Care Home Fire Safety
Care homes are often located in areas that are prone to fires, so residents need to take extra precautions when staying at these facilities.
It is important for everyone living in a care home to understand how to keep themselves safe during emergencies and the following will look at the primary areas for consideration with brief explanations as to what should be put in place.
Residential Care Fire Risk Assessment
Identify Fire Hazards
People at Risk
Evaluate, remove, reduce, and protect from risk
Record, plan, inform, instruct and train
Here you should be looking at what could cause a fire within the care home, i.e., electrical heaters and look to keep ignition sources & fuels apart.
Fuels should be also identified such as medical gases and a particularly important one to consider within a care setting is paraffin-based ointments where care should be taken to keep residents to who it has been applied away from heat sources.
Within a care home there will be residents with varying levels of mobility and other conditions that will have to be taken into consideration.
Staff and visitors should also be considered within your fire risk assessment.
Look at the details gathered in identifying hazards & risks and use this information to calculate the risk of a hazard then wither remove that hazard completely or where this cannot be achieved the most effective control measure for the hazard should be introduced.
Keep a record of all findings within your fire risk assessment then use this information as part of your organisations overall fire safety training package to employees.
Review the assessment on a regular basis to ensure all measures in place remain sufficient and if needs be informed staff of any changes and re-train where required.
Fire Safety Training & Fire Drills
Staff should receive adequate fire safety awareness training for the role they are carrying out with some members of staff receiving a higher level of training such as fire warden training.
It is not laid out what is deemed as accurate, but the fire awareness training given should cover the following as a minimum:
Fire risks in the premises
The general fire precautions in the building
Action in the event of a fire
Action on hearing the alarm
Method of operation of manual call point
Location and use of fire extinguishers
Means for calling the fire and rescue service
Identity of persons nominated to assist with evacuation
Identify of persons nominated to use fire extinguishers
Any site-specific training should also be given including the safe evacuation of the residents and procedures for any resident that cannot be safety evacuated from the care home.
Note: Training should that then be put into practice by way of fire drill with results recorded acted upon accordingly.
Fire alarm system and other fire safety equipment including fire doors
There should be what is called a Grade A L1 fire alarm system installed within the care home which basically means the entire building has fire detection including voids within roof spaces etc.
Where the sounding of fire alarms may cause distress to the residents silent evacuation can also be introduced where staff are alerted by a pre alarm allowing staff to investigate.
Weekly testing should be carried out preferably on the same day & time each week so as not to confused residents and the system should undergo 6 monthly testing by a qualified contractor.
Note: It is essential that the panel is checked daily for faults and if found reported without delay.
Another piece of equipment you are likely to find in care homes are fire extinguishers which should only be operated by those trained to use them.
This will normally be nominated fire wardens who have carried out further practical training in their use.
Note: Fire extinguishers should only be used to aide escape from a premises if required, always get out where possible rather than trying to fight a fire.
Fire doors form an essential part of the passive fire protection within a care home and are installed to confine smoke & fire to the compartment it started in keeping escape routes free from smoke.
Note: Where fire doors need to be kept open for the benefit of residents then a suitable hold open device should be installed to the fire doors that releases on the sounding of the fire alarm.
Have a plan for fire evacuation
Make sure you have a plan for how the premises would be evacuated in the event of a fire which must set out clearly how staff, residents and visitors should exit the premises.
Each care home should have its own specific emergency plan relevant to the building and its residents.
The overall aim is to for staff to be able to move residents to safety as quickly & safely as possible but must also include procedures for residents whose room also acts as a temporary refuge.
There are three types of fire evacuation that can be applied:
For residents that are able bodies and do not require assistance to exit the building.
Progressive Horizontal Evacuation
For residents who are bedbound where a full evacuation would provide difficult, they would be moved to a designate safe part of the building (refuge) then on to a place of relative safety.
Where residents remain in their room until the fire has been dealt with. This would mean the bedroom is its own fire rated compartment therefore effectively acting as its own refuge.
A personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) should be in place for all residents which is then reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Note: Where evacuation chairs and such equipment is required then staff should receive full training on their use.
If you have any questions about care home fire safety or would like to get a quote for your fire risk assessment please use our online quote system where the costs will displayed online instantly for you.