Case study: Fire protection for healthcare facilities

By Garry Kwok, National Manager, Technical Services Group

Nepean Hospital

Nepean Hospital in Penrith, New South Wales

With complex medical equipment and infirm, often immobile residents, fire protection in healthcare facilities requires careful planning and technical knowledge.

Having inadequate or improper fire protection systems and procedures can expose patients and staff to dangers, lead to potential injury or in a worst case scenario, loss of life.

Hazards will vary depending on the healthcare centre or hospital but can include medical equipment, chemicals and bio-hazard substances, kitchen or heating appliances, flammable liquids and combustible waste material. It is important that healthcare providers seek a fire protection solution that is tailored for the specific needs of their facility, staff and patients.

Wormald has been the fire protection service provider for Nepean Hospital in Penrith, New South Wales for the past eight years. In 2012, the 520 bed teaching hospital opened a new surgical wing, known as the East Block in which the team installed a comprehensive fire detection system.

The VIGILANT® MX4428 fire alarm system is networked with the main panel offers a highly sensitive and rapid response to fire and a very low false alarm rate to ensure minimal disruption to hospital operations.

Wormald also supplied and installed approximately 1500 detectors, manual call points and door holders throughout the hospital’s East Block, Chapel and Intensive Care Unit. A smoke control system, incorporating a dedicated fire fan control panel, manages the fans which form a part of the building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. The fire fan control panel is interfaced with the MX4428 fire alarm system and operates automatically in ‘fire mode’ in the event of a general fire alarm and provides manual control of the smoke control system to emergency services.

A modern evacuation system was also installed in the form of a VIGILANT QE90 Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS). The EWIS features a flexible alarm and voice warning system, with speakers mounted throughout the building. A dedicated emergency telephone network is provided to ensure the hospital’s fire wardens and emergency services personnel can control rapid evacuation.

The fire protection and evacuation systems installed at Nepean’s new surgical wing offer a high level of protection for hospital staff and patients. Their flexible nature means the systems can be easily reconfigured if new buildings are added or existing buildings change function.

If you’d like to find out more about Wormald’s fire protection systems and services, call 133 166 or visit the Wormald website

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