In any commercial or institutional context, a fire can result in substantial amounts of property damage, injuries and deaths. In healthcare facilities, a fire can pose an even greater threat to the life and health of individuals. Many people in hospitals aren't able to leave their beds because of their physical condition or medical status. Additionally, healthcare facilities contain ample oxygen supplies, volatile chemicals and other drugs that can spread fires and emit deadly fumes into the air.
Fire prevention in hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities is a primary concern for managers, staff and patients alike. Here are some important factors to consider when planning and implementing fire safety procedures for a healthcare facility.
The best approach to fire safety is fire prevention. However, no facility is perfect, and no plan can prevent every possible cause of a fire. The following prevention tips can help you reduce the chances of a fire:
Prohibit smoking within the facility, especially among patients. Carelessness with cigarettes or other smoking materials is a leading cause of fires in residential settings. If there's a designated smoking area, introduce large metal ashtrays that are designed to be tip-resistant. Make sure no one is allowed to smoke near oxygen supplies.
Take care with electrical cords and electricity-powered tools and equipment. Make sure electrical cords and plugs are in good condition with no damage, nicks, or frayed areas. Do not run electrical cords under rugs or carpets or overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Additionally, replace any appliances, tools, or pieces of equipment that generate sparks, smoke, or unusual odors.
Be cautious in areas where fires could be more likely. Take extra precautions in kitchens, dining facilities, laundry rooms, and any other areas where fires are more likely to occur. Clean washer and dryer lint traps, making sure grease and other flammable materials don't accumulate on kitchen equipment. Also, ensure flammable substances are safely and securely stored.
Make sure alarms and fire suppression systems are functional. Follow local requirements for placement and maintenance of fire alarms, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire suppression systems. Make sure alarms and detectors are serviced regularly and constantly kept in working order.
- Establish a fire safety and evacuation plan, making sure that everyone working in the facility is aware of these procedures. If possible, conduct fire drills to ensure all workers know evacuation routes and what to do in case of a fire.
- Ensure all exit doors, evacuation routes and essential pathways are not blocked and are free of clutter. Follow local regulations on locking doors and maintaining fire doors.
- Train personnel in the use of fire extinguishers.
- Make sure staff members know where fire alarms are and how to activate them.
- Know where oxygen and compressed gas shut-off controls are and how to use them.
- Ensure staff members recognize the need for immediate action in case of a fire to preserve patient safety.
- Make sure staff members know how to move patients quickly and safely, we well as what should be done to ensure patients remain safe in case of a fire.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on fire safety and prevention for healthcare facilities, and to view projects we've worked on, visit our website!