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Fire safety in care homes

Nursing homes, care facilities and hospices are key to the comfort and wellbeing of vulnerable people. Managing such a service carries the responsibility of ensuring legislation is followed and regulations are met.

Are you compliant?

In a care home environment it is vital that procedures are in place in the event of a fire, and that all staff are aware of what is required of them.

Residents of various ages and capacity will require specific care which must be assessed on a case by case basis. Businesses must take action to safeguard residents, visitors and property with the use of a fire safety strategy.

Standards are reviewed periodically, with updates made to regulations as required. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 states that all equipment used must be suitable for purpose and properly maintained. This means that arrangements must be in place to purchase, service and replace equipment, including fire safety items.

Compliance

Who is responsible for fire safety?

The responsible person must take action to safeguard the business, its residents, visitors and property with a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA).

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) states that a responsible person must take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of any of his employees.

The duty is on this person to make sure the business fire risk assessment is up-to-date and that a fire safety company is employed to minimise risk. Churches Fire is a third party accredited company, meaning that all of our products have been rigorously assessed by reputable third parties and have met the highest industry standards. Further information on our accreditations can be found here.

What are the penalties?

The cost of a life cannot be measured. The effects of a fire within a care home can be long term, leading to health and mental wellbeing issues.

Financial costs resulting from fire safety breaches can have devastating effects on businesses.

A hospice in East Sussex was fined £250,000 as a result of a fire. Staff were found to have had no suitable training for evacuation, the main fire exit was locked and smoke was allowed to spread.

The penalty costs vary, but can all but be avoided with the proper fire strategy in place.

Gavel, scales of justice and law books

Keeping residents safe – 5 point checklist

  • Fire Risk Assessment

    When was your FRA last updated? Are all staff trained to follow the document? Have recommendations been actioned? Is your evacuation process manageable? Churches Fire can help you stay compliant.

  • Fire Wardens

At least two trained fire wardens should be designated in a care home facility, taking into account shift patterns. Provisions must be made so cover is always available.

  • Fire Extinguishers

    The correct type of fire extinguishers must be in place and require annual servicing. Regulations dictate the number and type of extinguishers required per business.

  • Alarm System

    Regulations state that care homes must have an L1 Fire Alarm System fitted. This type of alarm provides coverage throughout the building.

  • Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC)

    Care homes must have the facility to automatically contact an Alarm Receiving Centre when fire alarm signals are activated. This applies to new fire systems or those having an upgrade. This ruling is not retrospective to systems already in place, however the FRA will assess any requirement for an update. Churches Fire can install and maintain your business ARC.

Churches Fire provide services to over 30,000 sites countrywide. For over 25 years they have been enabling UK businesses to better protect their staff, visitors and assets, helping them reduce the risk of fire. From large well-known corporate businesses to smaller, local businesses Churches Fire offer a full range of fire safety services such as fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, fire doors, emergency lighting and suppression systems removing the need to go to a third party.

Contact us today to discuss your care home fire safety requirements.

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