Nursing Homes Fire Safety
Nursing homes care for the most vulnerable of our citizens. Having an excellent fire safety program is place is important because many residents are elderly, frail, or disabled and have limited mobility. They also sleep at the facility, and people, obviously, are far less alert to fire or smoke danger when they are sleeping. This article will identify some of the more common fire hazards in a nursing home and offer suggestions on improving fire safety.
- Ansul Fire Protection
Ansul fire fighting school classroom training for fire extinguisher, flammable liquid gas, hand portable extinguishers, LNG fire training.
- Hoodmart Fire Suppression Systems
High quality commercial and restaurant kitchen exhaust, grease, odor and fume ventilation equipment. Every commercial kitchen exhaust hood and ventilation system is also available with pre-piped fire suppression.
Fire supression in the kitchen
The most likely place for a fire to start is the kitchen where grease is deposited by exhaust vapors throughout range hoods, filters, and ducts. Combined with gas service lines and high heat, grease build-up in the range creates a hazardous fire environment. Install
an Ansul-type, wet chemical fire extinguishing system in the kitchen that covers both the
grills and the ventilating equipment (hoods and exhaust ducts) of the gas ranges. Employees can activate such systems by hitting a manual switch; or they can activate automatically through heat sensors. These systems also have automatic fuel and electrical shut-off devices which will
shut down the fuel supply if there is a fire. Have the system
tested and serviced at least annually by a certified contractor. Resources that explain more about fire suppression systems are listed in the box at the right.
If such an Ansul-type system is not financially feasible in your facility, install a fire extinguisher containing “Purple K” extinguishing agent within reach of the range. Purple K is a specially fluidized and siliconized potassium bicarbonate dry chemical that is especially effective on flammable liquids and pressurized gases from kitchen fires. It is also electrically non-conductive. Supplement this with BC UL 300 listed fire extinguishers throughout the kitchen.
- National Fire Protection Association
NFPA develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.
Proper houskeeping and maintenance
Have range hoods and duct work cleaned at least monthly and provide grease removal filters or extraction devices. Effective types of grease filters include baffle, water wash, and dry-cartridge removable filters. New exhaust hood systems are also incorporating ultra-violet (UV) treatment to break down grease molecules which are then removed through the exhaust system.
Your electrical systems should be periodically surveyed by a licensed electrical contractor to inspect for wear, overloads, and needed repairs. It must be in compliance with NFPA 70 of the National Fire Code.
Oxygen tanks for respiration therapy are common in nursing homes. They can pose a hazard in a fire because oxygen will “feed” the flames and cause the fire to intensify or spread. Store all oxygen tanks (full or empty) upright in carts or chained against a sturdy wall or other support. Only place in use the number of tanks necessary for patient therapy. Store all other tanks upright in a fire resistant or fireproof container or vault.
Do not allow smoking within the facility or within 30 feet of the building. Provide a “smoke shack” or similar enclosure for employees, visitors, or residents who insist on polluting their lungs. Ensure the smoke shack has a non combustible floor, like concrete, and that there are ample ash buckets to extinguish ashes.
Do not allow storage of flammable or combustible solvents or other chemicals inside the facility unless they are locked in fire proof containers. Only keep on the hand amount of chemicals you will need for a week. Store all other surplus supplies in a separate building or shed at least 30 feet from the nursing home.
General fire supression
The facility should have automatic fire sprinkler protection throughout 100% of the interior. If the exterior is constructed of combustible materials you should consider exterior protection as well. Have the sprinkler system inspected inspected at least once by the local Fire Marshall, and inspected and tested at least annually by a licensed contractor. Ensure that heat and smoke detectors are hard-wired (not battery operated) and connected to a central monitoring station. Sprinklers are especially important at the top of laundry chutes, inside laundry areas, and outside furnace, utility, and HVAC closets.
Your facility should also have an adequate number of ABC portable fire extinguishers located strategically throughout the building. Have them inspected and tagged annually by a licensed contractor. Provide employees "hands on" fire extinguisher training at least annually.
Ensure that at least two employees are awake during every shift and that they make periodic rounds throughout the entire building.
Purchase only fire resistant fabrics for curtins, blankets, linens, resident gowns and other cloth furnishings.
Keep washers and dryers clean of lint and dust. Clean dryer lint screens after every load and vacuum or blow out exhaust ducts frequently.