In typical commercial settings, fire protection is relatively straightforward. Fire extinguishers, suppression systems and sprinklers provide protection, and alarms alert building occupants of the threat so they can follow the evacuation route and escape the building.
Conditions are different in a hospital setting where many patients can’t move easily in order to evacuate. Many are even hooked up to life support systems that can’t be transported. This makes fire prevention and protection efforts critical, from the hospital’s layout to the placement and functionality of fire protection equipment to employee training.
The parts of a hospital that usually come to mind are those where patients spend their time: operating rooms, maternity areas, recovery rooms. But as with other commercial buildings with cooking equipment, the most likely place for a fire to break out is in the kitchen.
In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 58 percent of the fires in hospitals between 2006 and 2010 were started by cooking equipment. Trailing behind at a distant second are intentional fires, the cause of 8 percent of hospital blazes within that timeframe. Other causes include smoking materials, electrical or lighting equipment, washers and dryers, and accidents caused by playing with heat sources.
The actions of hospital personnel and the functionality of fire protection systems can mean the difference between a minor incident and a tragic event. That’s why you must prepare today to prevent, control and contain a fire should one ever break out in your Houston hospital.
Once these fire protection devices are installed, you must have them inspected on a regular schedule to ensure they function when you need them.
A fire extinguisher is only useful if every hospital staff member knows how to use one. Make new employee training a priority so every employee can fight a small fire if they need to.
As part of employee training, make sure every doctor, nurse, receptionist and janitor is aware of your fire plan, which should include the following four steps:
Working with a fire protection company is the best way to prevent Houston hospital fires. To learn more, or to schedule fire protection services, please contact Kauffman Co. online or call us today at 713-893-1090.
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