Fire Safety Tips for Healthcare Facilities

At healthcare facilities, patients are relying on staff for their overall health and safety. When patients are incapable of evacuating on their own, having all the necessary fire safety precautions is crucial. Plans need to be in place well ahead of an emergency. Most healthcare facilities also contain highly flammable chemicals and oxygen tanks which increase fire hazards.

Here are a few fire safety suggestions for healthcare facilities.

Train Staff on Fire Safety and Evacuations

Healthcare workers must know how to use fire safety equipment. Regularly scheduling training on how to use extinguishers and where alarms are located is a good idea. In the event of a fire, workers should also know where to shut off oxygen and compressed gas. Having an evacuation plan in place is essential for patient safety. Patients that cannot move unassisted need to be located and moved. Activated alarms notify everyone in the building that there is an emergency. Extinguish small fires with fire extinguishers but let the fire department take care of large fires.

Monitor Kitchens

Most healthcare facilities have a kitchen. Whether people are working there or not, monitoring the area is important. One of the top three causes of structure fires is cooking. Equipment needs to be properly cleaned and ventilated, and flammable materials kept away from open flames. Food should also never be left unsupervised while cooking.

Another area to keep fire safety in mind is the laundry room. If the healthcare facility has on-site laundry, monitoring these areas is also a good idea. Leaving lint in the dryer’s lint trap is one cause of fire. Clear the lint from the trap after every use or post signs reminding users to do so.

Check Electrical Outlets and Wires

Just like anywhere else make sure electrical cords and outlets are in good working condition to avoid shorting. Also, with so much equipment around it is important to not overload electrical outlets. Replace any equipment that begins to spark, smoke, or produces an odor when plugged in. Do not run cords under rugs or in areas where they are frequently wheeled over. Cord placement should be kept in mind with so much moving furniture and wheel traffic.

Designate Smoking Areas Outside

Smoking in healthcare facilities is a bad idea for several reasons, one being a fire hazard. You should never smoke near a high concentration of oxygen. Oxygen gas is extremely flammable. Where there is more oxygen fires burn faster and hotter than usual. Other flammable chemicals are also common in healthcare facilities. Smokers should be aware of their surroundings before they light a cigarette. Mark designated smoking areas outside as well as the distance from the entrance that smoking is allowed for fire safety as well as courtesy to patients.

Special Hazard Fire Suppression or Sprinklers

Healthcare facilities must make sure their fire protection systems are in working order just like everywhere else. All facilities need to meet code with both placement and maintenance of fire suppression systems. The sprinkler systems and alarms are the first line of defense for fire safety. This means inspections need to be done regularly and leaks need to be repaired.

If your healthcare facility needs a repair or adjustment to the fire protection system, Valley Fire Protection can help. Contact us today!

Related Topics: Fire Safety // Healthcare
By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.

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