Healthcare

introduction

Planning for the emergency evacuation of healthcare facilities is a challenging task. Hospitals often have expansive and complex building structures. Wards vary enormously in their design and function, with different layouts, equipment, patient profiles and staffing structures. There are likely to be large numbers of vulnerable occupants throughout a hospital – a far greater proportion than in other buildings. Many patients will require assistance to reach a place of safety during an emergency incident.

Our approach

We understand that staff are crucial to the success of a hospital evacuation. For progressive horizontal evacuation (to the next ward on the same floor), staff may use beds to transport patients. For vertical evacuation (down stairs to a ward below or to an exit), they will rely on specialist equipment. Planning the training and timeline for emergency procedures needs detailed consideration of the time taken for staff to assist patients.

We have collected data at hospital sites that help us to advise hospitals on how to improve their hospital evacuation times by assessing the movement of patients between wards. We consider the layout of the building or full hospital site, the location of the incident (e.g. a fire), the number and training level of staff, and the physical and mental capability of patients. We consider the time taken to prepare dependent patients for evacuation, and the performance of specialist equipment such as evacuation chairs and ski mats. This enables us to analyse emergency procedures and provide recommendations to improve evacuation times and patient safety.

The figure shows indicative evacuation simulation outputs from software Pathfinder™.
Evacuation simulation outputs.

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use cases

IMPROVE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL EVACUATION PROCEDURES

Tests of emergency scenarios including ward evacuation, full building evacuation and large site evacuation

Assess and enhance performance in emergency situations

Advise on the design of emergency evacuation provision including exits and refuge areas


Assess and enhance performance in emergency situations

Tests of emergency scenarios including ward evacuation, full building evacuation and large site evacuation
IMPROVE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL EVACUATION PROCEDURES

Use Cases

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We offer a range of services:

  • Detailed design advice and capacity assessment to determine space requirements including refuge areas and key evacuation routes;
  • Simulation modelling to assess the movement of patients based on dependency, staffing levels and equipment available;
  • Evaluation of multiple emergency scenarios including evacuation during day-time and night-time shifts;
  • Assessment of the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) towards fire safety engineering calculations; and
  • Analysis of emergency plans to improve horizontal and vertical evacuation procedures.

We work with:

  • ‍Safety officers and architects from UK and European hospital sites.

We offer a range of services:

  • Detailed design advice and capacity assessment to determine space requirements including refuge areas and key evacuation routes;
  • Simulation modelling to assess the movement of patients based on dependency, staffing levels and equipment available;
  • Evaluation of multiple emergency scenarios including evacuation during day-time and night-time shifts;
  • Assessment of the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET) towards fire safety engineering calculations; and
  • Analysis of emergency plans to improve horizontal and vertical evacuation procedures.

We work with:

  • ‍Safety officers and architects from UK and European hospital sites.

Related case studies

  We are seeking to collaborate with organisations engaged in research.
If you wish to discuss potential research opportunities, please contact Dr. Steve Gwynne