Is Your Care Home Fire-Safe? Ensuring the Safety of Your Care Home against Fire Hazards
Care homes have faced numerous challenges in the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While their focus has rightly been on keeping residents safe from the virus, other safety issues, such as fire safety, may have been overlooked. With restrictions being lifted and vaccinations underway, now is the perfect time for care home owners to ensure their fire safety equipment is maintained and serviced properly. The team at Hartson Fire has compiled some guidance notes to help care home owners comply with safety regulations and make their facilities fire-safe. This includes appointing a responsible person, conducting fire risk assessments, implementing an evacuation strategy, and using appropriate fire safety signage and extinguishers. Hartson Fire can provide expert advice and assistance for care homes in ensuring their fire safety measures are up to standard.
Full Article: Is Your Care Home Fire-Safe? Ensuring the Safety of Your Care Home against Fire Hazards
Ensuring Fire Safety in Care Homes: A Guide for Owners and Managers
Over the past 18 months, care homes have faced a huge challenge in terms of keeping their residents, staff, and visitors safe from catching or spreading the coronavirus. And quite frankly, they’ve done an amazing job.
However, with this priority in mind, it can be easy to let other safety issues slip through the net, including the maintenance and servicing of fire safety equipment. So, as restrictions are lifted and more and more people are being vaccinated, now is a good time to make sure that all of this equipment as well as fire safety signage is as it should be.
Firstly, you need to make sure to appoint a specific person among your staff as the responsible person when it comes to safety in any workplace, including care homes.
According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), the ‘responsible person’ has a duty of care and undertakes all fire safety responsibilities. In a care home setting, the responsible person is usually the care home manager. It falls to them to take all reasonable fire safety precautions to protect employees and residents – this starts with a fire risk assessment to ascertain all fire hazards and risks in the building. The care home manager must be confident of robust procedures to ensure a fire doesn’t break out and, if it does, have in place well-communicated emergency plans so the fire can be controlled and occupants of the building led to a safe escape.
Fire Risk Assessments and Planning
As in any workplace setting, every care home should make sure they have in place an up-to-date fire risk assessment. This is particularly important to keep elderly residents safe with the risk assessment taking into account the fact that many of these residents are frail, unwell, and even wheelchair or bed-bound. Once a risk assessment has been completed, then you should call in the services of a company such as Hartson Fire to check that all fire equipment is appropriate and fully serviced and that the correct fire safety signage is in place to meet these particular needs.
As part of this planning process, care home owners should also have in place a robust and effective evacuation strategy to ensure the efficient and safe escape of all residents.
Signage for Escape Routes
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 require that residential care premises must provide adequate and specific signs alerting to a risk of fire and highlight necessary action required. Staff, residents, and visitors to the premises must be able to clearly identify escape routes, locate firefighting equipment, and know where and how to raise the alarm.
Fire safety signs provide crucial guidance in times of emergency and should be included as a key part of the fire risk assessment. You will need to look at fire safety doors, signage for exits, assembly points, etc. You can see our full range of products here which can be ordered online.
Fire Extinguishers for Care Homes
As with any premises, fire extinguishers are an important piece of fire safety equipment, and never more so in care homes where there are vulnerable residents plus a busy, commercial kitchen.
There are many types of fire extinguishers that are suitable for different classes of fire. So, it’s vital that your premises are equipped with the correct fire extinguishers in the correct place and that the registered managers within the care homes are fully trained to operate fire extinguishers. You can see our full range of extinguishers here.
Services Offered by Hartson Fire
As well as offering advice and guidance on fire safety signage, Hartson Fire’s engineers can also assist with the positioning of fire extinguishers, which types you will need (for example, you will need a different extinguisher in a kitchen than in a corridor) as well as the signs and instructions you will need to accompany them.
To find out more or book a servicing at your care home, call a member of our team today on the number below:
Summary: Is Your Care Home Fire-Safe? Ensuring the Safety of Your Care Home against Fire Hazards
Care homes have been focused on keeping residents safe from COVID-19, but it’s important not to neglect other safety concerns, such as fire safety equipment. Hartson Fire offers guidance to ensure care homes comply with safety regulations. It’s crucial to appoint a responsible person to oversee safety and conduct fire risk assessments. Adequate fire safety signage is required to alert residents, staff, and visitors to escape routes and firefighting equipment. Care homes should also have appropriate fire extinguishers in place. Hartson Fire offers advice on signage positioning and can assist with fire extinguishers and accompanying instructions. Contact them for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Your Care Home Fire Safe? – Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Why is fire safety important in care homes?
A1: Fire safety is crucial in care homes because the elderly and vulnerable individuals residing there may have mobility limitations or health issues that make it difficult for them to escape a fire. Additionally, care homes often host many people in a relatively confined space, increasing the risk of fire spread and the chance of severe consequences if a fire were to occur.
Q2: What measures should care homes take to ensure fire safety?
A2: Care homes should implement several fire safety measures, including installing smoke detectors and fire alarms throughout the premises, regularly inspecting and maintaining firefighting equipment, conducting fire drills and training staff on evacuation procedures, and creating personalized emergency plans for each resident.
Q3: How often should fire risk assessments be conducted in care homes?
A3: Fire risk assessments should be carried out regularly in care homes to identify potential hazards and assess the effectiveness of existing fire safety measures. While there is no specific legal requirement for frequency, it is generally recommended that fire risk assessments be reviewed at least annually or whenever significant changes occur within the care home.
Q4: Are there any specific fire safety regulations that care homes need to comply with?
A4: Yes, care homes in most jurisdictions are required to comply with specific fire safety regulations. These regulations may include guidelines on emergency lighting, fire exit signage, fire-resistant materials, evacuation procedures, and staff training. It is important for care homes to familiarize themselves with the applicable regulations and ensure compliance.
Q5: How can care homes reduce the risk of fire hazards?
A5: Care homes can minimize the risk of fire hazards by regularly checking electrical systems and equipment for faults, properly storing and disposing of flammable materials, maintaining clear escape routes, providing staff training on fire prevention and suppression, and promoting a culture of fire safety awareness among residents, staff, and visitors.
Q6: What should I do if I suspect fire safety negligence in a care home?
A6: If you suspect fire safety negligence in a care home, it is important to report your concerns to the appropriate authorities, such as the local fire department or regulatory body responsible for care home inspections. They will investigate the matter and take necessary actions to ensure the safety of the residents.
Q7: How can family members ensure their loved ones are in a fire-safe care home?
A7: Family members can ensure their loved ones are in a fire-safe care home by conducting thorough research on potential care homes, visiting the premises to assess fire safety measures in place, inquiring about staff training and emergency protocols, and checking if the care home has a history of fire incidents or violations. It is also wise to review the care home’s fire risk assessment and emergency plans.
Q8: Can my loved one’s mobility needs affect their ability to escape during a fire in a care home?
A8: Yes, if your loved one has mobility limitations, it is important to consider how their specific needs will be addressed in the event of a fire. Care homes should have personalized evacuation plans for residents with restricted mobility, which may include special equipment, designated evacuation buddies, and clear instructions for staff on how to assist those individuals during an emergency.
Remember, ensuring a fire-safe environment in care homes is essential for the well-being and protection of residents. If you have further questions or concerns about fire safety in a care home, reach out to the care home management or relevant authorities.