In a hospital or healthcare environment─ including nursing homes─ the potential safety risks cast a wide net; everything from violence to infectious disease control. Fire safety is just one of the risks that medical facilities need to be ready for.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2006 and 2010, there were 6,240 fires on healthcare properties, almost 25% of which were in hospitals or hospices. Those fires resulted in six civilian deaths, 171 civilian injuries, and $52.1 million in direct property damage. Here in Toronto, Ontario, fires in healthcare facilities regularly make the news, most often related to nursing homes, but also sometimes for hospitals.
If you work in a healthcare facility, here is a list of some of the common fire hazards to watch out for. Run through the list and help your facility stay on the right side of fire and building code compliance.
4 Tips to Be Ready for a Fire:
- Have an up-to-date fire safety plan and practice it. Read about fire safety plans here.
- Keep working and well-maintained fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, a fire sprinkler system, a fire alarm system and suppression system.
- Maintenance efforts should be documented. Read about fire alarm maintenance checklists here.
- Train your staff on fire extinguisher use, evacuation procedures, and other fire safety education. The regular staff training at the Fairview Lodge nursing home in Whitby (where an entire wing was recently destroyed by fire) is widely considered to have been the reason why the staff was able to safely evacuate 192 residents with no injuries.