The UK Care Home sector employs over 1 million people in over 45,000 establishments. Hotel building types vary enormously as does ownership method and layout.
A number of high profile Care Home fires have led to significant fines and prosecutions and changes in the way in which hotel fire safety is managed.
In 2014 there were 12 £100,000 plus Care Home fires causing over £6,000,000 worth of damage.
PEOPLE AT RISK
Care Homes by definition accommodate a wide variety of vulnerable people. From young children to the elderly and infirm, fire safety measures must cater for all people in a given environment. People with mental disabilities will behave very differently than those without such issues and they will require specific support in an emergency.
Residents asleep at the time of a fire will behave very differently to if they were fully alert. Disabled residents may require adjustments including Evacuation chairs and specialist staff training given.
Care Homes contain a broad variety of fabrics and finishes which must be correctly fire retardant. Cleaning materials must be correctly stored and laundry supplies require appropriate management.
Residents bring a host of items and can create hazards demanding a very high standard of detection and warning in common spaces and resident’s rooms.
UK Fire Training courses takes all of this into account.
- IGNITION SOURCES
Possible fire sources in Care Homes include smoking and cooking equipment. Catering facilities including ovens and fryers in kitchens create unique hazards. Reheating facilities and toasters also need to be carefully managed.
UK Fire Training discuss this issue and provide a routine check list to allow delegates to manage this situation.
UNIQUE EVACUATION ISSUES
Care Homes can be large and complex and often feature multiple levels and multiple building units on a single site. This must be taken into account in emergency planning and specifically in the creation of evacuation plans. Due to their use, escape concepts may include progressive horizontal evacuation and delayed evacuation. In addition, people with disabilities may need Evacuation Chairs and Ski sheets and other methods may need to be deployed for patients.
UK Fire Training courses take these issues into account.
RESIDENTIAL CARE FIRE EXAMPLES
Man, 78, dies of injuries from Dundee care home fire
An elderly man who was seriously injured in a fire at a Dundee care home has died, police have confirmed.
The 78-year-old was hurt in the blaze at Balhousie Clement Park Care Home in the early hours of Sunday morning.
He was treated by paramedics at the scene and taken to Ninewells Hospital, but later died from his injuries.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious, but a report into the sudden death will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.
Firefighters were called to the care home on Clement Park Place at about 01:20 on Sunday, where they extinguished a small fire in a first-floor bedroom.
A small number of other residents were moved from their rooms, although the building did not have to be evacuated.
Andy Etherington, interim chief executive at Balhousie Care Group, said: "It is with great sadness that we received this news today. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the resident's family and friends at this time.
"We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland to aid investigations into the exact cause of the fire.
"I would like to thank employees of Balhousie Clement Park Care Home for their efficient response which ensured the safety of all other residents. Support will continue to be made available to residents, relatives and employees, and all relatives have been contacted."
Croydon care home slapped with £70,000 fines
A Croydon care home has been hit with fines and costs totaling nearly £70,000 for putting its elderly residents at risk of fire following a successful prosecution by London Fire Brigade.
Morven Healthcare Ltd, which runs Morven House on Uplands Road in Kenley, admitted breaking fire safety laws and pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday 28 May 2014.
The Brigade’s fire safety inspecting officers visited Morven House after concerns were raised about the home by health and social care watchdog the Care Quality Commission.
When they visited the home in February last year, which at the time housed 17 residents, including elderly people with dementia and disabilities, the Brigade’s inspectors immediately found a number of major fire safety failings.
The most serious related to blocked fire escape routes on the ground floor which would have seriously hampered any attempt to evacuate residents safely in the event of a fire. The property was undergoing building work at the time and the front door of the home had been boarded up, while an alternative fire exit was entirely blocked with bricks and cement, leaving the only escape route through the lounge door at the back of the home.
Elsewhere, on the home’s second floor another fire exit – an external staircase – was completely inaccessible because of scaffolding and unsuitable for use by residents because it was so steep. Another external staircase on the first floor was also blocked by scaffolding.
Other fire safety failings discovered by the Brigade’s inspectors included the failure to keep an up to date fire risk assessment, the lack of any emergency plan in the event of a fire and an inadequate fire detection system.
In addition to fines totaling £45,000, Morven Healthcare Ltd were also ordered to pay full court costs of £23,488.