Reported fire incidents serve as a reminder of the significant disruption a fire can bring to any environment, but particularly, within hospitals. Even with the most robust fire safety plan in place there are valuable lessons to be learned following each incident.
Fire Consultant, Colin Newman, delivers courses at Eastwood Park, the leading training provider for decontamination, hospital engineering and Estates & FM in healthcare. As Colin stresses: “Large scale evacuations are never easy, but with the additional needs of patients, including those with poor mobility, under medication or dependent on electrical/mechanical equipment to survive, complete evacuation of a facility can be an impractical option, and could pose more of a risk than the fire itself. There are a number of evacuation strategies outlined in HTM 05-02 that don’t require the removal of everybody from a building. Progressive horizontal evacuation, for example, is generally considered a preferable strategy.”
Colin is renowned for his expertise, particularly in healthcare. He has also been a Principal Fire Consultant to the Department of Health and delivered many Firecode courses to design engineers, architects, building control and approved inspectors and local fire authority fire safety officers, as well as lecturing at the Fire Service College.
He emphasises that specialist fire knowledge is a vital part of any new build project: “It is essential that fire safety plans are taken into consideration at all stages of the design and build process for a healthcare facility and this requires specialist knowledge and training. And even though full evacuation is avoided if possible, it is, of course, essential that this too is prepared for should it be the only option available.”
Eastwood Park’s fire safety training includes fire precautions in building design to specialist guidance for hospital fire safety managers. As well as training for those carrying out fire risk assessments in hospitals or having to assess their suitability.