The vulnerability of care homes to fire outbreak has been well documented in the press and if you’re the ‘responsible person’ at your care home you’ll be all too aware of your legal responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The sad fact is during 2013 a huge 36% of deaths due to fire occurring in properties coming under the 2005 Act’s remit happened in care homes. 11% of the total number of fires in such buildings occurred in care homes as did 22% of non-fatal injuries due to fires.
1,926 fires caused in care homes during 2013.
Above ONS data shows out of the 14 deaths occurring in places of work, community living and educational facilities, 5 occurred in care homes.
As above, from a total of 899 non-fatal accidents occurring in care homes, schools, colleges, places of work and universities, 201 of such cases occurred in care homes.
Clearly care homes come with an inherent vulnerability to fire and the need for a fully serviced and working alarm system could never be more apparent. This has been reflected in British Standards BSS839-1 which applies enhanced regulations for care homes with over 10 residents. This legal framework is to take into account the complex undertaking involved when evacuating frail and often ill residents, a situation which is often more taxing during twilight hours when staff levels are low.
Enhanced safety rules for care homes
Under this British Standard for instance “care home facilities should be provided for automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving centre”. The law makes it unambiguous that alarm systems in care homes must report the incident of fire to the appropriate fire service. Whilst most modern alarm systems in any event meet this requirement as standard, the law will not necessarily punish non-care homes and hospitals if this feature is not maintained. Neglecting to meet the standard could mean your care home’s ‘Responsible Person’ may well end up being criminally prosecuted with a likely jail term or fine. Our engineers come with up-to-date knowledge of popular systems such as BT Redcare, ensuring your duty to provide your residents with such monitoring is complied with.
A care home’s fire alarm system also must inform the fire service and care home staff where exactly in the building the fire is taking place. You must have installed a working ‘addressee system’ whereby data as to which fire sensor has been triggered is fed back to the alarm system’s central monitoring station and your local fire service.
Care homes have a ‘poor reputation’ when it comes to fire
If you are the Responsible Person for one of the United Kingdom’s many care homes you simply cannot afford to scrimp on your responsibility under the 2005 Act to maintain your alarm to a serviced and fully working condition. Clearly the law is holding you and your care home to a higher standard of diligence compared to other properties under the 2005 Act. Given the risk which fire poses to your facilities it is hard to disagree with the stance adopted under the Law.
The unfortunate truth is that care homes up and down the country have given the industry a poor reputation when it comes to fire safety, a reputation that has been covered widely in the press and through organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society. Government fire inspectors are all too aware of the poor standards shown in such buildings and are thus ever vigilant when it comes to ensuring care homes are up to par when it comes to fire safety. This poor record has manifested itself in areas such as faulty fire alarms, broken smoke alarms and untrained staff . The financial crisis which has struck the UK since 2008 has not helped the situation.
We’re here to help!
North West Fire Solutions maintains a solid working relationship within the care industry and our engineers have gained thousands of hours of experience working with care homes both small and large. Many of our clients originally approached us as their care home had existing breaches in fire safety legislation and in some cases clients have come to our doors having been served with an ‘enforcement notice’. Our engineers have had a 100% success rate in turning around the misfortunes of such homes, some of whom were crying out for fire safety improvements. Ensure your care home does not get tarnished with this unacceptable reputation by calling our team today on 0151 665 0124.
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Our engineers are available for scheduled and emergency call out covering Liverpool, Manchester, Greater Lancashire, Wirral, Ellesmere Port, Chester, North Wales and all around Cheshire. Call our team today on 0151 665 0124 to book a free survey.