those building occupants undertaking evacuation.


In part 25, LWF will look at External Escape Routes including assembly points. 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 020 8668 8663.


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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