When it comes to healthcare facilities, fire prevention is essential. Everywhere from nursing homes to hospitals can be at risk for fires, and fires can lead to injuries, deaths, and even property loss. If you’re a healthcare provider, typically you are working with those who are sick, elderly, and disabled. Facility managers need to know how to keep their patients safe, so if possible, doing routine safety checks can keep this under control period.
Here are some tips for fire safety within healthcare facilities that you should implement.
Monitor the Kitchen
While there are many places where fires happen, probably the biggest place they happen, is the kitchen, due to cooking equipment, with over half of the fires originating from this location. The peak time for fires is of course, when meal prep happens, which is about 8-9 am and the second around 4-5. This is obvious because chances are, you’re working with fire and equipment, and grease fires typically are the main cause of these fires.
They rarely do leave the kitchen, and usually, happen where the appliance is, but prevention is the way to go. How do you prevent these from happening? Well, you first want to make sure grease traps are cleaned regularly to prevent fires. If there are any flammable liquids such as oils and other items, keep them away from what you’re using to cook. You should make sure that the grills and the ducts are cleaned on the regular so that nothing flammable goes in. You should check for any tears and frays in electrical cords. And finally, make sure you have fire extinguishers in the vicinity so people can use them. You should make sure that everything is checked during prep time so that you have a safe kitchen that people can cook in. Healthcare facilities typically have kitchens to give patients meals, and it’s important to make sure the area is kept safe.
Check Your Outlets and Electrical Equipment
The second most common fire is an electrical fire. Now, what’s scare about these is that they can’t be contained to just a singular room, and usually, about 20% of fires are caused by outlets that are overloaded with plugs. Usually, insulation is what causes the fires, so if they’re frayed and torn, that’s grounds for danger.
In a healthcare facility, you need to make sure that electrical fires are avoided. The biggest way to do so is to avoid extension chords whenever you can. You can move appliances to new outlets, and you should consider extension cords as a temporary measure, not something you do as a permanent thing. Cords that are used have to be in a good condition and need to be away from anything flammable. Make sure to never run them through doorways or walls, and never under a rub or carpet. You should check for cords that are cracked or split, any bad plugs, anything that’s overloaded, and anything in an area where they can be tripped over. The multi-plug adaptors, while they make be great as a temporary thing, can overload the outlet, so if you’re going to use this, make sure electricians are setting these up. If you notice that there is anything awry, always contact the facility in order to ensure that you get it sorted out.
Keep Smokers in a Separate Area
Smoking is something that should be avoided in healthcare facilities for the most part, but the purpose of this post isn’t to chide others about the dangers of smoking, it’s to talk about how to keep a healthcare facility safe. You should make sure smoking never happens within the non-smoking areas, and a separate location should be used for smokers to smoke. You should as well, make sure that you don’t have these smoking areas near any oxygen machines. If you light a cigarette there, they essentially will cause sudden fires, and the thing is, oxygen will essentially give the fire more life than you would care for it to have. Oxygen makes fires grow quicker, are easier to burn, and they can actually be hotter than typical fires area. So, this and healthcare don’t mix, and if possible, have cigarettes are far away from oxygen machines. You should make sure that the ashtrays are deep, and they don’t tip over so that you don’t have cigarettes burning areas. As another suggestion, consider getting the glass ashtrays since they are less likely t burn than the plastic or other alternatives, which will keep the area even safer than before.
Put a Wet-Pipe Sprinkler System In
Wet Pipe sprinkler systems are sprinklers that essentially discharge the water that is in them the second the sprinkler detects a fire heat. So, even if it’s something small, it could help with preventing even the smallest of kitchen fires. But, not every healthcare system has this, and it actually can save you a ton of money in the event of a fire. These sprinklers are easy to find, and almost all of the fires that happen are essentially able to confine the fire to just the point of origin. What this means for you, is that you can save yourself a lot of money, and even save lives with just this small change. If you don’t have them, you essentially are going to have about 15K of property damage, but with these sprinklers, it allows for about 5K in terms of damage, which is still quite a bit, but it’s far less than if you just didn’t have this period. Plus, it makes a world of a difference if you do throw these in and if you’re able to create a safer system. These can save lives, and save the property from further damage.
