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Groote Schuur gets new fire detection system
August 2010, Fire & Safety

Fire evacuation is more complex in hospitals.

Electrical Engineering Solutions (EES) is soon to commence the project and construction management of the implementation of phase two of Groote Schuur Hospital’s fire detection system. It will again be representing Plantech Associates who are one of the main project consulting firms.

Groote Schuur is a large government-funded teaching hospital world-renowned for its research and for being the hospital where the first heart transplant took place in 1967. Over 3663 staff care for more than 560 000 referrals and patient admissions each year.

“The voice evacuation system is a public address system that uses spoken messages to evacuate public facilities in an orderly and safe manner during emergencies,” explains Bradley Hemphill, MD of EES. “The advantage of using a spoken message, as opposed to an alarm, is that it communicates easily understood instructions.”

Phase one at Groote Schuur comprised project managing the implementation of fire detection systems with built-in voice evacuation in the main hospital building. The preliminary design of phase two is currently underway. The project will entail the management and supervision of the system implementation in the following buildings: the doctors’ bungalows; the maternity block; J block which is the psychiatry block; L block which is the University of Cape Town training hospital; and the main entrance comprising the lecture hall and cafeteria.

“The design is being customised specifically for Groote Schuur,” says Hemphill. “The key objective is to ensure the safety of patients, staff and doctors, and protect assets, sophisticated equipment and property in the event of a fire, as well as contribute to peace of mind.

“Security personnel need to be immediately alerted to the presence of smoke or fire, and take appropriate action in such a manner as to cause the least possible panic, especially as many patients will need assistance to evacuate the building.”

A challenge is that the implementation of the system will need to be done in a working hospital. “We need to be constantly aware of the needs of patients, staff, nurses and doctors and not disrupt their day-to-day activities,” explains Hemphill.

For more information contact Electrical Engineering Solutions, +27 (0)21 702 8340, www.eeslive.com


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