Over the past 18 months, care homes have faced a huge challenge in terms of keeping their residents, staff and visitors safe from catching or spreading the coronavirus. And quite frankly they’ve done an amazing job.
However, with this priority in mind, it can be easy to let other safety issues slip through the net, including the maintenance and servicing of fire safety equipment. So, as restrictions are lifted and more and more people are being vaccinated, now is a good time to make sure that all of this equipment as well as fire safety signage is as it should be.
The team at Hartson Fire has come ups with these guidance notes to help care home owners make sure that they are complying with all safety regulations whilst ensuring all aspects of their home is fire safe at all times.
Firstly, you need to make sure to appoint a specific person among your staff as the responsible person when it comes to safety in any workplace, including in care homes.
According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), the ‘responsible person’ has a duty of care and undertakes all fire safety responsibilities. In a care home setting, the responsible person is usually the care home manager. It falls to them to take all reasonable fire safety precautions to protect employees and residents – this starts with a fire risk assessment to ascertain all fire hazards and risks in the building. The care home manager must be confident of robust procedures to ensure a fire doesn’t break out and, if it does, have in place well-communicated emergency plans so the fire can be controlled and occupants of the building led to a safe escape.
As in any workplace setting, every care home should make sure they have in place an up-to-date fire risk assessment. This is particularly important to keep elderly residents safe with the risk assessment taking into account the fact that many of these residents are frail, unwell and even wheel chair or bed bound. Once a risk assessment has been completed, then you should call in the services of a company such as Hartson Fire to check that all fire equipment is appropriate and fully serviced and that the correct fire safety signage is in place to meet these particular needs.
As part of this planning process, care home owners should also have in place a robust and effective evacuation strategy to ensure the efficient and safe escape of all residents.
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 requires that residential care premises must provide adequate and specific signs alerting to a risk of fire and highlight necessary action required. Staff, residents and visitors to the premises must be able to clearly identify escape routes, locate firefighting equipment and know where and how to raise the alarm.
Fire safety signs provide crucial guidance in times of emergency and should be included as a key part of the fire risk assessment. You will need to look at fire safety doors, signage for exits, assembly points etc. You can see our full range of products here which can be ordered online.
As with any premises, fire extinguishers are an important piece of fire safety equipment, and never more so in care homes where there are vulnerable residents plus a busy, commercial kitchen.
There are many types of fire extinguishers that are suitable for different classes of fire. So, it’s vital that your premises are equipped with the correct fire extinguishers in the correct place and that the registered managers within the care homes are fully trained to operate fire extinguishers. You can see our full range of extinguishers here.
As well as offering advice and guidance on fire safety signage, Hartson Fire’s engineers can also assist with the positioning of fire extinguishers, which types you will need (for example you will need a different extinguisher in a kitchen than in a corridor) as well as the signs and instructions you will need to accompany them.
To find out more or book a servicing at your care home, call a member of our team today on the number below: