The care home environment presents unique challenges as residents might not have the ability to evacuate safely on their own. By law, all care homes in England are responsible to meet national standards of quality and safety.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect relevant persons in case of fire in and around most premises.
Responsibility for complying with the Fire Safety Order rests with the “Responsible Person”. The responsibility to plan and schedule the installation and maintenance of any fire protection equipment lies solely with the “Responsible Person”.
The checklist below covers the most important fire safety measures in care homes.
If you are the “Responsible Person” for your Care Home, you should be fully aware of the need to manage your premises well and to ensure the fire safety and well-being of your residents. Your staff must be trained to prevent or limit the risk of fire, recognise, and neutralise potential fire hazards and know how to respond to an emergency. You should pay attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people, and residents with mobility impairment and learning disabilities.
A Fire Safety Risk Assessment will help you to identify potential risks that can be removed or reduced and will identify any issues that need attention.
A Fire Safety Risk Assessment involves five steps:
- Identify the hazards. You will need to identify the potential ignition sources, sources of fuel and oxygen in your Care Home. This enables you to identify the exact hazards in your care home and determine which are most prominent.
- Identify People at Risk. You must assess the safety of each service user and their ability to evacuate in an emergency. Consider their individual vulnerabilities, such as physical or mental disabilities, vision or hearing problems, and difficulty with awareness and understanding.
- Evaluate, Remove, Reduce and Protect from Fire. You have to evaluate the risks from the identified hazards and decide whether the existing precautions are adequate and what you need. Once you know the exact location of hazards and whom they put at risk then you can decide what safety measures you need. For example, you might identify that some residents cannot evacuate quickly due to low mobility so you will need to assign a designated staff member or appropriate equipment to assist them in an emergency.
- Record your findings. Record the findings and detail the actions taken and inform all employees of these actions.
- Review and revise. Review the Fire Safety Risk Assessment at regular intervals or when a change occurs in the workplace or work activities.
The main challenge with most Care Homes is the inability of occupants to evacuate quickly. Some of the residents may have vulnerabilities that make it difficult for them to hear the alarm or activate it if they discover a fire.
BS 5839-1:2017 recommends L1 coverage throughout larger Care Homes. Many specifications for smaller homes will also specify L1 after an appropriate Fire Safety Risk Assessment. Also, nursing homes with more than 10 occupants should be protected by Addressable Systems and they should have an automatic connection to the fire brigade.
The principal benefit of an Addressable Fire Alarm System is the ability to identify the source of an alarm at the control panel.
Planned fire alarm maintenance and servicing should be carried out in accordance with BS5839-1: 2017 by competent fire alarm engineers with a minimum frequency of every 6 months.
BS 5839-1:2017 states that all Fire Alarm Systems need to be tested weekly to ensure that there has not been any major failure and that the fire alarm system is in working order. This British Standard requires that a nominated “Responsible Person” for the premises should ensure that a weekly test of the building’s fire alarm system is carried out under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Emergency lighting should also receive periodic tests: a short functional test every month and a test for the full rated duration annually.
The “Responsible Person” should ensure that the correct types of Fire Extinguishers are in place and are serviced annually. BS 5839-1:2017 recommends that Fire Extinguishers are tested by discharge every 5 years and refilled or replaced (water, foam, and powder) and CO2 should be replaced every 10 years.
Having suitable and sufficient evacuation procedures in your care home is vital as many residents might have difficulties evacuating on their own. All staff and residents must be aware of the importance of maintaining the safety of the escape routes, e.g., by ensuring that fire doors are not wedged open and that combustible materials are not stored within escape routes.
All fire routes and exits must be kept free from obstructions at all times. They should be constructed of fire-resistant materials, have ventilation, and accommodate mobility-impaired people. All Fire Doors must be closed when not in use.
Once the emergency plan has been developed and training is given, then the effectiveness must be evaluated. The best way to do this is to perform a fire drill which should be carried out at least annually.
