All UK care homes are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and thus are required to undertake regular and thorough fire risk assessments which include identifying those who are at risk and implementing measures that will eliminate the risk of fire.
However, care homes can and still are fined by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) if they’re found to be non-compliant with fire safety. Earlier this year, care homes, hospices and hospitals were reminded to conduct thorough safety checks to ensure the safety of the vulnerable people within these types of premises.
So, what are some simple ways to ensure care home owners can ensure their chances of being affected by a fire are minimised? We’ve rounded up some simple yet effective fire safety tips for care homes and healthcare establishments.
Flame Retardant Bedding and Textiles
Firstly, it’s important to have flame retardant products which work to minimise the chances of a fire spreading. For example, flame retardant bedding, curtains and soft furnishings. With our innovations in textile technology, we’ve been creating inherently flame retardant products for hundreds of years. Our products are stringently tested to both British and European safety standards and to comply with the British Standards BS 7175 Crib 5 to Crib 7.
For example, our Flame Retardant Polyester Satin Stripe duvet covers, from our specialist Whitakers collection, feature a unique and attractive satin stripe whilst the 100% polyester cover is crafted specifically to provide a comfortable and restful sleeping experience whilst offering an easy to launder and easy to care for durability. This premium bed linen set is perfect for busy care homes, retirement villages or healthcare establishments where minimal fuss and maximum comfort is required.
Meanwhile, Vision’s Flame Retardant Blanket with striking check design in a brown and beige check pattern. The blanket complies fully with British Standards of 5866 proving they’re suitable for use in the public sector with a specification explicitly for flammability performance.
Having a range of flame retardant textiles within a care home can ensure that those who are most vulnerable have ample time to get to safety which is of number one importance in a healthcare setting.
Fire Risk Assessments
Secondly, it’s imperative to ensure each healthcare venue has an up-to-date fire risk assessment which includes checking for obstructions in fire escapes, an evacuation plan and fire resistant doors that would prevent flames from breaching other parts of the building.
Equipment Should be Inspected Regularly
All equipment should be tested regularly within the care home; particularly in any laundry environments as these can be some of the area’s most susceptible to fire. All the laundries are typically located in basement areas of the home, it’s important to inspect, clean and maintain any machinery on a regular basis as well as the evaluating any electrical equipment including sockets and cables.
An evacuation plan should be comprehensive and must be clearly visible around the premises. The plan should include clear pathways to escape routes and should outline any emergency doors that can open quickly and with ease. Next, some time should be spent on considering escape routes for those with mobility issues and the amount of possible exits should allow everyone to leave safely.
The fire evacuation plan should be understood by all members of staff so they know the exact procedure and strategy of the building they’re in.
Seek Advice from a Fire Safety Officer
Consider seeking advice from a fire safety officer in terms of preparing an evacuation plan or speak to a local fire and rescue service who may be able to offer some practical tips to ensure everyone is removed from the building quickly in the event of a fire.
Although serious fires in care homes are extremely rare, it’s worth taking adequate precautions beforehand such as ensuring all textiles are crafted from a high quality, flame retardant material designed to slow down the spread of fire. Equally, sources of ignition should be removed where possible and good housekeeping should always be maintained.
Vision are proud to have long-standing relationships with some of the most renowned healthcare providers up and down the UK and our relationships go back hundreds of years. It’s through our expertise, our innovation and our dedication that we can transform the standard of safety, comfort and quality.