Mazin Daoud is a fire engineer for Sodexo UK & Ireland. Mazin has been supporting NHS Property Services with fire risk assessments for numerous Covid-19 field hospitals and wards across England and Wales.
Mazin explains: “Initially I was approached to write a standard operating procedure for fire safety risk assessments in Covid-19 field hospitals, but due to my knowledge of the risks posed by the oxygen supplied to all the ventilators, I was asked to assist with the hospital at the ExCeL, London.
“After completing this I offered my services to the lead for healthcare fire safety in Wales and was asked to prepare the fire strategies for two new Nightingale field hospitals and two new COVID-19 wards (within an existing hospital) for the Swansea and Vale University Health Board.”
While each field hospital and ward had similarities, Mazin had to provide different solutions to ensure patients had the maximum time to escape if a fire did develop.
“The main difference for each assessment was the level of dependency for the patient. Those recovering are more able to evacuate themselves, while with patients on ventilators just the process of moving them in the event of a fire is potentially life threatening.
“Low ceiling buildings required using fire engineering to provide solutions such as automatic vents to exhaust the smoke and heat from a fire, while high ceiling buildings provide plenty of space for smoke and fire to travel vertically which reduces the risk of horizontal spread.”
Once his fire risk assessments were completed they were provided to the authorities, the NHS and to the local fire service so that each body has a thorough understanding of the systems provided and the emergency procedures and plan.
Mazin adds: “I remember watching the Chinese build a hospital in two weeks and thinking “that’s amazing. We are doing equally amazing things, achieving things that we would have thought of as impossible only a few weeks ago.
“This is a very serious illness, which was really brought home to me when my uncle who is only a few years older than me died from Covid19.
“People have reacted in an incredible way. Everyone working on these projects has worked ceaselessly, sometimes under very difficult conditions and to amazing time frames, to complete them to a high standard. This really has made me feel very humble.