Care home residents are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to fire. With many service users struggling with mobility difficulties, or simply a little slower on their feet, without a carefully planned evacuation strategy, a fire can be catastrophic. So, how do you plan the very best fire safety for care homes? As an owner or manager, what do you need to do to keep both your residents and your employees safe?
1. Fire risk assessment
Your fire risk assessment is possibly the most important step for care home fire safety. But it’s crucial that you cover all of the relevant points, including:
Identifying any potential hazards – Are any fire doors wedged open for convenience? Do any residents use medical oxygen? Are cleaning products stored safely? Are there any potential obstacles near fire doors, or in corridors, or resident’s rooms?
Understanding who is most vulnerable – Conducting individual assessments of each service user will allow you to prepare for their needs in the event of a fire. Including those who may require horizonal evacuation.
Working out the safeguards you need to put in place – Reserving the rooms closest to fire exits for those with the least mobility. Allocating team members to assist the most vulnerable. Ensuring the correct equipment is available and functioning.
All of these points should be recorded, reassessed and updated on a regular basis. You might find our preprepared fire risk assessment checklist useful. Alternatively, get in touch to arrange a professional fire risk assessment for your care home.
2. Fire alarms
To guarantee compliance with fire safety for care homes regulations, you must have an L1 fire alarm system in place. This means that you have the best possible warning system in the event of a fire. But as well as a quality fire alarm system, you may need to consider additional features. These might include manual call points next to each exit, and different alarm types, such as visual alarms for the hearing impaired.
3. Fire extinguishers
You may already know that there are different types of fire extinguisher for different types of fire. But do you know what you need for the different parts of your care home? And when did you last have them serviced?
4. Fire evacuation
If the worst should happen and fire did break in your care home, the best way to ensure that everyone escapes unscathed is to prepare. You should have at least one designated fire warden on shift. You should plan and practice all evacuation procedures on a regular basis. All emergency lighting, fire exits, and fire detection and prevent equipment should be maintained and checked. And all team members should be trained at least annually – on both basic fire evacuation, and on how to assist more vulnerable service users.
Fire safety for care homes is an area that simply can’t be overlooked. Assumptions can’t be made, because lives will put at risk. These four steps will hopefully help you to take all necessary precautions.
Need help ensuring your care home has the correct fire safety measures in place? Then get in touch with 1st Class Fire Protection today either on 01603 742741 or request a call back with our expert team and we will help you with your enquiry.