A Fire Risk Assessments is a must for any care home as they help to ensure that not only are fires avoided but that residents can be safely evacuated in the event of a fire related incident.
But, what should yours entail?
What are the main causes of fire in a care home?
According to statistics published by the London Fire Brigade, there have been an alarming number of fatal fires that have occurred in residential care homes over the last decade.
The report indicated that the main causes of fire in care homes include:
Kitchen appliances: 41%
Cooking meals: 21%
Related to smoking: 13%
In these types of premises, it is important that the Assessors are trained and experienced professionals as care homes will often house elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents that may have difficulty with evacuating the premises within a suitable time scale.
Fire detection and warning systems
It is vitally important that care homes have a suitable fire alarm and emergency lighting systems for the level of risk across the premises. These systems should be subject to both annual maintenance/servicing as well as regular checks to always ensure full functionality of all fire safety systems.
Fire detection and early warning systems within care homes will typically include smoke detectors, heat detectors and fire alarms. These devices are strategically placed throughout the building to ensure early detection of a fire, limit false alarms and aid in alerting all relevant person (staff, local fire & rescue and residents).
It is very important to check that there are clear and unobstructed escape routes throughout the building, including internal & external escape routes and emergency exits. Should evacuation aids be required the means of escape (passageways and final exits) are to be a suitable width to allow unrestricted access to a place of safety.
Fire escape routes should be clearly marked and easily accessible for staff and residents, including those who may have mobility impairments. Emergency exits should be located in multiple areas of the building and be clearly marked with illuminated signs.
During the assessment, the Assessor will also review the current provision of firefighting equipment available in the event of an emergency. This will include items such as fire blankets and fire extinguishers (we would recommend Eco Extinguishers). Part of this review will include ensuring that there is a record of annual servicing by a professional engineer and that the equipment is within the relevant lifespan.
As part of the Fire Risk Assessment, all staff Fire Safety Training records will be requested. Records the Assessor would anticipate to review include staff being trained in:
- Fire Warden Training (this may not be applicable to all staff)
- Fire Awareness and Evacuation Training
- Evacuation Aid Training (if required for the site/residents)
- Refresher training (annual)
- Fire Extinguisher Training
- Fire drill records.
It is very important that, whilst staff may have received full training, subsequent refresher training is provided to ensure that knowledge and policies is reinforced. If changes are made to the evacuation plan/policy all staff are to be informed of the changes and, if required, new training is to be provided.
Safety of residents
When developing Fire Safety Plans and Policies it is of the upmost importance to ensure that any special needs of the residents, such as mobility restrictions or dementia, is considered. This can be achieved by creating Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for the relevant person/s
Procedures and Policies should also include regular fire drills, checks of the emergency lighting, visual inspection of firefighting equipment (alongside the annual inspections) and regular checks of escape routes to ensure that there are no obstructions.
Fire Risk Assessments from LS Fire Solutions
At LS Fire Solutions Ltd, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality Fire Risk Assessments to care homes throughout the UK. Our team of dedicated Fire Risk Assessors specialise in Fire Safety for Care Homes and providing Fire Safety Training to staff.
We are here to help you ensure that your residents are as safe as possible – contact us today for more information about our Fire Risk Assessments and our live management systems!