Fire Safety in Care Homes: Fire Hazards in Care Homes

Posted in Care Home Fire Safety Guide on 6 June 2017

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When it comes to fire safety in care homes and guarding the lives of vulnerable adults or elderly people, vigilance of fire safety hazards in care homes is vital for the protection of these citizens who need it most.

Fire Safety in Care Homes

In this article, we will be exploring examples of fire hazards in care homes, and overviewing the importance of fire safety training for identifying and managing hazards.

7 Examples of Hazards in Care Homes

Potential hazards in health and social care settings depend on the individual establishment and how it operates. However there are a few common issues that have become apparent; here is a list of examples of hazards in care homes that should be considered for action.

1. Medical Oxygen

If any of the residents rely on medical oxygen, staff should be aware of the additional fire risks. Matches, cigarettes and lighters should be kept away from rooms with medical oxygen sources and oxygen cylinders should be kept away from sources of heat and contamination.

2. Obstructions

When evacuating a care home, obstructions to walkways will hinder the smooth egress of the building, especially for people who are unsteady on their feet. Trip hazards such as rugs and misplaced ornaments/plants can pose a risk if they are in the evacuation path.

3. Inadequate Safety Alert Systems

A staple feature of care homes is an alert system, allowing residents to call a nurse to attend to them. These systems should be fully operational, not only for medical reasons, but they will prove invaluable in the case of a fire emergency for alerting staff.

4. Kitchens

Social care homes cater for large numbers of people every day, and therefore kitchen equipment is operational for hours on end. Electrical equipment, sockets and oils can all present fire risks.

5. Offices

Paperwork buildup in a social care home office can become a combustible hazard, and storing too much flammable office waste should be avoided if possible.

6. Wedged Open Fire Doors

The purpose of fire doors is to prevent the spread of fire, and all too often these doors are left propped open, compromising their effectiveness.

7. Poor Fire Evacuation Procedures

An unclear or inadequate evacuation procedure, along with ill-prepared staff, will be the number one threat to the safety of residents in the event of a fire.

List of Hazardous Substances in a Care Home

According to COSHH (The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002), hazardous substances are classified in a few different ways; toxic, very toxic, corrosive, harmful, irritant.

Numerous dangerous substances can be found in care homes, threatening health and safety, and sometimes even contributing to the outbreak of fire. Learn to recognise the most common ones with the following list of hazardous substances in care homes:

List of Hazardous Substances in a Care Homes:

  • Chemical waste
  • Oils and grease
  • Cleaning products
  • Biological agents
  • Medicines
  • Solvents

Fire Safety Training in Care Homes

Training is essential for helping staff identify hazards and for teaching them how to carry out a fire evacuation plan with efficiency.

General Fire Safety Training

General Fire Safety Training is offered by companies such as Fire Action, and is aimed at providing informative and affordable courses to arm staff with the basic knowledge needed to approach fire situations with competence and vigilance.

The courses should include both theoretical and practical elements, and should incorporate parts of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Prevention, as well as cure, should be focussed on.

Fire Wardens

Fire Wardens are key representatives in fire situations, and reliable members of staff should be nominated for the role. At least two fire wardens should be nominated for a care home, with more required for bigger premises.

Fire Warden Training can be delivered by Fire Action, and is aimed at members of staff whose role will be especially important during a fire situation, such as senior staff and elected wardens.

Remember, Be Vigilant

Keep a close eye to any potential hazards in the workplace and ensure your staff are prepared to deal with any issues when they arise.

In our upcoming articles, we’ll be exploring fire safety for care homes in more detail, covering such topics such as regulations, risk assessments and evacuation procedures.

Read the next Part: Fire Safety in Care Homes FAQs

For comprehensive and thorough Fire Safety Training, the specialist team at Fire Action can deliver fire safety in care homes. Along with this essential training, we can also provide a vast range of fire safety equipment, such as extinguishers and alarm systems.

Our BAFE-accredited team can offer safety solutions that are perfect for you and your care home in Kent. For a free survey or quotation, get in touch with our advisers today.

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