Fires In Hospitals: Different Causes & Control Measures

Hospitals are one of the most common places for fires to occur. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, hospital fires account for about 9% of all reported fires each year. These fires can cause serious damage and even loss of life. In this blog post, we will discuss the different causes of hospital fires and some control measures that can be taken to prevent them from happening.

Fires in hospitals are not a new phenomenon. In fact, they’ve been around since the early days of healthcare. The first recorded hospital fire was in 1773 at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Since then, there have been many other fires that have resulted in loss of life and property damage.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the risk of fires in hospitals. These include aging infrastructure, inadequate fire safety regulations, and human error.

Aging infrastructure is one of the most significant contributors to the risk of fires in hospitals. Many hospital buildings are old and outdated, which means they often don’t have up-to-date fire safety features. This can make it more difficult to evacuate patients in the event of a fire, and it also makes it more likely that a fire will spread.

Causes of Hospital Fires & Control measures

The potential for fire in a hospital setting can occur from many different sources such as heat-producing equipment, storage of flammable chemicals, and faulty electrical wiring.

There are several different types of equipment and materials that are major contributors to fires in hospitals.

The eight leading causes of hospital fires in the United States are shown in the chart on the right (these figures are based on data from the National Fire Protection Association).

Electrical Equipment

The most common cause of hospital fires is electrical equipment. To prevent these fires, hospitals should follow some basic safety guidelines. All electrical equipment should be properly maintained and checked on a regular basis. Overworked sockets and cables are often the cause of fires, so power strips must be plugged directly into an outlet and not daisy-chained (linking power strips together). If possible, hospitals should also install automatic shut-off devices on all electrical equipment. By following these simple safety guidelines, hospitals can help prevent fires and keep their patients safe.

Kitchen Facilities

One such fire occurred at a hospital in California, causing $11 million in damage and shutting down the facility for over two months. The fire was traced back to an electrical toaster in the kitchen. While no one was injured, the damage caused by the fire was extensive.

This is just one example of how a kitchen fire can cause significant damage. To prevent fires in your own kitchen, be sure to keep an eye on electrical appliances and never leave them unattended. If you do use cooking fats, be sure to properly dispose of them so they don’t build up and cause a fire. And as always, practice good fire safety by having a working smoke detector in your kitchen. By following these simple tips, you can help prevent a kitchen fire in your own home.

Did you know that fires in kitchen facilities are actually quite common? In fact, they’re one of the leading causes of fires in commercial buildings. This is because cooking fats, electrical appliances, and open flames are all potential sources of ignition.


Cigarettes are on of the cause of hospital fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In fact, cigarettes are responsible for more than $400 million in damage each year.

While cigarettes are banned in healthcare facilities, people might sneak them indoors or, while smoking outdoors, don’t properly dispose of them.

Cigarette fires in hospitals can be especially dangerous because patients are often sick and may not be able to evacuate quickly. In addition, hospital fires can spread rapidly due to the many flammable materials present in these buildings.

To prevent hospital fires, the NFPA recommends:

  • Properly disposing of cigarettes
  • Not smoking indoors
  • Creating a “no smoking” policy for the entire facility

By following these simple guidelines, we can help keep our hospitals safe from fire.

Causes of Hospital Fires

Specialized Medical Equipment

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of hospital fires caused by specialized medical equipment. Lasers and electrosurgical tools are a common ignition source, due to their high-powered energy output. Oxygen tanks, surgical clothing, and flammable sterilizing liquids are also often involved in these types of fires.

Hospital staff must be aware of the potential fire hazards posed by these types of equipment and take precautions to prevent them. Lasers and electrosurgical tools should be used in well-ventilated areas and kept away from oxygen tanks, surgical clothing, and flammable liquids. If possible, these items should be stored in fire-resistant cabinets or containers.

In the event of a fire, hospital staff should follow established fire safety procedures. Evacuate the area immediately and call the fire department. Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself, as this could put you at risk of injury.

By taking these simple precautions, hospital staff can help prevent fires caused by specialized medical equipment.

Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol-based hand rubs are commonly used in hospitals as a means of preventing the spread of infection. However, these products can be highly flammable, and must be kept at least six feet away from any potential ignition sources. In recent years, there have been a number of hospital fires caused by improper storage or use of hand sanitizer, resulting in significant damage and even loss of life.

To prevent such tragedies from occurring, it is crucial that all staff members are properly trained in the safe storage and use of hand sanitizers. Additionally, hospitals should consider investing in non-flammable alternatives to alcohol-based products, which can provide the same level of protection without the same fire risk. With proper precautions in place, we can help to ensure that hospital fires are a thing of the past.

Gas Cylinders and Medical Oxygen Compliance

According to the National Fire Protection Association, hospital fires are caused by gas cylinders and medical oxygen more often than any other factor. In fact, over a five year period, gas cylinders and medical oxygen were responsible for nearly 25% of all hospital fires.

While the causes of these fires vary, improper storage and secured of gas cylinders and medical oxygen are often to blame. In order to prevent these fires, it is important to ensure that all gas cylinders and medical oxygen are properly stored and secured.

Some tips for proper storage and securing of gas cylinders and medical oxygen include:

  • Store gas cylinders and medical oxygen in a well-ventilated area
  • Secure gas cylinders and medical oxygen so that they cannot be knocked over
  • Inspect gas cylinders and medical oxygen regularly for leaks

By following these simple tips, you can help prevent hospital fires caused by gas cylinders and medical oxygen.

Extension Cord Daisy Chains

Extension cords are a common sight in many hospitals, as they are often used to chain together various pieces of equipment. However, using extension cords in this way is actually a violation of hospital safety standards. Extension cords can become overheated, posing a fire risk. In addition, they can create trip hazards and may not provide enough power for some types of equipment. If possible, hospitals should avoid using extension cords and instead use dedicated power lines for each piece of equipment.

Fire Door Compliance

Hospital fire doors are an important part of the fire safety system. They must close or latch correctly to keep the fire from spreading. Be sure to check them regularly to ensure they are in good condition and not obstructed.

Fire Exit Obstructions

It is important to keep fire exit doors clear at all times. This means no carts, wheelchairs, or medical equipment should be blocking the doors. If you see anything blocking a fire exit door, please remove it right away. This could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Employers must ensure portable fire extinguishers are in areas that are not obstructed, are properly mounted, and have not been previously discharged. Employers must also ensure that portable fire extinguishers are not past due inspection.

About Badar Javed

I have worked in the safety industry for more than 10 years, collaborating with different organizations to establish and supervise safety protocols. My expertise covers a broad spectrum, from construction sites to oil refineries, and I have personally witnessed how safety measures safeguard both employees and customers.

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