Making hospitals safer

Collaborating with our partners to fight COVID-19

We’re committed to joining the fight against COVID-19. One of the ways we’re doing this is by making Australia’s hospitals safer and better equipped to deal with the pandemic. This month, our Mechanical and Fire Services Teams were hard at work at a public hospital in Newcastle, installing and retrofitting equipment to improve air circulation and fire safety.

Our Mechanical Services Team installed HEPA filters to eight hospital rooms, improving safe air circulation for isolated patients and the staff caring for them. The new equipment reduces the costs involved in safely caring for isolated patients while also making the process safer and more efficient.

In parallel our Fire Services Team upgraded vital fire safety infrastructure within the hospital ward, installing an Addressable Network Fire Detection System. The new system enables efficient and contained response should an emergency occur.

Making Australian Hospitals safer for staff and patients

Typically, quarantined patients will be cared for in a Type 5 Quarantine and Isolation Room. However, these purpose-built rooms are expensive and take a long time to set up. Our Mechanical Services team has been working with hospitals in recent weeks to develop an alternative solution that allows them the ability to provide care if an influx of patients require hospital care in an isolation (Type 5 room) setting.

In Newcastle, the ENGIE team proposed installing HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters into the ceiling of the rooms required by the local public hospital. These highly efficient filters are frequently used in contamination control to target small pollutants and particles within effluent air.

Installed above the hospital bed, the filters act like an exhaust fan to create a draught over the patient, drawing air out of the room and filtering it.

As ENGIE Service Manager for Northern NSW and Newcastle, Greg Clifford, explains “We proposed installing HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters into the ceiling of eight of the hospital’s existing rooms. These highly efficient filters are frequently used in contamination control as they target small pollutants and particles within effluent air. Installed into the ceiling above the hospital bed, these filters, which act like an exhaust fan, create a draught over the patient, drawing air out of the room, and filtering it.”

Greg goes on to explain that the Services team has created a modular system that is fully removable and relocatable and has very little impact on the existing building. This means that the unit is installed in a vacant hospital room, and when complete, will be moved to another room.

With the hospital currently fully occupied, and the need for such equipment increasing daily, the ENGIE team had all eight rooms fitted out within a week.

Fighting fire as well as COVID-19

At the same time as our Mechanical Services Team was installing the HEPA filters, our Fire Services Team was tasked with upgrading vital fire safety infrastructure within the same hospital ward.

The newly installed Addressable Network Fire Detection System allows technicians and security staff to monitor the fire system from a large fire panel, allowing for an efficient and contained response should an emergency occur.

The system also minimises disruption throughout the building, as alerts only come from detectors in rooms or areas that register a problem.

As Debbie Fisher, NSW Operations Manager for ENGIE Fire Services explains “If an alert goes off in one room, we’re instantly aware of the problem and can respond quickly. Other rooms and areas are not affected unless there’s a need. In a place such as a hospital, this means we greatly reduce the likelihood of causing unnecessary alarm.” This user-friendly system will be hard wired and networked to 220 smoke detectors throughout the building, and will have a 20-25 year life cycle, which means that while it’s addressing an immediate need now, the resources and time required to established such a sophisticated system will be used for many years to come.”

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