RISK OF FIRE IN THE HOSPITALS DURING COVID-19
Yasen Georgiev, Nikolina Radeva and Hristianna Romanova
ABSTRACT: Healthcare facilities’ fires can be devastating due to the loss of lives and property, patients’ and staff injuries, furthermore vulnerable people with disabilities could be exposed. After the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, that risk significantly increase and put disaster protection on the agenda of healthcare facilities, incl. fires.
Purpose: To investigate fire incidents in healthcare facilities before and during COVID-19 and to propose preventive measures for hospitals where oxygen therapy is used in the treatment of patients.
Material and methods: For the purposes of this study, the electronic databases Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, EM-DAT, NatCatSERVICE for the period 1990 - 2022 were studied. Used keywords: fires, hospitals, COVID-19, oxygen therapy in combination with Boolean operators OR and AND.
Results: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 46 oxygen-related hospital fires have been reported. More than 200 people died. One of the main reasons is improper maintenance of oxygen cylinders. Other risk factors are short circuits, procedural errors, cigarettes and more. To reduce the risk, it is necessary to apply the right prevention techniques and protocols.
Conclusion: During the study period Healthcare facilities’ fires become more frequent. They cause human and material losses, loss of trust in medical institutions. The increase in oxygen-related fires in hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic shows the urgency of creating a comprehensive strategy to prevent them. Research and experience show that fires due to an oxygen-enriched environment are preventable.
Keywords: fires, hospitals, COVID-19, oxygen therapy