How do hospitals evacuate everyone in the event of a fire?


Hospitals often have patients who are bed-bound, wheelchair-bound, comatose, or even in surgery. When the fire alarm goes off, how do staff evacuate all patients quickly?

In: Engineering

I’ve actually had to do this. We wrapped people in damp sheets and carried/dragged them (gently) downstairs.
edit: grammar.
Further edit: 1983, only one fire wall.

Good fire suppression systems to stop the source of the fire. Extremely well insulated fire proofing materials to slow the spread of a fire to give more time for the evacuation. Very regular fire exit points, including surgery rooms. I imagine if there is a surgery happening and a serious fire occurs, the surgeon will have to decide if he has time to stabilise the patient and evacuate, if not then unfortunately there’s not much you can do. This would be very rare however. For other patients, there will be procedures in place to get them out asap and that procedure will be very different in different hospitals. Edit: spelling

Hospitals are designed so that in the event of a fire, doors will close and will prevent the fire from spreading until firefighters can deal with it. The doors are rated, usually by number of hours, for how long they will hold back a fire on the other side.

I did coop in a hospital for a few months (before covid) and the fire alarm went off pretty often. They would announce over the PA where it was and the severity. It was usually a patient smoking in a stairway or something like that. Basically nothing happens unless you’re in the area where there was smoke detected. The building is also designed in a way where each floor has “safety zones” that prevent fire spreading. They definitely don’t start evacuating people as soon as the smoke alarm goes off.

Short answer: They don’t. Fire has a really hard time penetrating doors. Hospitals have many doors, and each door adds another 20 minutes to 1 hour before the fire can punch through. Even in house fires, many bedrooms with closed doors are left untouched.

Also, modern day, hospitals are equipped with sprinkler systems that can literally dispense hundreds of gallons of water a minute. No fire will survive that.