Within any medical and healthcare institution the standards of health and safety are paramount at all times. This is of course understood by the wider public in terms of the cleanliness and hygiene levels associated with all areas of a hospital, GP surgery, or other medical facility and the practice rooms and surgical rooms where patients are treated and accommodated. For many people there is little awareness or consideration for another aspect of health and safety within a medical institution, that of fire doors and the prevention of the spread of fire, smoke and gases in a worst-case scenario.
Fire doors are always an important aspect when a hospital or other medical building is being designed and built. They provide safety in the case of a fire, providing a secure route to safety for staff, patients and visitors if a fire breaks out on the premises, whilst shutting off fire into smaller areas of a building with the hope of preventing further damage to the building, as well as much-needed medical supplies, expensive and delicate equipment, and patients that are vulnerable and cannot be moved quickly, or in some cases at all.
The importance of fire doors therefore is clear for all to see, but what about the importance of maintaining fire doors in a hospital or other medical institution once they have been installed?
Fire safety equipment of all types must be maintained on a regular basis, especially in somewhere as sensitive and housing vulnerable people and expensive equipment as a hospital. Regular and consistent and intensive use (where there is heavy footfall) will have a negative impact on fire doors and other fire safety equipment. It will lead to natural levels of wear and tear, or a fire door may be damaged due to vandals, or damaged when being used in an incorrect manner.
It is important to train all employees in understanding fire safety, including fire doors and how to use them effectively. By understanding the important role that a fire door plays in preventing the spread of fire, damage, injury and fatalities, will help the staff at a hospital or other medical institution to use them correctly. If a fire door becomes damaged due to being propped open, used incorrectly, vandalised or a lack of repair, maintenance or replacement, it could lead to loss of life in the worst circumstances. Make sure that hospital staff understand the severity of consequences for an inadequate fire door.
This understanding of how to correctly use a fire door and how to spot damage that can be quickly rectified will help to save money that could otherwise be spent on more important aspects of a hospital or GP surgery. Add to that the disruption caused when fire doors have to be replaced, with certain important aspects of medical care being halted or delayed as workmen replace fire doors, and it becomes apparent how important it is to train, understand the wear and tear and what to look out for with fire doors, and to utilise them correctly at all times.