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The County You Live, Work And Play

Fire Alarm Causes Chaos


NHS Lanarkshire have hotly refuted claims by patients and staff that a false fire alarm at Hunter Health Centre resulted in chaos.

People caught up in the incident said that, when the alarm went off, there appeared to be no proper evacuation procedure in place to get people out of the building.

They claimed that vital equipment, needed to get disabled patients down safely from the upper floors, was still tucked away in storage and that staff had not been properly informed of who was responsible for moving patients with mobility problems downstairs in the event of an emergency.

One man said, “Staff are distinctly unhappy. The place was in complete disarray. Fortunately this was a false alarm. I understand that, in the event of an emergency there is a buzzer staff can press should they require assistance to get patients with mobility problems out of the building. But on this occasion no one was answering the buzzers.

“There should also be evacuation seats which can be used to get disabled patients down the stairs but I understand that these are still packed up and somewhere in storage.”

However, Graham Johnston, NHS Lanarkshire’s head of management services, said there had been no such problems.

He said: “There was a false fire alarm at the new Hunter Community Health Centre on Friday when a detector was activated.

“The building was evacuated promptly in line with our evacuation procedures and the attending fire services gave positive feedback on this.

“All staff transferring to the new site completed an induction which included fire safety training.

“They were also issued with a site fire activation card which they are expected to follow in emergency situations.

“Fire action cards are also in place in all rooms, both clinical and office, to ensure staff know their responsibilities in the event of a fire alarm.

“The building also has a specially designated fire lift which staff use to evacuate individuals with mobility issues from the upper floors.

“It is standard practice in all fire alarm situations in any NHS Lanarkshire building, for designated staff site fire marshals to carry out a debrief afterwards to make a note of any learning points and identify possible improvements which could be made to these sites.

“Marshals in Hunter Community Health Centre will carry out a similar exercise.”