London Fire Brigade

Firefighters call on carers to prevent avoidable fire deaths

13 June 2015

New figures published in Carers' Week shows that nearly half of the people who died in fires last year were in receipt of care.

The data shows that of the 30 people who died in accidental fires last year, 13 were either receiving care at home or were in a care home - this is an 11 per cent increase on the previous year, and, we say, this proves why more work is needed to protect London's most vulnerable.

Closer working with carers

We're calling for closer working between the care and fire profession.

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 power.

Home Fire Safety Visit

We're also promoting our free home fire safety visits, including fitting smoke alarms and in some instances, flame retardant bedding for vulnerable people who smoke, for people receiving care in their own homes.

In 2014/2015, we visited 87,000 homes in London to undertake home fire safety visits. Past research shows that vulnerable people are 18 times less likely to have a fire if they receive a visit from firefighters in their home.

We want care staff to get in touch if they believe the people they are looking after are at risk from fire and would benefit from a home fire safety visit.

Sprinklers

Care home operators are also being urged to improve safety provisions for their residents. We continue to strongly recommend the installation of sprinklers in residential care homes and fire risk assessments which are catered to the needs of their residents. 

Director of Operations Dave Brown said: "Carers are on the frontline supporting the most vulnerable people within our communities and by helping us identify those at risk from fire we can continue to reduce the number of people dying in fires. 
 
"We also want to see all residential care homes fitted with sprinklers. Sadly, most of the people who die in fires share the same characteristics, they are over sixty, live alone, have limited mobility and many are being cared for.

"Despite this, too many developers, local authorities and private care homes ignore the life saving benefits of sprinklers."

The introduction of the Care Quality Commission's Care Certificate is an attempt to set a standard minimum level of training for care workers and healthcare assistants and has ensured that a fire safety is brought to the attention of carers.