The number of fires each year in hospitals and hospices continues to drop, according to a recent report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The NFPA reports that U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 6,240 structure fires in all health care facilities per year in 2006–2010. With one exception, the number of fires has dropped continuously each year from 6,830 in 2003 to 5,540 in 2010, according to an article on the Health Facilities Management website.
Fires in all health care facilities during the five-year period of 2006–2010 caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 171 civilian injuries and $52 million in property damage, the article said.
In the article, Robert Solomon, division manager, building fire protection and life safety, NFPA, cites several reasons for the ongoing reduction of fires in health care facilities.
"It's because of the adoption of newer, more modern code requirements, better enforcement and a broader awareness by hospital administrators and management of the threats posed to all of the occupants by even the smallest of fires," he says. "They all combine to reduce the chance of a fire in these environments."
The ongoing oversight and inspection by entities such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and accreditation organizations such as the Joint Commission and DNV (Det Norske Veritas) "ensure that the fire problem stays in front of the hospital personnel 24 hours a day," he said.
Another contributing factor to the decline are the severe restrictions or elimination of smoking in these occupancies beginning in the early '90s, according to the NFPA.
Read the article.