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If you're responsible for a residential care home, there are specific areas of fire safety you need to really pay attention to.
In residential care homes, escape planning is particularly important. Do you know how you would safely and quickly evacuate every person your team cares for?
Tragically, there were many fatal fires in care homes and where vulnerable people were being cared for in their own homes by professional carers, family and friends.
With better fire safety knowledge and emergency planning in place, these numbers could be much lower. On this page, we'll take a closer look at the risks and what you can do to reduce them, and provide advice about creating an emergency plan that will help you make sure everyone can get to safety if there is a fire.
It's the law – covered by the Fire Safety Order and the Care Act, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. If you don't meet these legal obligations, you can go to prison and face an unlimited fine.
The first step to improving your fire prevention strategy is identifying where things can go wrong. In 2016/17, our firefighters attended many fires in residential care homes across London, and we've noticed some common factors in the homes that have experienced fires.
As well as fire safety risks, we also see some common areas for concern in care homes. These include:
When you care for others, you are responsible for helping to reduce their risk of harm, and planning how you would keep them safe in an emergency.
Now you understand the risks and how important it is to do all you can to prevent fires, what help is available to you?
When it comes to making your Fire Risk Assessment and Emergency Plan, it's important to treat every individual as an individual, and properly cater for their circumstances and needs. There's a useful guide to help on gov.uk page 'Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Means of Escape for Disabled People.'
A good way to understand every resident's needs – and plan to meet them – is to complete a Person-Centred Fire Risk Assessment. You'll find a document to help you at the bottom of this page. This template has been designed as a simple tool to use to identify fire risk and can be used by anyone that provides or is in receipt of care. It can also be used by Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords when looking to identify risk and put in control measures.
This can be used to identify Assisted Living Technology that could be useful when looking to control or eliminate fire risk.
Up-to-date information about health equipment such as airflow mattresses and emollient creams and consideration of increased fire risk associated with these products.
This checklist is a really helpful tool when it comes to completing your Fire Risk Assessment.
Understand your responsibilities and find help to undertake this vital assessment.