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Fire costs money. The costs of a serious fire can be high and afterwards many businesses do not reopen. In 2004, the costs as a consequence of fire, including property damage, human casualties and lost business, were estimated at £2.5 billion.

 

Fire risk assessments for care homes is a trap for the unwary, given that there is probably no higher risk premises than medium sized care homes at night. There are many reasons for this but one major factor in this is that many, most or all of the residents would require carer assistance to be safe in the event of a fire (i.e. where residents would not be able to make their way to a place of safety unaided).

A typical error that unskilled assessors seem to make is not properly evaluating those premises with very large numbers of residents (e.g. greater than 60), or with complicated layouts (e.g. a network of escape routes, or split levels), or those of greater than four storeys, or which form part of a multi-occupied complex. All these types of properties would require being assessed by a competent person who has comprehensive training or experience in fire risk assessment.

 

FSC1 are proud to have delivered high quality fire risk assessments to the following type of care facilities:

  • residential and nursing homes
  • rehabilitation premises providing residential treatment and care for addiction
  • care homes and care homes with nursing (as defined by the Care Standards Act 2000)

 

Fire Risk Assessments for Care Homes

A fire risk assessment will help you determine the chances of a fire starting and the dangers from fire that your premises present for the people who use them and any person in the immediate vicinity.

 

 

Has your last Fire Risk Assessment incorporated the following;

The need to reduce the remaining fire risk to people to as low as reasonably practicable? Does your existing report detail this by ensuring that adequate fire precautions are in place to warn people in the event of a fire and allow them to safely escape?

FSC1 fire consultants have much experience delivering risk assessments within more complex premises, particularly those that accommodate a large number of residents over a number of floors. This being the case, our fire consultants will know when it is possible that a more sophisticated form of evacuation, e.g. phased evacuation, should be used. We will know that in these cases, it will be necessary for the fire detection and warning systems to automatically trigger the action that people need to take (in accordance with the pre-determined fire procedure) e.g. by a two stage audible warning or voice alarm system.

 

Our assessment process will consider how residents, in particular non-ambulant residents, would or should respond to an alarm. This being another ‘grey’ area that has been seen when we have reviewed other people’s reports. Once this stage has been completed our fire consultants will then assess how quickly people can evacuate, depending on their level of reliance on staff. The following various dependencies will be evaluated:

 

  • Independent: the mobility of residents is not impaired in any way and they are able to physically leave the premises without the assistance of staff or, if they experience some mobility impairment, they are able to leave with minimal assistance from another person.
  • Dependent: all residents except those defined as independent or very high dependency. This category also includes those with mental health problems regardless of their independent mobility.
  • Very high dependency: those residents whose care and / or condition creates a high dependency on staff and where immediate evacuation would prove potentially life threatening.


 

And then we would take a look at the Evacuation strategy. It is often overlooked but in residential care premises, the typical evacuation strategies are likely to involve one or more of the following arrangements:

  • Single stage evacuation
  • Progressive horizontal evacuation
  • Delayed evacuation

 

 

Rosepark care home fire deaths avoidable says inquiry report

 

Some or all of the 14 deaths in the Rosepark care home fire in 2004 might have been avoided if a proper risk assessment had been carried out and the findings acted on.

 

The fire itself was caused by an earth fault at the back of an electrical distribution box in a storage cupboard. But the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) determination by Sheriff Principal Brian Lockhart lists a catalogue of precautions that, if taken, might have avoided the deaths.

 

Central to these was the lack of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. The document purporting to be a risk assessment “critically failed to identify the residents of the home as persons at risk in the event of fire; it paid limited attention to the means of escape, the protection of the means of escape and the arrangements for evacuation,”

 

 

 

 

Contact a member of our Fire Safety Team now for your free quotation.