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17 May 2017

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Blog: Fire safety in your general practice

A place of health and wellbeing, your GP Surgery needs to be a safe haven and one important factor of that is reducing the fire risk and preparing for the worst.

Generally, NHS Property Services are your landlord, which means it is their responsibility to do the hard work. They should be carrying out risk assessments of the property and providing suitable fire detection, prevention, protection, and signage.

It is also their job to supply and maintain fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

But as the tenant, you still have responsibilities to keep on top of. And these are what will keep your patients and staff safe.

Comply with Fire Risk Assessments

It is important that you complete a fire risk assessment for your activities, staff, and patients.

You can first do this by having a list of all the work activities, and then paying particular attention to those which could be a fire hazard, possibly because of the equipment used. To help reduce their risk, you may discover they need relocating, regular maintenance, or even a specific type of extinguisher.

And you also need to consider the people who could be in your General Practice at the time of a fire. The elderly and disabled are likely to need a helping hand as they head for the fire exits, and you should think principally about how you will get them down any stairs.

On top of all of that, you also need to know the findings of the main fire risk assessment, and ensure you are complying with it. For example, this could be the way you store medical gases.

Regular Checks

It is your landlord’s duty to carry out annual servicing of the fire, gas, and electrical equipment which they provide. But you have to undertake regular checks yourself in order to ensure they remain in tip-top, reliable condition.

With electrical equipment, you need to ensure that sockets are not overloaded, and that use of extension leads is kept to a minimum. And with any electrical or gas appliances which you supply, it is your responsibility to ensure they are inspected by professionals as required.

When it comes to the fire safety equipment you’re provided with, visual checks once a week are all you need to do. Look to see that they haven’t been tampered with or used, and that extinguishers are correctly pressurised. If you spot any used, damaged or missing fire-related equipment, then you must inform NHSPS straight away.

Train and Prepare

You need to have staff members trained as fire wardens. With a few selected so you can ensure a fire warden is always present, despite holidays and sickness, they’ll have the knowledge to help with these responsibilities.

They are also on hand to deal with evacuations appropriately and in a calm manner. And likewise, they are able to ensure all staff are aware of the procedures and to handle six-monthly fire drills in order to test your fire evacuation plan and familiarise people with it.

For further information about fire safety, visit where you can also buy everything you need to equip and prepare your fire wardens.

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