Must Do’s In Order to Ensure Fire Safety in Care Homes

Updated on August 10, 2021

In any residential care home, having effective fire strategy arrangements is vital because elderly or dependent residents are particularly vulnerable to such dangers. Here are the steps that need to be taken and maintained in order to keep your residential area fire safe. 

Keep risks assessments up to date 

In order to ensure fire safety in care homes, this is one of the biggest factors to consider. The risk evaluation should identify fire dangers and suggest measures required to guarantee the security of all persons, including vulnerable inhabitants, who use a facility. When substantial changes are made on the premises, they must be kept up to date via reviews.

The following are important factors to consider in risk assessments:

  • Building design and layout
  • Fire safety measures that are structural or “passive”
  • Appropriate exits and escape routes for people to leave the building
  • Detection systems for fires
  • Plan of action in the event of an emergency
  • Places of assembly
  • The needs of vulnerable or dependent residents, such as wheelchair users or persons with sight impairments, who may not be able to flee swiftly.

It is a legal obligation for assessment findings to be recorded if there are more than five staff members on the premises. Evaluations in a fire security file should be maintained. The findings must be notified to employees and safety representatives.

Create and update emergency plans 

Risk evaluation should be the basis of emergency planning. All necessary arrangements for risk reduction and the safety of persons should be covered. This includes information about:

  • How to locate a fire
  • Ways to notify others about a fire
  • How to address an alert
  • Procedures to evacuate
  • Vulnerable People Assistance Procedures. For example, duties on who should call the fire department and who, if appointed, should behave as a firefighter.
  • Where equipment to combat fire is situated
  • Fire exercises and staff training.

Plans should be maintained in the fire safety file and made public on fire posters and advisories for personnel and citizens. It should be simple, transparent, and concise. With a properly defined evacuation plan in place that is readable and communicated to all employees, it will ensure an organized and panic-free evacuation.

The needs of all residents 

Appropriate escaping measures should be drawn up for both non-ambulant and incapacitated people. This includes those with disabilities, visitors, and vulnerable and dependent citizens.

In order to determine their requirements, disabled persons should be consulted.

When determining the necessary requirements managers have to take into account:

  • Wheelchair people or issues with mobility
  • Folks who cannot hear a fire alarm with hearing problems
  • People who can not see signs of fire exit visually impaired
  • Learning problems or dementia people have difficulty understanding what is happening.

A personnel emergency evacuation plan will generally be prepared for those who need special assistance to secure their security in the case of a fire. This is an “escape plan” for people who cannot exit a building without help.

To offer the help needed, nominated workers should be trained. If specific evacuation equipment is needed, it should be provided by the care home and available at all times. 

Invest in appropriate fire alarm systems 

​​Those in charge of care homes have to guarantee that appropriate fire detection and warning systems are in place. This includes fire and fire detectors and manually operated calls (often “break-glass” boxes) connected to the appropriate fire alarm system. The systems can split buildings into “zones” or fire-resistant compartments in bigger sites. Such zonal systems typically contain a diagram through the alarm box, allowing workers and firefighters to see where the alarm is located.

Professional expert guidance in the design and fitting of detection and alarm systems should always be acquired. Regular testing and maintenance arrangements as specified by manufacturers must be in place. Details of service and testing in the fire safety file should be recorded.

Be aware of the fire hazards of healthcare equipment and medication 

Risk assessments should examine all fire hazards including if utilized by any resident, those provided by medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders.

Staff should be adequately trained in the appropriate safety precautions when oxygen is utilized. In accordance with the safety alerts of the manufacturer, the cylinder must always be handled. Tobacco or the use of any naked oxygen fires is very dangerous and should be avoided.

Fire specialists warn that comparable precautions are necessary if mattresses and overlays are used for dynamic airflow relief pressure. The escape airflow can allow a fire to spread quickly if it is ruptured by a heat source, such as a match or cigarettes.

Emollient creams are hydrants that prevent or deal with dry skin problems, like eczema and psoriasis. The Care Quality Commission alerted health and health care professionals to the fire hazards of such items and in particular paraffin-based products. 

Care managers must ensure that any use of emollients in fire risk evaluations is included. Those with emollient creams should be advised that they are not smoking and must not use naked flames and should not approach someone who smokes or uses naked flames.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.