As a result of attacks and natural disasters, hospital plans for evacuation are gaining more and more relevance. It becomes absolutely mandatory to assure comfort and physical integrity regarding hospitalised patients, particularly those admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) in case a possible emergency may occur due to an internal or external agent such as, for instance, a fire.

Although it is quite unlikely that a hospital has to be fully evacuated, it is necessary to rely on a comprehensive plan for emergency evacuation which ensures the security of the people affected in case of disaster. Such plan has to be perfectly outlined and all health personnel have to be aware of it, so it is totally indispensable that several simulations are carried out periodically by way of practice.

How does a hospital plan for evacuation work?

Evacuation plans have to be perfectly outlined in order to behave as fast as possible in the event of an emergency. The faster the evacuation takes place, the higher its success rate will be.

There are different guidelines to follow when carrying out a successful hospital evacuation:

  1. Health personnel have to be trained in the correct procedures of hazard prevention and control.
  2. In case of risk, the evacuation will have to be managed in an orderly way and complying with the protocol of action in every moment.
  3. It will be necessary to establish an order of priority when evacuating patients, the so-called triage, those in a more delicate state being the first to leave the building, with a view to stabilize them as soon as possible.
  4. Fixing the place where the evacuation will be performed. It is of great importance that a proper place to relocate patients is set. It is usually another room in the same hospital, a procedure known as “horizontal evacuation”. This relocation has to guarantee that the patient receives all care, as well as the required vital support so that their health is not affected.

Prevention: the key to a successful evacuation plan

Difficulty with hospital evacuation is blatantly higher than that of other buildings, since there are many people that could be deathly ill, or suffering from mobility problems. Due precisely to such specificity, prevention becomes an absolutely necessary element dealing with protocols for hospital evacuation.

It is in reality impossible to prevent attacks or natural disasters. However, prevention can focus on fortuitous accidents such as fires or the emission of hazardous air pollutants.

With the objective of facing fire prevention, it is necessary that the hospital complies with a set of requirements:

  • Obligation of having the necessary equipment and systems to detect and be capable of extinguishing the fire in its most emerging manner (anti-fire alarm systems, extinguishers, hosepipes, etc.)
  • Partitioning. It is essential that the different hospital areas can be demarcated, particularly those susceptible to suffer a fire (kitchens, laundry, areas with a high number of systems connected to terminals of power supply…). The materials with which a hospital centre is built or refurbished have to be fireproof, but the most important aspect is to have fire-resistant systems, which is to say that it becomes indispensable to have fire-resistant doors.
  • Manusa fire-resistant doors fulfil the function of insulating fire in a room from the adjacent room, preventing it from spreading, demarcating areas within the same building and increasing safety. This type of doors work for 30 or 60 minutes long, preventing flames and gases from spreading from a room to another, leaving enough time to evacuate the building.
  • Evacuation. Besides having fire-resistant doors, it is also indispensable that hospital entrances and exits are made for being able to evacuate patients as well as health personnel in the fastest and nimblest possible manner. In order to carry out the evacuation as soon as possible, the facilities need to have automatic doors for evacuation.
  • Manusa has special doors with an panic break-out system for the evacuation of big complexes such as hospitals. These doors mix the functionality of automatic doors with the possibility of folding their leaves, providing a large width of passage that guarantees a fast evacuation of the facilities under conditions of maximum safety.
  • Accessibility. Hospital centres have to be as accessible as possible; entrances and exits have to be unobstructed and properly indicated so that fire-fighters may have access to the inside as fast as possible. On the other hand, it is necessary that the interior of the building has also emergency exits properly indicated, as well as extinguishers or other fire prevention and detection systems.