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A timely reminder

Over 40 delegates attended the latest HEFMA/Eastwood Park seminar entitled ‘Burning Issues – Everyone’s business’ held recently at the Eastwood Park training centre.  The timeliness of the event couldn’t have been more pertinent with a devastating fire at Manchester’s Christie Cancer Research Unit reported just the day before; undoubtedly this focused everybody’s attention.

Paul Beech, Eastwood Park’s fire safety expert began the seminar by emphasising that although no one was hurt at Christie, the impact would be widely felt. “The rebuilding costs, the cancellations of patient appointments or delays in work will all impact on patient care,” he said.  He drew to everyone’s attention the fact that the Manchester hospital had received an outstanding CQC inspection result only one month prior to the fire, which would have included an assessment of the fire safety procedures.

The audience heard throughout the day of the need to ensure fire safety policies and strategies have clear measurable objectives with reviews that are frequent and rigorous. Paul Beech emphasised the need to think carefully and fully about hospital evacuation and fire response strategies from all aspects. Plus, when designing new hospital units, he said serious consideration should be given to using more effective fire retardant materials, and non-alcohol based sanitisers to reduce risk and minimise the spread.

The seminar included interactive practical sessions in the afternoon, a review of fire alarms, calling fire and rescue and finally a review of data collection, incident investigation and evaluation.