Fire safety in hospitals is incredibly important, considering the care required for vulnerable people within such facilities.
These premises require a lot of precaution in every aspect, and health and safety are at the forefront of concern.
With the possibility of many patients dealing with mobility issues, in the event of a fire, the evacuation process may prove more difficult than in your usual facilities. Taking the time to understand what the common hazards could be within a hospital environment takes priority.
Hospitals create plenty of notable fire safety risks due to housing so many vulnerable people. Not only will a fire put endangered people at risk, but it could also harm staff members and cause the hospital to stop functioning properly.
Here at Coopers Fire, we have listed several common fire safety hazards within hospitals to look out for.
While medical and surgical equipment is created with all safety measures considered, a lot of equipment used in hospitals is still flammable. Materials such as oxygen or gas canisters need to be stored and used safely with the correct measures in mind, and all protocols in line with handling electrical equipment should be followed.
Fire doors must be fire-resistant but keep in mind that they are also required in places where evacuation will occur. NHS fire doors require a minimum protection time of 30 minutes, but this may be longer in areas where evacuation is expected to be slower.
Fire doors do not need to follow a specific design specification, regulations allow fire doors to be made from numerous materials such as steel or aluminium as long as they comply with the protection grade requirements.
It is vital to ensure that all fire doors are advertised as fire doors, so everyone is aware of where to exit the building during an evacuation.
The act of fire compartmentation on hospital grounds is indispensable. Compartmentation stops fire from spreading further vertically and horizontally throughout other areas of the building. Hospitals are designed to be divided into separate fire compartments, made up of fire-contained walls with fire-resistant walls and flooring.
The process of fire stopping is required, along with the installation of regularly checked fire alarm systems. All doors must be sealed to prevent toxic fumes and smoke from passing through underneath.
With the need for plenty of electrical equipment to keep vulnerable people alive and well, the risk of utilising electricity is one of the biggest causes of fire breakouts in hospitals. Overloaded sockets, faulty wiring and short circuits all present a risk of fire.
Hospitals have large kitchen areas that will be prone to fire if not looked after properly. Grills, ovens and cooking equipment must be cleaned efficiently to avoid creating a more inflammable environment of grease and oil. It’s important to ensure that all kitchens are equipped with the correct fire safety equipment in case a fire occurs.
An impressive number of NHS hospitals now have a complete ban on smoking. Despite this, it remains a huge risk that people who do not follow the rules could cause a fire. If left unattended, lit cigarette stubs can cause ashtray fires, spreading fire quickly. It is better to allocate dedicated smoking areas further away from the main hospital buildings.
Preventing fires with correct procedures
Carrying out a fire risk assessment will help everyone understand any fire risks to be aware of. It will also ensure that they are removed or handled correctly. You must conduct a fire risk assessment to discover what needs to happen next.
Fire risk assessments should happen regularly to know what needs to be improved on the premises to create the safest environment possible.
In line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a designated person must be allocated on each premise throughout the hospital to take charge of the risk assessment process.
With fire safety equipment such as sprinkler systems, fire alarms and fire extinguishers, hospitals can rest assured that the environment remains a safe and healthy place for vulnerable people seeking support.
How Coopers Fire can support hospitals
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