Fire Protection Measures in Hospitals
When installing fire protection measures in hospitals, a significant level of care is required to ensure all safety regulations are met and there’s minimal risk for any patients, staff and visitors.
Hospitals create a great number of fire safety risks due to the fact they house many vulnerable people. It’s important to understand the potential fire hazards and difficulties during the evacuation process within a hospital environment.
As fire protection experts, we’ll give you an insight into the biggest fire hazards and fire protection measures in hospitals.
Fire Hazards in Hospitals
As complex buildings filled with medical equipment and potentially hazardous materials, hospitals pose a number of significant fire hazards that can threaten the safety of patients and staff alike. In line with the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 a “responsible person” should be assigned in each hospital to conduct a regular risk assessment of all the potential hazards. Some of the fire risks in hospitals include:
Kitchens often present a serious fire risk. From open flames to cooking fats, hospital kitchens are filled with potential fire starters, which is why it’s so essential to ensure that all kitchen equipment is regularly cleaned and inspected, and the kitchen itself is equipped with appropriate fire safety measures.
Fire safety is usually taken into consideration when designing hospital equipment, however, many of the materials used in medical facilities are combustible. Equipment such as oxygen tanks or gas cylinders should be stored and handled appropriately. For energy-intensive apparatuses protocols on electrical loading should be followed to avoid overloading the system.
Electrical Sockets or Cables
Due to the large amount of electrical equipment used in hospitals, there are various hazards involved that can be a potential cause of a fire. Faulty or worn wiring, overloaded electrics, and short-circuits are only a few of the significant fire risks.
More than two-thirds of NHS hospitals have completely banned smoking, but it still remains a substantial fire thread. Cigarette stubs that haven’t been put out correctly can be the cause of ashtray fires that can rapidly spread if not extinguished promptly.
Fire Protection Measures in Hospitals
All hospitals and healthcare buildings have to meet the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) requirements on top of regular safety legislation. As part of that there are a number of fire protection measures that need to be put in place in hospitals. We’ll cover the key points briefly below, but you can read more detail in our article “Why Passive Fire Protection Has Never Been More Important in the Healthcare Sector“.
NHS fire doors must have a protection time of minimum 30 minutes, although this may be longer for areas where more time for evacuation is needed.
Regulations allow for fireproof doors to be made of various materials including timber, aluminium or steel as long as they accurately comply with the legislated protection grade.
They also have to be clearly labelled as fire doors and fitted with a self-closing mechanism in order to provide adequate fire compartmentation. Additionally any gaps between the door and its frame must be sealed with smoke seals to prevent toxic fumes and cold smoke from spreading in the event of a fire.
Take a look at “Fire Door Regulations: The Conclusive Handbook” to ensure you’re compliant.
Fire compartmentation is a vital part of a hospital’s passive fire protection system. The different areas of the hospital are divided into compartments that act as self-contained units via fire-resistant walls floors and ceilings in order to prevent fire from spreading laterally or vertically into other rooms.
To ensure the success of the compartmentation, there mustn’t be any gaps in the walls, above ceilings or doors in the hospital. Even the smallest gaps can allow smoke and fumes to pass easily, which is why the regulations state that it’s necessary to seal them using an appropriate fire-resistant material installed in line with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Adaston has experience with the remediation of fire stopping issues in the healthcare sector which is why we can understand the unique demands of a comprehensive fire stopping assessment in a high-risk setting such as a hospital. We can help ensure the passive fire protection of hospitals is adequately installed to the correct standards by conducting an inspection of the building to identify urgent issues and delivering a bespoke remediation strategy for any and all non-compliances.
You can view one of our successful projects for a newly-built two-storey community hospital. Our fire protection specialists are compliant with the latest industry standards and all works are covered under our third party accreditation IFC, so our clients can confidently trust us to protect their building from fire.
Contact us today to speak with one of our consultants and enquire about our services.
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