Fire safety in care homes is extremely important as these environments involve some of society’s most vulnerable people; some who may have health conditions which makes things like evacuations much more different.
That’s why it’s imperative to have the right regulations in place when it comes to fire safety.
The risk of fire is present pretty much everywhere, but care homes carry their own unique risks. Government statistics show that there are, on average, 388 UK care homes every year.
And according to London Fire Brigade, the most common fire risks in care homes are:
But there are other risks that should be considered too. For example, many residents of care homes require oxygen tasks which can make a fire explosive and deadly. Similarly, emollients and skin creams are an added fire safety concern within care home environments, especially when used by people who spend extended periods in a bed or armchair due to illness or impaired mobility.
There is also an added risk that a fire may occur in the middle of night making evacuation that much slower and more difficult, especially if fewer people are on staff compared to during the day.
Mobility scooters are commonplace in care homes and the NFCC has provided specific fire safety guidance in relation to them:
“Mobility scooters involved in a fire can release large volumes of smoke and generate significant heat outputs. If mobility scooters are stored on escape routes and are involved in a fire, there is a potential that escape routes will become impassable and residents could be placed at significant risk in the event of a fire.”
Commercial fire safety is regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Order places responsibilities on anyone with an involvement in fire safety in care homes such as registered managers, risk assessors and fire alarm technicians. However, the primary duties lie with the care provider as the employer and therefore “Responsible Person.”
Care homes present unique challenges and the consequences of getting fire safety wrong can be fatal. Additionally, fire safety failings may result in a care home being rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and may even result in personal prosecution.
The Care Home Regulations Act of 2001 sets out fire safety regulations for care homes, including how care homes should approach fire safety and how complaints about fire safety in a care home are handled. This Act was amended in 2003.
Care home manager and care home facility owners need to look at several key responsibilities they have towards care home residents under the Act, including:
All this to say, it’s clear that fire risk assessments are absolutely vital in care home settings. They should be done frequently and thoroughly to ensure they are kept up to date. Your care home fire risk assessments should involve:
For help with your care home fire risk assessments, contact us at Total Fire Group. We can make sure your care home fire risk assessment is accurate, thorough and completely bespoke to your particular care home and its residents.
We offer our clients a complete fire safety management service, our key services include:
Delivering a comprehensive and detailed report on your property.
We can provide a partnership which offers auditing and consultancy services.
Manage multiple risk assessment actions with our Aurora software.
Our fire safety training courses cover every level of fire safety, from basic through to advanced.