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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Consequences of Fire Damage in Hospitals

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

When people are injured or sick, hospitals provide a place where we can be treated and allowed time to recover. They are generally thought of as safe places; however, in the event of an unexpected fire, there may be considerable damage to the facility as well as additional injury or even death inflicted on those in the hospital's care. The effects of hospital fire damage are long lasting and serious.

The most obvious damage to the hospital as the result of fire is the damage to the structure, patients' rooms, and administrative facilities. Smoke and soot may also be carried through the hospitalís air ventilation system, resulting in smoke damage to areas far removed from the actual fire, as well as respiratory issues for both patients and staff.

When patient rooms are damaged, it reduces the hospital's ability to care for new patients and if the blaze is serious enough, they may not be able to function at all. If the administrative offices are damaged, then important documents and computer files may be lost forever. Ideally, all of this material should be backed up somewhere off site, but this is not always the case. The organizational problems that follow may be considerable.

Another Side to Hospital Fire Damages

On the human side, there may be additional injuries or even fatalities as the result of a hospital fire. Many patients are unable to move under their own power,or may not be able to move rapidly. If there is not an evacuation plan in place, with every staff member knowing who and what they are responsible for, then the risk of additional injury for hospital patients becomes even more likely.

Power outages as a result of a fire may also mean that patient records or other vital medical information may be inaccessible. This means the quality of patient care would be severely compromised.

The cleanup and restoration process involved with hospital fires is going to be costly, simply due to the size and scope of the project as a whole. In many cases, specialized treatment will be required to adequately repair the damage. Medical and surgical equipment is expensive to purchase and to replace, not to mention other items such as carpeting, flooring, or furniture used in offices and patient rooms.

Doctors may be unable to practice at the damaged location until the damage is repaired, severely curtailing their ability to provide for their patients' needs. For doctors who only have privileges at a single hospital, this may have devastating consequences to their practice.

Serious fire damage means a relocation of all patients to other facilities, resulting in serious logistical challenges. It may also mean some level of overload for other facilities that end up taking on the additional patient load, stretching both personnel and resource to the limit.

Recommended Reading
Hospital Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
Hospital Fire Damage Recovery

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