Making sure your Care Home/Nursing Home is safe from fire

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic means that care home managers have many priorities in managing the infection control and care staffing challenges.

The National Fire Chiefs Council recognise that the scale of these challenges may mean that the focus on fire safety measures may be lower on the list of priorities than they should be. They are keen to remind managers about the critical importance of staffing levels, emergency plans, and fire safety management arrangements in Care/Nursing Homes.

Providers are encouraged to review their fire risk assessments and management arrangements to ensure these are considered. It may be valuable to engage with their Fire Risk Assessors or Local Fire and Rescue Service to gather further advice if they are concerned about fire safety arrangements, staffing levels or emergency plans.

Particular consideration should be given to:

  • A review of emergency evacuation procedures, including an assessment of staff to patient ratios and their capacity to evacuate residents from a fire compartment quickly in an emergency. This may be particularly critical during periods of staffing shortages or rapid turnover in staff as progressive horizontal evacuation arrangements, which are often in place in residential ASC services, need to be supported by appropriate levels of trained staff. If your staffing levels are seriously affected, you will need to review your risk assessment and emergency plan.
  • Regular fire drill and fire safety training to take account of increased staff turnover.
  • Regular checking of fire doors to ensure effective operation of any self-closers or hold open devices, and that they are maintained closed when appropriate.
  • Regular testing and maintenance of fire safety devices, such as fire detection and alarms, emergency lighting, smoke control, and sprinklers systems etc.