NHS trusts record a rise in fire incidents, stresses the need for fire door safety

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NHS trusts see an alarming increase in fire incidents

New figures released by NHS Digital reveal a concerning rise in fire incidents recorded by NHS trusts, with 1,372 fires reported in the 2022/23 period.

This marks an increase of over 18% from the previous year, translating to almost four fires daily across the NHS.

This upsurge highlights a critical need for enhanced fire safety measures within healthcare facilities.

In light of these statistics, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland is drawing attention to the critical importance of proper fire door specification, installation, and regular maintenance.

The company underscores the role of fire doors in ensuring safety and compliance within healthcare settings.

The crucial role of fire doors in healthcare safety

Brian Sofley, Managing Director at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland Door Group, emphasized the significance of fire doors as a fundamental safety feature.

“The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires healthcare organisations to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape,” said Sofley.

He pointed out that while correct specification and installation of fire doors are vital, the responsibility extends to regular inspections to ensure ongoing compliance and safety.

Sofley also highlighted the unique challenges faced by healthcare buildings in meeting the specific requirements for fire doorsets, citing varied legislation and building regulations.

He stressed the need for more robust fire protection systems to prevent failures.

Enhancing compliance through technology

ASSA ABLOY’s Openings Studio™ BIM application is part of the solution to aid in compliant fire door specification in hospitals.

The application integrates with design software to facilitate the creation and visualization of complete door, frame, and hardware schedules.

This approach enables a collaborative, real-time validation of designs for compliance, functionality, and aesthetics, culminating in the manufacture of comprehensive doorset solutions.

The Openings Studio™ mobile app further supports the installation process by providing access to data and an easy-to-use system for detailed inspections.

“This report validates if a door has remained compliant, or identifies what elements need to be corrected or replaced to return the product to the required standard, providing full traceability and ownership of all changes at all stages,” explained the company.

Commitment to fire door safety

Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions, offers comprehensive inspections to support fire door safety in hospitals.

These inspections, which can occur at intervals ranging from three to 12 months, aim to identify and address potential issues that could compromise safety and performance.

“These new figures are extremely concerning – hospitals should be a safe and secure environment for staff and patients, and concerns around fire safety should not have to cross their minds,” added Sofley.

He affirmed the company’s dedication to assisting healthcare organisations across the UK in ensuring fire protection across their estates, from door specification and installation to regular, thorough inspections.

IFSJ Comment

The recent surge in fire incidents reported by NHS trusts is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges in maintaining safety standards within healthcare environments.

The emphasis on the critical role of fire doors by ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland serves as a call to action for healthcare organisations to re-evaluate and reinforce their fire safety protocols.

With the integration of advanced technologies like the Openings Studio™ BIM application and mobile app, there’s a pathway towards achieving better compliance and ensuring the safety of both patients and staff.

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