Volume 63  |  Summer 2010

Training on Fire Systems for Small Hospitals"

Fire system training particularly important for smaller facilities that do not have 24/7 engineers


by Chris Pashen, Facility Manager, Providence St. Joseph Care Center

I recently had a problem with our fire system going into alarm and no one could operate the system, not even the firemen. I was called in to get the system up and running again.

This is what I have done to make sure this does not happen again. I have written a one-page operation manual that is now in our disaster manual. All existing supervisors, managers and lead staff have been trained on this information. All future supervisors, managers, and lead staff will be trained on this as part of their orientation. I have also brought in the local fire department and trained them on our system as well.

These are some of the things I have put in this training –

  • Where the fire panels are located and how to read them. (for my facility I have had all fire devices named for ease of finding them, i.e. smoke detector by room 116.) This has helped tremendously for those not trained in the maintenance field
  • What smoke detectors, pull stations and heat detectors look like when they have been triggered
  • Where pull stations and fire extinguishers are located
  • Where the fire sprinkler shut off valves are located
  • How to post a Fire Watch in the event the fire department is unable to reset the system
  • How to use the Fire System public address system

I strongly recommend smaller health care facilities train all leadership staff in depth on their fire systems. We all have disaster manuals that staff are supposed to be familiar with. We also know that we put enormous amounts of work load on our staff, and truthfully when it comes down to it, will they know what to do in an emergency situation at 2am when all other leadership staff are at home in bed. Hands on training and showing staff what fire devices look like when triggered is an invaluable tool.

Chris Pashen
Facility Manager
Providence St. Joseph Care Center
Spokane, WA
[August 27, 2010]

Issues of the WSSHE NEWSLINE can be found at:

The WSSHE NEWSLINE is published quarterly as a service to WSSHE Members. The purpose of the NEWSLINE is to promote the Society by sharing information of interest to the Members. Please send brief articles or information updates to the WSSHE Editor care of:

Geoffrey W. Glass PE, CHFM
Providence St. Peter Hospital
413 Lilly Road
Olympia, WA 98506-5166
FAX: 360-493-4043
Phone: 360-493-7722.