Fire safety is one of the most important norms that need to be considered when creating a safety plan for a hospital. For healthcare facilities, fires pose a great threat to the life and health of individuals including patients, their families doctors, nurses, etc. However, when compared to general buildings, it is tougher to evacuate people from the hospitals as it involves moving immobile and highly dependent patients. Alongside, these facilities contain oxygen supplies and volatile chemicals that can extend the spread of fire easily.
Hospitals have a responsibility to create and implement adequate practices and evacuation plans. In the face of calamity, the hospital administrators and staff should be aware of the nearest exit areas, and how to calmly take the patients out as well. Here are some important practices to follow when planning or implementing fire safety procedures for a healthcare organisation:
- Prepare guideline manual and evacuation plans that need to be shared with the staff for prevention & precautions against fire accidents.
- The staff must be trained regularly on how to handle emergencies in such case or the chaotic environment that accompanies such situations.
- Organisations should conduct safety audits and drills regularly for the effective training of the staff. If they lack the resources, healthcare organisations can contact the Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organizations or CAHO, which is an eminent body providing various training programmes such as fire safety training for hospital staff, hospital training programmes, and healthcare quality certification courses in India.
- Whatever changes are observed during the audits, health facilities should work on their immediate and diligent implementation.
- For large hospitals, tasks for fire safety and evacuations should be appropriately delegated to people as per safety management protocols. A supervisor should be designated that can look into the safety measures of the infrastructure consistently and ensure implementation of changes.
Though there are many protective measures and safety norms that should be practised for proper fire safety management, the above-stated guidelines are some of the vital ones. All these points are extremely essential for the healthcare service renderers, as a lot of lives are dependent on taking action quickly when it comes to fire. There have been many instances wherein the advent of fire, inadequate measures and untimely help has led to high casualties in a hospital. Hence, proper knowledge distribution and training are important for the staff to handle such catastrophes. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.