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Fire Research Notes


Chandler, S.E., 1970. FIRES IN HOSPITALS. Fire Research Notes 831


The numbers of fires in hospitals has been increasing at about the same rate as all fires in buildings, having risen from 590 in 1963 to an estimated 684 in 1968. This report is based on information obtained from a 1-in-4 sample of reports of fires which occurred in 1968. Two hundred and ninety-two of the fires were in mental hospitals. Nearly two-thirds of all the hospitals involved were built before 1910. It is estimated that 144 fires occurred in wards, 48 being attributed to smoking materials and 40 to malicious ignition. The peak time of the day for hospital fires was between 1800 and 2059. Next to wards, the worst areas were stores (80 fires) and kitchens (76 fires). Eight fires occurred in operating theatres. The most important causes of fires in hospitals were smoking materials (184 fires), malicious ignition (104) and cooking appliances (all fuels) (68). The first two of these causes accounted for 65 per cent of the fires in mental hospitals. Only 6 1/2 per cent of the fires spread beyond the room of origin. Five hundred and fifty-six of the fires were tackled before the arrival of the fire brigade; of these 396 were successfully extinguished. The most common methods of extinction used before the arrival of the fire brigade were extinguishers (160 fires), water from buckets or immersion (112 incidents) and inside hose-reels/hydrants (104 fires).

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