Posted June 14, 2022

An idea of a fire in any building is a scary thought, but a fire in a care home takes it to another level.

Evacuating all your residents takes a long time, time they may not have when they are against the speed of a fire spreading throughout a building.

Care and residential home environments present unique challenges, and the consequences of poor fire safety can be tragic. Even where they are not, fines associated with breaches of regulations can significantly impact the owners, residents, and providers. As BUPA Care Services found out when they were fined £1m following the death of a resident during a blaze in March 2016.

Protecting the vulnerable

Care home providers have faced fines in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds following prosecutions in respect of:

  • Inadequate or poorly maintained fire alarms. Care homes should generally have a system that includes fire detectors in all rooms as well as fire alarms in all bedrooms and throughout the home
  • Inadequate or poorly maintained emergency lighting
  • Failures relating to fire doors within their premises
  • Inadequate or out-of-date fire extinguishers
  • Evidence of poor emergency planning or a potential lack of staff to implement the plan
  • Blocked escape routes

According to the London Fire Brigade forty-five per cent of fires in residential homes are caused by cooking and cookers, 15 per cent by kitchen appliances and 12 per cent are smoking-related.

Fire safety is regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Order places responsibilities on anyone involved 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.”

Fire Risk Assessments in care homes

To remain compliant every care home must ensure they have a detailed and up to date FRA available. Where key staff know the findings, areas of risk (if any) and as equally important the areas of improvement.

There are no requirements for an expert to carry out a fire risk assessment. However, professional assistance is generally considered helpful and cost-effective. Furthermore, the care home managers can, by law, carry them out themselves.

The London Fire Brigade is calling on care homes to urgently:

  • review their emergency staff training and
  • check staff know how to evacuate residents safely

after finding serious fire safety failures in over half of care homes in London.

Outsourcing your Fire Risk Assessments to a professional

Conducting Fire Risk Assessments is an essential task for any business. Performing or outsourcing an FRA incorrectly could get you unwanted fines or, worse, jail. So you need to make sure when outsourcing it to a professional.

Above all your FRA is paramount to your safety management, and we’d like to help you stay compliant.

Why outsource your care home Fire safety management to SS Systems?

Above all, we are Fire safety specialists. We can manage your whole Fire Safety management in-house with our dedicated and experienced engineers. We can look after as much as or as little as possible.

In the event of outsourcing, the list below details what areas we can manage for you:

  • Fire risk assessments
  • Fire alarm installation and maintenance
  • Emergency lighting requirements
  • Fire extinguisher requirements
  • Safety signage
  • Staff – fire training

An excellent place to start is with a site survey. We provide these site surveys free of charge, no obligation.

To arrange yours today, contact us here.

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