Establishing fire safety measures in a care home is far more complicated than in a typical work setting and can have serious consequences if they are not implemented correctly whether that be the cost of someone’s life or a costly regulation breach.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that those involved with the fire safety process have a responsibility to keep the building safe. Care providers are the designated ‘responsible person’ when looking after residents during the event of a fire.
The Importance Of Fire Safety In Care Homes
Fire safety is essential to any premises. However, considering the nature of a care home, there are special considerations to think of. Care home residents often struggle with mobility issues and neurodegenerative diseases which require 24-7 care and daily medication.
Emergency evacuations are not as easy as directing visitors and residents to evacuation points. Many residents will struggle to reach exits in quick time, not to mention those who are bed-bound, deaf, blind, or suffering from general disorientation. Carers and staff members are also at just as much risk. While they are physically and mentally able to evacuate the building, they have a duty of care and responsibility to their patients first and foremost.
The Main Causes Of Fire In Care Homes
With most buildings, the common reasons for fires are often caused by cooking appliances or malfunction in electrical equipment. Care homes will have numerous alarms and medical equipment such as medical oxygen cylinders plugged in 24-7. While paperwork such as patient files is more of a trigger than a cause, it is essential to keep them in mind when creating a fire risk assessment.
There are numerous procedures a care home can conduct to present a safe and fire preventative home for the vulnerable generation to live comfortably. Below are the standard practices care homes must abide by to prevent fire.
Fire Risk Assessments
LFB completed a review of fire safety in care homes in 2020, which found that nearly half of the homes reviewed did not have an adequate fire risk assessment.
Every care home must present a heavily detailed and regularly updated fire risk assessment to their staff and everyone involved. A fire risk assessment will highlight fire safety risks and the measures and improvement plans to limit fire risks. Due to the unique difficulties involved, it is best to seek a specialist with the knowledge and experience in care home fire safety to conduct a fire risk assessment – this is not required but recommended.
According to the current fire safety laws for care homes in the UK, all homes must have fire-fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and hoses, which any resident or staff member can use in an emergency.
Fire extinguishers must be regularly serviced and meet health and safety standards. Place them throughout the building in locations where they are easily accessible and where a fire could potentially occur. Ideally, all staff members will have training on fire extinguishers and how to use them.
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