All care homes should have designated fire wardens, who have received theoretical and practical training. Fire Safety Warden Training will raise awareness of how people may behave in a range of emergency evacuation situations and the necessary actions to be taken before, during and after an incident. The main aim of Fire Warden Training is to provide appointed Fire Wardens (sometimes called Fire Marshalls) with the knowledge to enable them to carry out their duties in a confident and competent manner.
Fire Safety Signs must be clear and emergency lighting must be functional. Fire Signs should primarily have pictorial information; the text is supplementary. They should also be well-lit and clearly visible.
Fire protection products and related services should be fit for their purpose and properly installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or a relevant standard. Third-party certification schemes for fire protection products and related services are an effective means of providing the fullest possible assurances, offering a level of quality, reliability, and safety that non-certificated products may lack.
For over 45 years, Fixfire® has been providing quality products, systems and services for Life & Property Protection. Whatever your requirement, please call our Compliance Team for expert advice and a refreshingly different approach.
Freephone: 08000 891 999
Following the recommendations of BS5839 Part 1 2017 (Fire Alarm British Standard), it is a mandatory requirement to have an up to date, clear and accurate Fire Alarm Zone Chart adjacent to your Fire Alarm Control Panel and any repeater panels you have in your premises.
The purpose of the Zone Chart is to assist persons responding to an alarm to quickly identify the specific location in the building and to help the Fire Brigade understand the building layout before they enter.
The Zone Chart shows the division of each zone area with a ‘You are Here’ arrow to identify the position of the Fire Alarm Panel. The view of the building should be orientated in relation to the Fire Alarm Panel position to minimise confusion.
What is involved in producing a Zone Chart?
- Hard copy
- Or preferably AutoCAD (dwg) format
You have a legal duty of care to dispose of waste legitimately and safely via a licensed waste carrier. Failure to do so can result in prosecution, even if you have outsourced the disposal to a third party.
The Fixfire® Extinguisher Recycling Process is your reassurance that any Fire Extinguishers we remove from your premises have been disposed of in a safe and legal manner. 97% of each processed Fire Extinguisher is recycled.
Our contracted Extinguisher Recycling Unit (ERU) is a dedicated facility offering a service for the safe processing and recycling/disposal of fire extinguishers. The facility operates closely with the local Water Authority and the Environment Agency to develop safe, efficient and environmentally friendly processes, ensuring that ISO14001 certification is upheld.
Freephone 08000 891999
False Fire Alarms remain a huge concern within the education sector- interrupting already carefully scheduled, planned and well-prepared lessons or even causing major disruption and distress to exams.
Clearly, these false alarms cause significant inconvenience and disruption to students, staff, and visitors. They compromise everyone’s safety in the school and present a significant risk to the local community since the Fire Brigade will prioritise the school over other emergency callouts.
Solutions you should consider:
The first and most straightforward way is to use anti-tamper products.
Fixfire® supplies a wide range of solutions designed to protect Fire Alarm Devices from inadvertent damage or deliberate misuse/vandalism.
- Local plastic cover flaps which attach directly to manual call points.
- The stopper consists of a clear, tamperproof, tough polycarbonate cover, frame and spacer that retrofits over a break glass call point. When lifted to operate the break glass unit, its optional battery powered integral sounder emits a piercing 96dB (at 1m). Immediate attention is drawn to the area and a prankster will either run or be caught!
- A range of steel web stoppers designed to protect fire detectors and warning devices. They are constructed from heavy-duty galvanised steel rod which is plastic-coated for durability and external use.
- A range of polycarbonate enclosures are available for the protection of devices such as fire alarm control panels and associated control equipment. The enclosures combine tough rugged construction with stylish design and offer excellent protection with a key lock for authorised access.
We also provide anti-tamper devices for fire extinguishers and associated products.
KeyCall® is a patented anti-ligature Fire Alarm and Access Control call point. It is designed to use the same key as the doors, providing simple operation for staff whilst eliminating nuisance activations by service-users.
KeyCall® has been developed by Fixfire® specifically for approved applications where standard versions would be vulnerable to abuse.
It is one of the best solutions for SEN schools and it is also compatible with a wide range of Conventional and Addressable Fire Alarm Systems.
Freephone 08000 891999