Safety in a fire is among the most pressure-inspiring and crucial aspects of managing a healthcare facility. It is a fact that there is no room to make mistakes. You must take every step to ensure that your patients are safe. A fire in a health facility, where patients might not be allowed to leave their beds and where there are volatile chemical substances, can pose a grave threat.
Health institutions such as medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and nursing homes are all involved in preventing fires. Here are some important aspects to consider when designing and implementing fire safety procedures in a healthcare facility.
Statistics on Hospital Fires
The most common reasons for smoke and fire destruction in healthcare facilities include:
Fires at healthcare facilities are more likely to happen in the kitchen than in any other location, with 60% of confined fires that occur in kitchens. The most frequent time for the fires to start is between noon and 1 p.m. as staff cook meals.
Cigarettes or Other Smoking Materials
If used recklessly, they can prove extremely risky. If you have an area designated for smoking, install ashtrays made of metal that can’t be easily tipped over. It is important to ensure that nobody smokes near oxygen tanks.
They affect the majority of hospital equipment and medical equipment. They account for 10 percent or less of fire-related incidents. The damage is typically restricted only to circuit panels that have operating controls.
Fire Safety in Hospitals: 2 Main Categories
There are two primary types of fire safety measures:
Active Fire Protection
In an active fire protection system, fire is detected and controlled automatically. The fire’s radiance energizes active systems, while the response can be either manual or programmatic.
Passive Fire Protection
Passive fire protection doesn’t require any active intervention. It creates a buffer between people and the fire to limit the damage to the structure or its surroundings. Three primary methods exist for achieving this goal:
- Restricting or limiting the movement of heat, flames, and smoke via windowsills, doors, and recess areas
- Serving as buffering physical space that separates rooms (i.e., creating space between possible sources of fuel or ignition)
- Separating utilities, for example, electrical switchboards
Here are five key strategies to help ensure the safety of your health facility:
Install Fire Extinguishers and Wet-Pipe Sprinkler Systems
Even with the most effective prevention measures in place, fires do happen. In the event of a fire happening to your hospital, you must have the infrastructure in place to extinguish it. Fire extinguishers should be placed at least 50 feet apart inside the building.
If your home is already equipped with fire extinguishers installed, perform monthly inspections to check for leakage, corrosion, or any other damages on every extinguisher.
Another crucial equipment to fight fires you should have in your medical establishment is a sprinkler system that uses a wet pipe. It is designed to release water instantly to the outside after detecting excessive heat; they are an excellent firefighting tool for situations where personnel might not be present.
Planned Escape Routes
In the event there is an emergency, it’s essential to have a fire evacuation plan and safety procedure in place. Employees must be aware of the safety procedures. To ensure that you are fully prepared, ensure regular fire drills to ensure that everyone is aware of their designated evacuation routes and the actions to take in the event of an emergency fire.
Public Address Voice Alarm
Voice alarms can offer simple and precise instructions in a fire to ensure that everyone within the building understands how to proceed. They can also inform people of the situation and offer evacuees security. Additionally, they are usually connected to other fire protection systems, like fire doors and sprinklers, which could further increase security.
A very crucial aspect of ensuring the safety of patients includes the usage of smoke alarms. The purpose of smoke alarms is to warn visitors, staff, and patients of the presence of a fire in a short amount of time. They can be set up throughout the hospital, including rooms for patients and corridors, stairwells, and staircases. Smoke alarms can be linked to the hospital’s central alarm system, allowing first responders an opportunity to respond immediately to fire emergencies.
Fire safety training and an emergency plan for hospitals
Every medical facility must have an emergency response plan in case of fires. As part of this plan, the 4 Principles of Hospital Fire Safety should be covered: life safety, notification, fire extinguishing, and evacuation/relocation.
It is suggested to begin by displaying the hospital’s evacuation routes in each medical facility room. You could also plan regular meetings every year or bi-annually to ensure that everyone in your hospital knows your evacuation plan and how to activate the alarm on the hospital’s intercom system in case of an emergency fire. Then, you’re ready to hand the fire safety plans for your hospital over to the experts.
Professional training is the most effective way to ensure that every employee in your medical facility is trained in fire safety.
Stop Smoking in Its Tracks
No doubt smoking cigarettes and fire safety do not mix. Smoking cigarettes that are lit up can cause open flames, which can cause flames when mixed with any flammable substance. One of the most hazardous combinations is oxygen-dispensing devices. For more details, visit the website.
There is a link between more oxygen and more fire. Smokers also require oxygen, and it’s essential to stop smoking in an oxygen machine or proximity to one.
If you have employees who smoke, limit smoking to a designated area far from the medical apparatus. Consider purchasing Ashtrays that aren’t too heavy and can tip for the last safety measure. This can decrease the chances of fires caused by errant cigarette butts.
Fire safety in healthcare facilities is paramount and must be addressed through multifaceted strategies. This article presents five strategies designed to strengthen fire safety at these vital institutions by prioritizing prevention, staff training, infrastructure upgrades, and early detection systems. These methods will significantly lower fire risks while mitigating possible harm to patients and staff.