A Guide to Fire Safety in Care Homes

Fire safety in a care home is much more complex than other businesses. A straightforward safety procedure involves everyone exiting a building calm and swiftly. In the case of a care home, residents are less mobile, sometimes even bed bound. They might be affected by dementia, hard of hearing, or other conditions that make them more vulnerable. Residents will have slower reaction time to alarms and a harder time leaving the facility.

Confusion and forgetfulness is also more likely to be the cause of a fire to begin with. Plans must be in place that ensure no one is trapped in the event of a fire. Staff must be well trained and certain they know exactly what to do if a fire does occur.

In any business, a Responsible Person is someone in charge of fire safety. In a care home, that is mostly likely the care home manager. They take on a lot of responsibilities in the home like the following:

·       Managing and reducing dangerous substances

·       Ensuring appropriate fire fighting and detecting equipment exists

·       Carrying out fire drills and procedure training

·       Keeping routes to fire exits clear

·       Carrying out fire risk assessments regularly.

Fire risk assessments should be checked and updated regularly, it is a legal requirement and a crucial part of operating a care home safely. The assessment should reflect that proper precautions are in place that will protect residents.

To perform an assessment you must first identify all fire hazards. Ensure potential ignitions and fuels apart. Then, identify each individual’s risks and create personalised evacuation plans. Next, take action to remove and reduce hazards to protect residents and employees based on what you have evaluated around the home. Finally, inform and train employees on the fire safety precautions you’ve developed. Keep a written record of your fire risk assessment and revisit it regularly, while also retraining staff, in case it needs to be updated. If there are any changes to the care home, make sure you consider them in your plans.

Fire drills should be scheduled at least once a year and every staff member should know how to operate a fire extinguisher. Your biggest strategy is to prevent fires from starting to begin with. Ensure everyone’s safety by reducing risks in the care home, while also actively preparing for the worst. Make sure you have a plan in case of an emergency that keeps everyone safe. 

Caredemy offers affordable, complaint online training for fire safety courses specific to care homes

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