Healthcare facility managers often have to overcome challenges to evacuate patients effectively, provide protection to wards and areas of the building or simply to look at alternative solutions to structural changes.
Fire protection systems can be used as solutions for many dilemmas, such as elimination of a secondary means of escape, extension of travel distances or a reduction in fire resistance compartmentalisation. With the support of British Standards, water mist is becoming an increasingly popular choice for retrofitting as the water tank is considerably smaller than a sprinkler system. This is advantageous in buildings where a purpose built plant space does not exist.
Well-designed healthcare facilities enable the delivery of an optimum quality and quantity of care, and as such are the primary financial asset to a healthcare provider, and this extends from the private sector to the NHS. Existing estates can be an obstacle to innovations in medical care, especially given that levels in the investment of the NHS are likely to face constraints for the foreseeable future.
The focus of investment will need to be made on maximising the use of existing facilities throughout a building’s lifespan. Healthcare facility managers often have to overcome challenges to evacuate patients effectively, provide protection to wards and areas of the building or simply to look at alternative solutions to structural changes. Fire protection systems can be used as solutions for many dilemmas, such as elimination of a secondary means of escape, extension of travel distances or a reduction in fire resistance compartmentalisation.
Sprinkler systems have been the traditional method of applying automatic suppression within the healthcare industry. Retrofitting these systems can present major issues within existing healthcare estates, as most buildings simply do not have the space to house a sprinkler tank.
Rapid fire suppression and control, the benefits of water mist are well documented, in particular for a speedy clean up after activation with less water than a sprinkler and reduced smoke damage.
Busy hospital or care home facilities can be a challenge for any design and installation team, as pipework, equipment and engineering need to integrate into the building services. Paul Ruttley, Managing Director of Ultra Surefire explains further “Water mist systems are ideal where passive fire protection may be a challenge for fire compartmentalisation. For major work in roof spaces where passive protection is a problem, water mist can be installed to reduce the impact on the construction process and access. For example, where asbestos is removed in old properties reducing the fire rating of the structure, a water mist system can provide a solution for means of escape protection for the structure”.
Working with these challenges, Ultra Surefire have overcome many issues to deliver water mist systems to protect wards, corridors and escape routes in a variety of NHS hospitals, care homes and health trusts. Phased installations and good housekeeping is the key to our success, especially when integrating our work with patient and other hospital services.