THE Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has successfully cut the number of false fire alarms to its premises by working alongside Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has worked with the hospital since September 2004 as part of a campaign urging organisations to cut the 98% of false automatic fire alarm calls set off in business premises across Cheshire.
In 2004 the Countess of Chester Hospital was generating more false alarm signals than the combined total of all other hospitals in Cheshire.
The hospital site management was proactive in its response and a partnership was signed with the Fire Service to address the problem.
Mike Farrell, Health, Safety and Fire Manager for the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Working with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service to reduce the number of unwanted fire signals is extremely important because in a hospital environment ensuring there is as little disruption and distress for the staff patients and visitors key.”
One of the first steps taken by hospital management was to take greater control of the location of toasters on site as burnt toast was a major contributor to the high number of false alarms.
The fire service also installed several domestic type detectors near to the remaining toasters free of charge to act as an early warning before the main alarm is activated.
The success of the partnership has been dramatic with figures from 2006 showing a 59 per cent reduction in false alarm call outs to the hospital.
Mike Farrell added: “The Countess of Chester Hospital is delighted to have achieved this reduction in false alarm call outs with the help of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure our false fire alarms are minimised as much as possible.”
Keith Atkinson, Technical Fire Safety Officer for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The practice shown by the Countess of Chester Hospital is a great example of how an organisation can look at its systems and address the issue of false alarm call outs to business premises.”