Each year in the U.S., thousands of structural fires are ignited within hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. These fires can result in deaths and injuries, as well as billions in property damage and the potential for legal liability. Every healthcare administrator should be aware of the potential fire hazards in their buildings, and take steps to mitigate these risks with strict procedural requirements and the installation of fire suppression systems.
Electricity can be considered the lifeblood of a typical hospital or clinic. Without it, imaging equipment and many surgical tools can’t operate. A hospital’s substantial use of electricity places a significant demand on the electrical wiring throughout the building. Electrical fires can be particularly devastating in terms of property damage. Healthcare administrators should consider regular inspections of electrical wiring and, if possible, the elimination of extension cords.
It’s standard for healthcare facilities to prohibit smoking in their facilities and on their grounds. However, when patients who are addicted to nicotine are hospitalized, it’s possible for their cravings to get the better of them. Patients may try to sneak a smoke in their rooms. This can pose a fire hazard, especially when cigarettes are not properly extinguished because patients are trying to hide them from nursing staff. Cigarettes are even more of a risk when nicotine-addicted patients are receiving oxygen therapy. Fires fueled by oxygen therapy equipment ignite faster and burn hotter than other fires.
Although hospitals aren’t restaurants, there is typically a great deal of food prep activities required on a daily basis. In fact, cooking activities are a top cause of fires in healthcare facilities. Kitchen staff in healthcare facilities should follow strict protocols to reduce the risk of a structural fire.
For professional fire risk management for your healthcare facility, you can turn to the expert team at Kazal Fire Protection, Inc. We design, install, and repair fire detection and suppression systems that are customized to suit the unique needs of individual facilities. You can reach our office in Tucson at (520) 323-1518 to request a consult.