London Fire Brigade

New guidance for care workers to help reduce monthly fire deaths

11 September 2012

For the first time care workers across the country are to be given new advice in a bid to cut fire deaths by helping them spot the tell tale signs of someone who is at high risk of having a fire.

Figures in a London Fire Brigade report, published today reveal that one person receiving care is dying from fire every month in London.

According to the figures, over the last three years, 36 out of 119 accidental fire deaths involved people who accessed some form of care services. All but three of the deceased smoked, half had mental health issues and 14 were known to drink alcohol.

From today care workers in England will get extra information about fire safety to support their introductory training. This will give them extra potentially life-saving information on how to spot the signs of a person who is most at risk of dying or being seriously injured, should a fire occur.  

Fire chiefs are asking care staff to get in touch with their local fire and rescue service if they notice any of the vital early warning signs, in order to prevent a fire from happening. Care workers are often the first to see the tell tale signs like burn marks on carpets from cigarettes or a smoke alarm that has run out of battery.

The induction standards for care workers and managers developed by Skills for Care have always had a fire safety element but a new free leaflet includes guidance on how to access free advice from their local fire service.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) requires that a care provider demonstrates that their service meets these essential fire safety standards. A fire safety induction must be undertaken by all workers in their first 12 weeks with an organisation. The standards are also useful to individuals who support and care for family or friends.

Chair of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Strategy Committee, Cllr Crada Onuegbu, said:

“This is a great example of London Fire Brigade working with other organisations to make not only London but the nation safer from fire.

“Care staff do a fantastic job of supporting people within our communities and those who have mobility issues. Sadly these people are among the most at risk from dying in a fire. Now care staff will have the skills to spot the warning signs and help prevent these terrible deaths.”

Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen said:

“This report is a timely reminder that people who use care services are often at serious risk from fire so we welcome this pro-active approach from fire brigades to tackling this problem.
 
“Brigades across the country have made significant progress in preventing fires so we would urge care workers and their managers to contact their local officers who can offer free expert advice to anyone they think might be at risk.”

Working with care staff is part of the London Fire Brigade’s drive to reduce fire deaths by as much as 30 per cent in the next three years. Other work includes calling for sprinklers to be installed in all new care homes and schools.

Ends

The induction standards for carers are the Common Induction Standards and Managers Induction Standards.

From 1 January 2009 to 31 December there were 119 accidental fire deaths and 36 of those were receiving some form of care.

The report can be read here http://www.london.gov.uk/LFEPA/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=145&MId=230&Ver=4