Tuesday, 15 September 2015 00:00

Fire Safety for Hospitals and Health Facilities

Fire Safety for Hospitals and Health Facilities Hospitals and health facilities should be prime targets for the implementation of efficient fire safety programs since they are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of fire. This is due to the nature of their environments, where they host large numbers of people in one place. It's essential that the staff of these facilities be trained on fire safety and know the steps to take to extinguish small fires and how to evacuate in a building fire scenario.

A fire safety program for hospitals should focus on a couple of important elements - rescue, alarm, confine and extinguish.

Rescue - this involves helping those in need to get away from the fire to an area of safety and in a hospital setting, this may mean that some people may require extra assistance such as opening doors and windows and also lifting, dragging and carrying patients who are unable to walk. People confined to beds will need a staff member to unlock the bed wheels and wheel them to safety and if necessary, a blanket drag along the floor may be the only option to evacuate patients.

Alarm - this is where a staff member is designated to call the fire department, to send out a code over the public address system and to activate a manual pull station. This must occur as soon as a fire is spotted as the first minutes of a fire can be the difference between life and death.

Confining - containing the fire involves closing doors behind the last person evacuating an area as this helps to limit the fire and the movement of heat and smoke.

Extinguish - for staff members who are trained, this is an option if the fire is small. If safe to do so, use a fire extinguisher to quell the flames while the building evacuation is underway and then ensure the staff member exits the building as well.

A designated staff member will be the fire department liaison and they will be responsible for the hospital evacuation and informing the fire crew of the location of the fire and of any missing individuals.

As is the case with most employees, health care workers do not generally have fire safety foremost in their minds as they do their daily work, however, regular education and training sessions will ensure that they are prepared should there ever be a fire emergency at their facility.

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