Hospital Fire Doors: What You Need To Know

Hospital Fire Doors: What You Need To Know

July 10, 2024
staff walking down hospital corridor

Fire safety in hospitals is of critical importance, with hospital environments posing a unique set of challenges that must be accounted for at all times. These healthcare settings have a duty of care for a high number of individuals at any given time, many of whom may be especially vulnerable or have limited mobility. In addition, hospital buildings can have a complex infrastructure with a vast array of rooms and corridors housing hazardous materials and equipment. 

When these risk factors come together in the event of an emergency, evacuation can be incredibly complex. Appropriate fire safety precautions, including adequate hospital fire doors, are key to preventing injury, fatality, and building damage, and ensuring that patients and other building users can make their way to safety as quickly as possible. 

How Do Fire Doors Improve Fire Safety In Hospitals?

There are several measures that can and must be implemented to improve levels of fire safety in hospitals. Fully operational active fire protection such as alarms and sprinklers should always be maintained to a high standard and tested regularly, with appropriate staff  trained on evacuation procedures for when these systems are activated.

Passive fire protection systems also play a vital role in improving fire safety in hospitals. The most prominent of these systems is of course hospital fire doors, which work by restricting the spread of flames and smoke throughout the hospital building. Hospital fire doors contribute to the overall fire safety of the building/site by:

  • Containing fire and smoke – Like all fire doors, hospital fire doors are designed to resist the passage of fire and smoke thanks to their fire-resistant components. This means that the fire doors can contain the fire to a specific area for a specific time period, thus buying time for the building to be evacuated. 
  • Creating a safe evacuation route – By restricting a fire to one given area, hospital fire doors compartmentalise the hospital to limit the extent to which a fire can spread vertically or horizontally. This creates a clear pathway or exit route which patients and staff can utilise to leave the building in an orderly and efficient manner. 
  • Protecting critical areas – Hospitals typically house a range of critical areas, such as operating theatres and intensive care units as well as rooms containing important records and documentation. The strategic placement of hospital fire doors can help to protect these critical areas in the event of an emergency, allowing essential functions to continue or be halted safely. 

Hospital Fire Door Requirements

Most of the hospital fire door rules in the UK are guided by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which stipulates the fire door requirements for all non-domestic premises. As per the Fire Safety Order, all hospitals are required to nominate a ‘Responsible Person’ who oversees passive fire protection measures across the building/site. This individual is responsible for carrying out regular checks on fire doors and dealing with any required maintenance. While the Responsible Person does not have to physically carry out any necessary fire door surveys and remedial work themselves (they can utilise the services of a qualified and/or accredited professional for this), they are responsible for ensuring that the work is completed when necessary so that the hospital fire doors are adequately maintained at all times. Failure to abide by these rules can result in large fines.

Broader fire safety in hospitals guidance from the Department of Health is also relevant to hospital fire doors. The Health Technical Memorandum 05-01 provides details of who has overarching responsibility for all fire precautions: typically the building or hospital manager. Crucially, this guidance stipulates that all healthcare organisations must select a Fire Safety Manager to take charge of all fire safety activities. With overlapping responsibilities, it is likely that this individual will also act as the Responsible Person for fire door maintenance as per Fire Safety Order requirements. Failure to abide by the relevant regulations is both risky and illegal. It is therefore vital that all hospitals take the time to understand their fire safety requirements and implement correctly-fitting and maintained fire doors throughout their buildings. 

In addition, many hospitals will opt to install FD30 or FD60 PVC wrapped fire doors. While this type of fire door is not a legal requirement for hospitals, its use can play a crucial role in improving overall hygiene control within the building. The fire-rated PVC wrapping ensures that staff can maintain suitable levels of cleanliness and prevent the spread of infection highly possible within a busy hospital environment.

If you need any advice or support when it comes to your hospital fire doors, don’t hesitate to get in touch with WGP Maintenance. We have extensive experience carrying out detailed fire door surveys and inspections for large premises and can work with you to install and maintain adequate fire door provisions at your site.

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