Another hospital in flames…

Fire engulfs several floors of Istanbul hospital building, patients evacuated
— Read on

Hospital fires are a very serious matter indeed. Compared to any other occupancy, hospital fires have the potential to cause large numbers of casualties and fatalities. This is not difficult to understand because patients in hospitals can be very sick and frail, can be confined to the bed and immobile or can be undergoing treatment. These are all very vulnerable people in a fire situation!

Fire safety management in hospitals thus has to be in a tip-top condition. There must be a combination of passive protection measures and active fire suppression systems to contain any fire outbreak.  Smoke control systems will be very critical for hospitals because hot smoke spreads far and wide, easily and quickly, which creates panic, besides being more lethal than the fire itself. Safe areas of refuge must be created within hospital buildings to serve as intermediate holding areas for evacuees and in order to shorten the evacuation route, which is particularly important for immobile patients who have to be wheeled.

Hospitals must maintain a team of specially trained emergency response personnel to watch over fire safety in the building. Preferably, they should be able to execute fire-fighting tasks. This same team will ensure the proper maintenance of the passive and active fire safety systems in the building. This same team will also plan and conduct an evacuation of the hospital if required.

Prevention is also an important theme. Heat sources and the use of fires in hospitals must be properly controlled to cut down on the possibility of a fire breaking out. The use of non-combustibles or less combustible material within the hospitals are highly recommended. If the use of flammables and combustibles is unavoidable, then extra precautions must be exercised. Workers and staff must constantly be trained and educated on fire safety.

INSPIRO Fire & Crisis Pte Ltd is a fire, emergency and crisis consultancy firm incorporated in Singapore.


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