Train yourself to Use the Equipment
While you may consider fire warden training as a healthcare facility manager, minimally you’ll want to make sure that your staff is trained in this. you’ll want to make sure that your staff knows how to use the fire safety equipment. You should make sure that they know where the extinguishers are, and how they can use these. You should, as a healthcare facility provider, ensure that you have all of the extinguishers in working order, and teach your staff about the importance of using them.
You should make sure that the extinguishers are in the right location, make sure they are easy for you to access and take anything that s blocking these out of the way. You should check to make sure the safety seals are on there, and if they’re broken, replace. If you notice they’re damaged on the outside, replace these too. If you notice that the nozzles are leaking, logged when in use, or corroded, that could be a sign of malfunction, and make sure to get those replaced. If possible, make sure the gauge readings are correct, and the instructions are simple to read so that everyone knows how to use it. You should also lift the extinguisher to see if it’s full too. If you notice that anything fails this, always replace them, and make sure that you have an inspector for any maintenance that you do annually.
For the staff, plan a staff meeting and teach them about fire safety. You can teach them about the extinguishers because there is a very strong chance they don’t’ know how to use these. Most people don’t know how to use one, and that could mean a difference between a place surviving and a place burning down. So yes, learn how to utilize these, for it could save the area, and even save lives as well.
Be Cautious in Areas where Fires Happen
This isn’t just making sure that kitchen fires happen, but any dining facility, laundry area, or places where fires happen need to be kept up to snuff in terms of safety. You should make sure that any traps that are in the laundry room are kept safe, and you should make sure that all flammable substances are stored correctly. You typically do have fires that happen here, and most of the time, they’re a result of people not cleaning these small areas and making the changes, so make sure that you take your time, and ensure that you put the time and effort into the fire safety and care tips that you need to put into place.
Make Sure all of the Equipment for Fire Prevention is Operational
You should make sure that smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and suppression systems for fires are also checked, and maintained as needed. You should test these all at least once a month and ensure that they’re all in proper working order. Alarm systems are very important since, in the event of the fire, you will have the means to let others know that you need to leave the facility, and if these aren’t working, it could mean trouble for those in the facility. You also will need these, especially to work, because if you’re working with older patients and those who aren’t able to walk and move easily, those small factions of time could mean a difference between them getting out or not, so it’s integral to ensure that people hear these alarms when needed.
Create a Fire Safety Plan
Finally, you need a safety plan that will all of your people to know what to do in the event of an emergency. You should follow the Race method, which involves rescuing anyone in danger, activating the fire alarm or respond the second you hear the alarm, confine the fires by closing off hallways and doors and extinguish only small fires, leaving the rest to the fire department if it’s a large-scale fire. Your employees need to be trained in being calm especially if there is a fire because freaking out and overreacting is the worst thing to do. You need a level head.
If possible, make sure that you know the safety plan, and train those who will use it so they know the responsibilities. Fire drills and other reviews are used to keep this in mind. Plus, with your monitoring and vigilance of the different equipment, you can make sure that a fire doesn’t happen in the place that you’re In period through the use of this safety plan.
Fire safety plans are something that should be established, and you should give everyone an assigned role so that they know what to do in the case of fires. You should make sure, as a facility manager, to keep the hallways and routes free of anything that will clutter them. If you have gas shut-offs and oxygen shut-offs for equipment, always make sure that you know how to use these. You should also have a couple of staff members trained in immediate care so that you can keep fire prevention and safety at the forefront. You should make sure that the staff members finally know how to move the patients and to keep them safe in case of a fire. This is especially important if you’re working in a healthcare facility that involves a lot of older patients or those who are sick and typically need help with moving. You can train them in moving the patients out of there so that when a fire does happen, they know immediately how to do so and to keep the patients safe and sound.
Fires do happen, and it’s very important that you know how to keep patients safe in the event of these. that’s why we highlighted the top fire safety tips to ensure that you have your patients kept safe and sound and to keep the lives of everyone in check. it’s super important, and if you don’t’ have a plan already, it’s imperative that you do implement one, for the sake and safety of the people there, and so that everyone is kept safe in the event of fire too.