In a healthcare facility, fire safety is one of the highest pressures and a significant area for the management. Besides medical personnel, there are sick, disabled and elderly patients.
There can be no room for error and the management must do everything possible to keep the people inside these facilities safe. Hence, facility managers should pay attention to detail and routine safety checks should be conducted. This can help to keep fires under control or prevent them altogether.
What are the Rules and Regulations/Laws relating to fire safety in a healthcare facility?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has Acts and Regulations in place relating to fire safety in a healthcare facility. A number of relevant Australian Standards and Codes of Practice also provide best practice advice on fire safety. There are specifications and procedures designed to ensure that equipment or materials are fit for their purpose and consistently perform as specified in state and federal regulations.
Building fire safety regulations generally aim to ensure that people can evacuate buildings safely and quickly in the event of a fire or hazardous materials emergency, and that prescribed fire safety installations for buildings are maintained.
Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, for particular types of premises like residential aged care facilities in specific areas, additional legal obligations exist. For example, automatic fire sprinklers have to be installed.
What is the best way to prevent cooking equipment from causing fires in your healthcare facility?
Healthcare facility fires usually occur where cooking equipment is located. In most cases, when proper care is taken, these fires can be contained to the appliance where the fire began, thus preventing it from spreading out of the kitchen.
Here are a few basic tips to help ensure fire safety in your healthcare facility:
- Avoid grease fires by emptying appliances and grease traps on a regular basis.
- Store any flammable liquids, oils, or other items far away from cooking equipment.
- Clean grills and grill ducts regularly to ensure that nothing flammable remains in the cracks and gaps.
- Check all electrical cords for frays or tears. Replace them immediately.
- Keep portable fire extinguishers close by and ensure that your staff knows how to operate them.
- Carefully monitor kitchens and canteens, especially during meal preparation times.
- Make sure that your staff is fully aware of your facility’s fire safety plan.
- If fires do occur, employees need to stay calm and act quickly so that the fires do not spread beyond the kitchen.
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