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As we have highlighted last week, hospitals simply cannot afford disruption. When it comes to evacuating differing number and characteristics of patients, medical and support staff, the risks of hidden, slow growth and fast growth fires becomes significant. This is where an advanced fire detection system such as VESDA aspirating smoke detection (ASD) can help. It’s extensive coverage and addressability can keep staff and patients safer.

We address the unique challenges in specific areas in a hospital and how a very-early-warning aspirating detection system can overcome them.

Operating Theaters & Wards

With various combustibles and ignition sources, fire accidents in operating theaters are extremely dangerous. From the various medical needs and mobility levels of patients to the the sheer number of staff, evacuation procedures is a challenge. Equally challenging is accessing restricted areas for detector maintenance where interruption free operations are essential.

The early warning fire detection capability will pinpoint with accuracy the fire source. This provides the earliest possible warning and allow time for intervention and control to minimize or eliminate the need for evacuation. In the event that the fire condition escalates, the pinpoint capability can provide information of hazardous conditions fire fighters and to staff when moving patients to protected areas or through corridors, stairways, etc.

During evacuation, the signal from VESDA systems can serve for the automatic release of fire doors or security doors along egress paths. With centralized test and maintenance capability, there is no need to access restricted areas. Servicing and testing can be performed at the detector unit which reduces time and cost.

MRI Facilities

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) facilities do not permit the installation of fire detection which contains metallic (ferromagnetic) components. A fire within or near a MRI system will present a serious threat to life safety, high value equipment and facility, creating particular challenges for evacuation and fire response. In addition, leakage of cryogenic gas in the MRI scanner room will displace oxygen leading to risk of asphyxiation.

VESDA’s system is packaged with various MRI OEM as part of the solution as it can remotely protect high cost equipment and provide early warning of potential fire hazard due to the use of plastic or aspirating tubes or pipes. Similarly, the early warning capability of a VESDA system will ensure fire is detected at the earliest possible stage. Therefore, the shutdown of the MRI system can be done swiftly before the fire escalates. This prevents lengthy downtime and high costs of re-initiation. The system also has gas detectors incorporated in the pipe network to monitor reduced oxygen levels caused by cryogenic gas leaks.

Laboratories, Nuclear Medicine and Sterilization Areas

These areas have delicate equipment, high-energy high-cost technology with hazardous chemical, radioactive or biological material. Any fire accidents, gas leak from storage / distribution lines or gas byproducts in these areas can be life threatening.

VESDA detectors provide active and multipoint detection of fire and gas threats. By remotely placing the detectors outside the protected area, any risk due to contamination or catastrophic release of toxic materials and gases is mitigated.

A very-early-warning aspirating detection system helps hospitals support patient safety while identifying concerns before they become emergencies. It enables the early detection and mitigation of potential fire threats while minimizing installation and maintenance time. This way, hospitals can keep their staff and patients safe while remaining fully operational.