4 things to help  prepare you in the event of a fire in a care home

4 things to help prepare you in the event of a fire in a care home

Fires can occur in many ways within the care industry, in 2013 there were 10 fires a week in London care homes and sheltered accommodation alone.

In 2015, London Fire Brigade released the figure, 30 people who died in accidental fires 13 were either receiving care at home or were in a care home.

Recent events in the UK news have indicated to us that fire safety is an issue which needs to be addressed in care homes and hospices. By raising awareness we can help ensure the safety of the staff and residents in event of a fire.

In order to help save lives across the UK and raise awareness, here is 4 things that can help prepare your care home in case of a fire.

Fires per week in London care homes/ sheltered accomodation

%

Those in care homes that died as a result of accidental fires in London

1. Carry out a fire risk assessment:

Failure to carry out a fire risk assessment is detrimental to the safety of your home, staff and residents. A care home was recently fined more that £400,000 for safety breaches after an elderly resident was killed in a fire.

2. Sprinklers:

These can act as a life-saving tool by reducing the rate that the fire spreads throughout the home. As some residents may experience reduced mobility, the sprinklers can offer them more time to evacuate the premises than without.

3. Education:

Ensure that your staff are trained and know what to do in the event of a fire. This can be through giving them an induction to common standards and practices. By understanding practices that prevent fires from starting and spreading, you can promote fire safety in your care environment.

4. Individual smoking risk assessment:

It is common to get residents that smoke in care homes and for each resident that does a risk assessment is needed. This should be carried out by a member of staff and the resident, family or friend (depending on who is competent enough to have an understanding of the risks). The assessment should include identification of the hazards, evaluation of the risks and measure of control.

Things to consider for your fire evacuation procedure at your care home

Things to consider for your fire evacuation procedure at your care home

Recent reports in the news of fires breaking out in care homes have truly grabbed our attention. Although fires in care homes are not a new issue they deserve more awareness to help educate others on preparing and tackling a possible situation.

Weeks ago, two residents at a care home in Hertfordshire sadly died following a fire that tore through the home. 33 residents were rescued during the incident that blazed through the first floor and roof. It was reported that firefighters had to carry residents in armchairs to get them to safety. Since the incident, there has been a just giving page set up by local residents and emergency services to aid those who have lost everything in the fire.

Another case arose at a care home in Staffordshire, the fire was started by a discarded cigarette. 28 residents were carried to safety, six people were taken to hospital, two of them were seriously injured during the blaze.

Events like these demonstrate to every care home how important it is to have an up to date risk assessment, as well as a fire evacuation plan. Due to a number of occupants within a home and the mobility of residents, fires can traumatise patients and affect the credibility of your care home- especially if there are serious casualties. Breach of fire regulations alone could cost you and your home around £100,000, as a care home in Devon proved last month.

To assist the residents (who are less mobile) in the case of a fire in your home, it is important to check the fire safety ratings and features of new or existing equipment such as mattresses and chairs. These can significantly help you be prepared in the case of a fire or other emergencies when a less mobile patient will need to be evacuated.Fire evacuation straps

On patient pressure care mattresses it is important to check whether or not they allow you to move the resident. You can check by looking at the 2 long sides of the mattress.

On most mattresses (with evacuation bases) there will be a tab to pull in the case of an emergency. When purchasing a new mattress, it is recommended to look for a mattress with evacuation straps built into the base, as some do not Pressure care mattress with fire evacuation basehost their evacuation handles within the product itself, causing you to be less efficient during the emergency.

During the loan of one of our OSKATM Series5 mattresses to THE FED, a fire broke out on site. We received this extremely important feedback when the pressure care mattress was returned.

“Thanks for the loan of the Series5 mattress that had the fire evacuation base. We, unfortunately, had a fire on site one Sunday and the lady who was using the mattress was able to be taken off the bed easily and moved into the lounge area very safely, so it was excellent!”

It is a feature that we hope you never have to use in your care home but one that if you have, can help save the reputation of your home but most of all keep your residents safe.

View OSKA™ Series2-V2 with fire evacuation base

other literature:
How to improve the fire evacuation procedure in a care home
Southern Health NHS: Fire safety in care homes