Fire Alarm Systems - Healthcare Sector

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The healthcare sector provides medical practices to help the wellbeing of individuals. Hospitals, Doctor's surgeries, Dentists and many other health care facilities all belong to the healthcare sector. Many of these facilities are open to the public and therefore, it is vital that suitable fire detection is in place.

The cost rate of healthcare varies depending upon the country you are in. Healthcare within the UK is funded by the government (the NHS) and is free for UK residents. The NHS is the UK’s primary source of care which is made up of a wide range of organisations aiming to deliver the most appropriate, beneficial health care for those in need of medical assistance or procedures.

Hospital Fire at the Royal Marsden Hospital

On Wednesday 2nd January 2008 a fire broke out in a plant room on the top floor of the Royal Marsden Hospital - a specialist cancer treatment hospital in London. The fire burned through the roof and caused extensive damage to the hospital’s top floor, putting five operating theatres and at least two wards out of action.

All patients and staff had to be evacuated from the building, including seventy-nine inpatients that had to be relocated to another nearby medical facility. Three of the patients evacuated were undergoing surgery in the operating theatres in the basement of the hospital at the time of the fire, and six were in intensive care.

The London Fire Brigade declared the fire a “25-pump” fire, requiring 123 firefighters, over 25 appliances, and 16 ambulances to bring the fire under control and get all of the building’s occupants to safety.

Fortunately, due to suitable warning from the building's fire alarm system and strict evacuation procedures, there were no serious casualties or injuries and just two of the the hospital's staff were treated for slight smoke inhalation.

What is the Importance of a Reliable Fire Alarm System?

Most buildings within the healthcare sector are open to the public. On top of this, many of their visitors are often unwell and unable to move quickly, freely and/or without assistance. If a fire is to break out, it is imperative that a building's occupants are provided with a suitable amount of time to reach safety. Therefore, it is vital that the building's fire alarm system is able to provide a fast and reliable warning of fire.

In addition to this, false alarms can trigger unnecessary evacuation, causing undue stress and panic to both patients and staff, and causing disruption to service.

Downtime in a healthcare centre, caused by fires or false alarms, could be devastating to both the business and the patients. A delay in procedures could not only equate to loss of life, but also financial implications and challenges in providing health services.

Healthcare facilities often contain vast amounts of flammable materials and combustible gases and chemicals, all leading to the rapid spread of fire. Fires in health care facilities, or any building, could cause particular damage not only from flames and heat generated, but also from smoke that can travel rapidly throughout the building.

All of the above call for fast and reliable fire detection in order to prevent loss of life, casualties, and operational downtime.

What is the Solution?

When providing fast and reliable detection for healthcare facilities there are a number of important factors to consider. The fire alarm system must be able to provide fast detection of fire and provide both a recognisable audible and visual warning, loud enough to alert the building’s occupants of fire.

Manual call points must be readily available in areas where detectors can not be used or would be deemed ineffective.

Zoning of fire alarms is also crucial for healthcare facilities, allowing personnel to determine where a potential fire incident is occurring, allowing them to evacuate areas only at high risk, while putting other areas on high alert.

Therefore, analogue addressable fire alarm systems are among the most common fire alarm systems used in healthcare facilities.

ProFyre Analogue Addressable Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

The ProFyre range of analogue addressable fire detection equipment offers a complete, high quality and reliable fire detection system for projects ranging from small to large complex, networkable sites. It is built on a powerful communication protocol that is reliable and flexible and is expandable to meet future developments.ProFyre Analogue Addressable Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

ProFyre analogue addressable systems can accommodate for up to 250 devices per loop and every smoke or heat detector can be paired with a Sandwich Sounder if audibility is an issue.

Its simple user interface uses a high-visibility LCD display for all the end-user and engineers needs. Initial configuration, additions or minor changes can be configured at the system's control panel and every ProFyre loop device can be addressed via DIL switches or using a hand-held programmer.

Flexible, ‘Open’ Protocol Solution

When a system is provided with a ‘Closed’ protocol all of its devices and control panels use their own, specific protocol and access to the protocols technical details are not provided. This restricts its use to only specific approved installers. Eurofyre believe that the client has the right to choose their own maintainer and vow to provide the highest level of support possible, therefore, ProFyre provides an ‘open’ protocol system, giving the owner full control of how the system is managed. Full support, access codes, manuals, software and spare parts are all provided regardless of who is appointed to maintain or manage the fire alarm system, helping third-party manufacturers and suppliers to produce compatible equipment using the same protocol.


Eurofyre are proud, British manufacturers of specialist fire detection systems for commercial and industrial applications. Our range of products includes, but is not limited to, analogue addressable fire alarm systems, 2-wire fire detection systems, conventional fire alarm systems, aspirating smoke detection and video smoke detection.

Our expertise and experience enables us to supply complete systems for any application. Please feel free to get in touch if you need help with choosing the right system for your application or if you would like to discuss any of our products.

Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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