Safety

October is the time to review fire safety

Hospital Safety Insider, October 9, 2014

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Fires in hospitals are not a common occurrence, and they are designed that way. Since a great majority of the occupants of a hospital are usually non-ambulatory and are unable to evacuate themselves in the event of a fire, facilities are generally built with a shelter-in-place mentality. Fire doors, fireproof materials, and compartmentalized designs are used to contain a fire and its resulting smoke.

In addition, as part of the accreditation process, The Joint Commission requires hospitals to show equipment is in good working order and to practice fire drills on a regular basis.

Still, hospitals are not immune from the dangers of fire. According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 6,240 fires on healthcare properties from 2006 to 2010 (the latest numbers available), resulting in six civilian deaths, 171 civilian injuries, and $52.1 million in direct property damage. Of those, almost a quarter of the fires were in hospitals or hospices, and cooking equipment caused a majority of those fires (61%), followed by laundry equipment as a distant second, about 10%.

The NFPA has designated October 5-11 as National Fire Prevention Week, and no doubt you spend lots of time as your facility's safety expert keeping fire safety on the forefront. Our safety experts helped us a compile a list of some of the most overlooked fire hazards in the hospital environment.

This is an excerpt from an article in the October issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.

 



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