A report from the London Fire Brigade showed a shocking 57% of audited care homes had fire safety breaches. That's more than 1 in 2 homes issued with formal notifications! How would your home fare if you were audited today? Read on to discover if you are in the clear...
If you own or manage a care home, it's safe to say your main focus is the people. Your residents are your priority and you want outstanding care for every one of them! The trouble is... it feels like you spend more time completing reports to prove it! Local Authorities, The CQC, advocates and social workers all call on your time.
You can delegate areas of this workload but there are some things that only you can do. If you're the Responsible Person for Health and Safety, it's you who's liable to be fined or even jailed if your premises is non-compliant with the law. One of the biggest aspects of this is your fire emergency planning. As we see from the report, it's easy to get it wrong!
This audit was in response to a number of care home fires in 2017/18. Sadly, although 33 residents were rescued in one incident, 2 people lost their lives.
The report found failings due to fire risk assessments being done without the technical knowledge needed. This happens a lot, a manager or maintenance man walks around the building ticking boxes on a template. That may work for the average office or shop, but it's not good enough for a home full of vulnerable residents.
For care home fire safety you also have to think of:
Staff training was a major cause for concern. Some homes provided equipment such as evacuation chairs, blankets or skids. However, staff were not always trained to use these correctly in an emergency. The importance of self closing fire doors wasn't always understood.
A great deal of fire safety training had been delivered online rather than as practical drills. Some training was generic rather than specific to the home. Staff and management didn't always understand their roles in an emergency.
It's easy to let these things slip. Every day you're dealing with...
...so there's no time to learn the detailed physics of fires.
Responsible Persons aren't expected to know every detail about how fire spreads. But the key word is responsible, so they need to get someone that does know!
Do you have a progressive horizontal evacuation plan? Is it based on a detailed survey of compartmentation and fire resisting separation? If not, your evacuation plan could be a life safety risk!
The bottom line is you can't assume "that won't happen here". You have to plan and practise as if it would, at the worst possible time!
This is where a Fire Safety Expert is essential. If your fire risk assessment is done correctly you can build your emergency planning and training from the right information. The benefits are:
Your responsibility is too great to rely on generic online templates. You need specialist knowledge, backed up by industry accreditations, but you also need to balance your budget! We can help...
Blake's have safeguarded schools, businesses and homes for over 25 years. We are BAFE and NSI Gold accredited for your complete peace of mind. EVERYTHING will be compliant with the British standards and legislation so you can fulfil your duty of care.
Our experts have written a free eBook to help owners and managers juggle budget and fire safety. Read it today to get YOUR balance right!