Limerick fire officer raises concerns over A&E 'hazards'


Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

Limerick fire officer raises concerns over A&E 'hazards'

Fire risk worries at A&E raised at the council meeting

THE emergency department at University Hospital Limerick exceeded the fire safety threshold for the number of people on trolleys, elected representatives were told this week.

At this Monday’s metropolitan district meeting, held at Limerick City Gallery of Art, Cllr Malachy McCreesh called on the council’s chief fire officer to “continue to monitor the overcrowding levels” to ensure its compliance with fire regulations.

Chief fire officer Michael Ryan said at the meeting that after an initial assessment by the fire service at the emergency department last October, if the number of trolleys and beds exceeded 44, swift measures would have to be put in place to avoid a fire hazard.

“There have been concerns as the numbers have been exceeded,” he told city councillors.

He said that the levels of trolleys and beds does not include those moved to the wards.

On Monday morning, there were 31 patients waiting to be admitted to a bed at UHL; 17 treated on trolleys in the A&E and 14 treated on extra beds or trolleys in the wards.

Mr Ryan noted during the council meeting that the current emergency department facility did not require a fire certificate, as it was built prior to 1990. The new A&E, which it is hoped will open by May 2017, will require a fire certificate.

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said: “UL Hospitals Group is engaging with the Fire Authority in Limerick on the management of patients within the emergency department. Every effort is being made to ensure compliance with the recommendations of the Fire Authority in this regard and this is continuously monitored.

“Regular fire safety training is provided to management and staff at UL Hospitals Group, including staff in the ED.

“UL Hospitals Group takes all matters of safety with the utmost seriousness and this includes having a robust fire safety management system in place for all of UHL, including the ED.”

Cllr Malachy McCreesh, concerned, considered any more than 44 patents on trolleys “a hazard” at UHL A&E.