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Fire Safety Training for Hospitals

In December 2011, More than 50 people were evacuated from Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital after a large fire broke out. But it’s not only the fabric of the building that can catch fire, in March 2012 a patient undergoing surgery at a hospital in North Yorkshire was set on fire during the procedure when a solution used to clean the skin ignited. Hospitals are victims of arson with 28 such instances in 2013, and in September 2014 a person was charged with setting fires in two hospitals in Kent.

The NHS Firecode provides guidance on how to design hospital buildings in a fire safe manner. It tells you how to provide fire compartmentation; how to install fire protection measures such as fire detection and alarm systems and sprinklers; and developing fire plans and fire management processes.

There are a unique range of fire hazards and issues and fire training must take these into account

KEY ISSUES


SPECIFIC GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS

Hospitals can be large and complex with very specific fire safety issues. Because of the Firecode and associated Health Technical Memoranda such as HTM 83 must be taken into account in all training and assessment work.

Guidance covers all areas of fire safety including fire prevention, fire risk assessment and the use and storage of flammable substances.

UK fire Training considers the Firecode in all courses run for hospitals

UNIQUE EVACUATION ISSUES

Hospitals can be large and complex and often feature multiple levels and multiple building units on a single site. This must be taken into account in emergency planning and specifically in the creation of evacuation plans. Due to their use, escape concepts may include progressive horizontal evacuation and delayed evacuation. In addition, people with disabilities may need Evacuation Chairs and Ski sheets and other methods may need to be deployed for patients. The use of protected refuges is also a requirement.

UK Fire Training courses take these issues into account.

PEOPLE AT RISK

By their nature, Hospitals will contain a broad section of the community. The needs of the elderly and infirm will need to be considered and there will be babies and very young children. Alarms may not be heard by deaf people and visually impaired patients will need particular assistance. Many patients will be bead bound and some will be connected to oxygen supplied and fluids.

UK Fire Training takes these issues into account at all levels.

FIRE HAZARDS

Hospitals contain a huge variety of combustible items and possible heat sources. X-ray and MRI equipment create specific issues. The storage of flammable substances, liquids and medical gasses all add to the hazard. Oxygen storage and use on wards can all accelerate a fire.

UK Fire Training courses include group discussion on these issues to raise the awareness of delegates.


HOSPITAL FIRE EXAMPLES

Fire in Stoke Mandeville Hospital

A fire that broke out at Stoke Mandeville Hospital last night caused 53 patients to flee for safety.

Patients were evacuated as quickly as possible to other areas of the hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, but three still had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

A total of forty firefighters were called to the hospital at 4.30am in the morning after the blaze broke out on a ward.

 

The fire brigade were only able to start leaving the scene at 7am.

Group manager Neil Boustred from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said: 'Crews were faced with a fire on the second floor of the hospital. They tackled the fire within very hot, arduous conditions'.

 

Two other wards, and the remainder of the second floor, were also affected by smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the trust and the fire service.

Great Ormond Street Hospital fire: Dozens of children evacuated

Dozens of children were evacuated from wards at the world famous Great Ormond Street Hospital after fire caused an explosion.

Flames swept through the fifth floor cardiac wing of the hospital in central London. It is thought an oxygen cylinder exploded shortly after 8.30am.

There were no reported injuries amongst patients or staff at the hospital but it is thought four firefighters were hurt while tackling the blaze.

Between 30 and 40 children were evacuated to other parts of the hospital and London Ambulance Service was on standby in case all patients needed to be moved to other hospitals.

London Fire Brigade has declared the fire a major incident and six fire engines and 35 firefighters were sent, along with two ambulances and a Hazardous Area Response Team, in case any chemicals were involved.

All children who were well enough to be discharged were sent home, in accordance with standard procedure, a hospital spokesman said.

The fire was brought under control shortly after 10am and fire crews will check the area before hospital staff can assess the damage.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched by London Fire Brigade and the police.

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