Healthcare facilities are meant to be places where people can receive the care they need, whether it’s a doctor’s office for an annual checkup or an assisted living center or nursing home for round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, these buildings are at a higher risk of fires due to the equipment used, their age, and layout and this can be a disaster for a vulnerable population. Our fire alarm system installation company is sharing the information you need to plan an appropriate fire safety system for your facility that can save lives and protect property.
Causes and Locations of Fires in Healthcare Facilities
Before we discuss the types of fire safety and fire protection systems you need, let’s consider the most likely areas and causes of fire in healthcare facilities. According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, there were 5,720 fires in health and medical buildings between 2011 and 2015. Of these:
- 48 percent were in nursing homes and assisted living facilities;
- 22 percent were in mental health facilities;
- 20 percent were in hospitals and hospice centers;
- 10 percent in doctors’ offices and clinics;
Why are the majority of fires in nursing homes and mental health facilities? Cooking fires, heating systems, and wiring in older buildings make up almost 80 percent of the fires that occur. Nursing homes and mental health centers are more likely to be older than hospitals and clinics, so their equipment, wiring, and other elements of the building may not be up-to-date.
Fire Alarm System Necessities
Regardless of your type of healthcare facility, there are certain things every building needs, in accordance with NFPA 101’s Life Safety Code, to protect your patients and staff.
Fire alarm systems are key to alerting everyone in the building of fire so evacuation processes can begin immediately. Regulations require building-wide fire alarm systems as well as either full-coverage smoke detectors or corridor smoke detectors.
Emergency Lighting and Exit Lighting
In the event the power goes out during a fire, having emergency lighting to guide the way out is key to being able to reach exits safely. Brightly lit signs that point the way to the exit along with low lighting to guide the way can make the evacuation process smooth and minimize panic.
Fire Protection Systems
While sprinkler systems and fire suppression systems are a crucial key to reducing injuries, it’s even more important when you have a population with limited mobility. An aggressive fire sprinkler system in a nursing home can literally save lives by slowing the spread of fire, minimizing smoke, and giving you more time to get patients to safety.
Keeping an Up-to-Date Fire Alarm System
Fire safety systems in healthcare facilities are essential, but so is regular maintenance and testing. The installation company you choose will also work with you to test the systems on a regular basis as well as perform routine maintenance to ensure it’s always in good working order when you need it most. Regular fire alarm system inspections save lives and improve outcomes.
Healthcare Facilities and BDA Systems
If a fire breaks out, you need emergency services at the scene. As first responders go through the building, working on evacuations, putting out the fire, or giving the all clear, they rely on their radios to communicate with other people on their team. However, hospitals, nursing homes, and large medical centers cover thousands of square feet and consist of concrete, brick, and steel which can block radio frequencies and lead to danger for first responders.
Having a bi-directional amplifier (BDA) installed with your fire alarm system will boost the signal of first responders’ radios and eradicating dead zones. This improves communication, ensuring your building is safer as well as ensures your healthcare facility is up to code.
Contact Us to Learn More About Fire Safety Systems for Healthcare Facilities
If your hospital, clinic, or nursing home needs an updated fire alarm system or fire protection system, we can help. Our experienced team can sit down with you to design, install, and maintain an up-to-date system that will span your entire building, increasing safety and improving outcomes should a fire break out. To learn more, reach out to us today at (800) 255-5664 or fill out the form below.