The subject of this research relates to the generation of data-sets concerning the time required to evacuate non-ambulant patients from one fire zone to another fire zone only using available hospital staff. This research relates to evacuation analysis and the use of evacuation modelling tools such as buildingEXODUS for hospital scenarios.
In simulating the evacuation of non-ambulant patients it is essential to characterise the time required to prepare a patient, move the patient out of a room , move a patient to a place of relative safety, place the patient in a safe location and return to pickup the next patient. In this work patients were moved from one fire zone to a neighbouring fire zone with their beds. Two sets of analysis was undertaken. The first involved component testing of the process. In this case several teams of two nurses were videoed and timed preparing and moving a patient - with bed and medical equipment - out of typical ward room. In addition, two full-scale evacuations of an entire fire zone was undertaken. The evacuation involved moving 16 patients from one fire zone into a neighbouring fire zone. This was performed with the nursing staff that would be available on a "typical" night shift and repeated with the staff that would be available on a day shift.
The evacuation trials involved the Blackheath Hospital on the 2nd January 2001. The Blackheath Hospital is 69-bed acute care hospital that serves the private sector (link to two views of the front of the hospital view1 and view2). The evacuation made use of an empty ward and volunteer hospital staff who acted as both the patients and the active staff.
This work is being undertaken a) to assist the Blackheath Hospital in better preparing for a fire emergency, b) generating data that can be used nationally and internationally by safety engineers in designing safer hospitals and better procedures and c) obtain fundamental data on human performance to assist in the development of a hospital evacuation computer model.
Video data from these trials is currently being analysed.