Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford to Undergo Cladding Removal After Emergency Fire Risk Uncovered

Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford to Undergo Cladding Removal After Emergency Fire Risk Uncovered

Emergency Department at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford to Undergo Cladding Removal After Fire Risk Uncovered

In the coming weeks, work will commence to remove dangerous cladding from the emergency department at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford. This decision comes after a recent assessment revealed an extremely high risk of fire spread within the hospital.

The report highlighted several safety concerns, including breaches in compartmentation and a compromise in cavity barriers. It also noted delays in identifying the source of a fire due to issues with the fire alarm system. These issues were deemed to pose a consequential risk of harm or death if a fire were to occur.

According to the report, the cladding on the hospital building does not comply with fire safety requirements, and the severity of the issue is classified as “catastrophic.” As a result, the removal of the cladding has been deemed a top priority.

The estimated cost of removing the cladding from the emergency department alone is over £1 million, with a projected completion date by the end of the year. The hospital’s managing trust, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, is working closely with fire safety experts and the building’s owners to ensure the safety of staff, patients, and visitors during the removal process.

In the meantime, the Trust has implemented additional safety measures, including 24/7 fire warden patrols, increased awareness campaigns, and enhanced staff training. Over 100 fire blankets have also been installed in the past year.

Group manager for building safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Steve Burwell, has assured the public that they are working closely with the hospital to ensure safety during the removal process. The hospital, which opened in 2000 as the country’s first private finance initiative (PFI) hospital, has been met with criticism for its financing methods. However, the Trust remains committed to rectifying the safety issues and ensuring the well-being of all who enter the hospital.

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