Hospitals are busy places with multiple activities, so it’s not unusual for fire safety to take a back seat to other priorities. Unfortunately, this is problematic. Hospitals utilize powerful electrical equipment, medical gases, alcohols and have commercial kitchens. All of these contribute to an elevated fire hazard risk. In addition, patients, many of who are not ambulatory, provide additional life safety challenges. In the event of a fire, hospitals must quickly evacuate high-risk patients such as children, the elderly, and the disabled. A detailed fire safety plan is essential and staff training is a must. Understanding hazards and fire protection systems is the first step to protecting patients, staff, and the facility.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPSA) estimates 60% of hospital fires originate in the kitchen. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as commercial kitchens are the prime source of restaurant fires. Most of these fires are often localized and never extend out of the immediate area. However, it’s still critical to make sure hospital kitchen staff are trained to use portable fire extinguishers and practice proper kitchen fire safety. This includes regular maintenance of the exhaust hood fire suppression system and cleaning of the exhaust hood and ductwork. This is vital to preventing kitchen fires.
Hospitals have an abundance of powerful electrical equipment in every area of operation, which is a significant fire risk. Proper maintenance practices are a must. Portable diagnostic equipment is especially vulnerable to damage. Frequent visual inspections should be conducted to make sure any damage is noted and repaired. Static equipment should be protected with adequate detection and suppression systems.
Fire safety training is probably not employees’ favorite activity, but mandatory training can save lives, should be done regularly, and is vital to any effective fire safety plan. Hospitals are responsible for the lives of staff, patients, and visitors, so it should be taken seriously. Training should be done annually in every department at a minimum, with additional training any time the facility’s action plan is updated. Fire extinguisher training should be included, as the effective use of fire extinguishers is one of the best ways to make sure small fires don’t become large fires.
Inspection and Testing
Smoke detection and suppression systems must be inspected and tested on a regular basis to make sure they’re in working order and will activate in the event of a fire. These inspections must be performed by qualified personnel. Any system deficiencies must be repaired promptly. Ensuring that fire protection systems are operable and reliable is one of the most important life safety activities you can perform in a hospital facility.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.