The London Fire Brigade recently published the results of in depth inspections they carried out at 177 care homes across the capital. They state that serious fire safety failures were found in 57% of the homes.
The main areas of concern were with fire risk assessments, emergency plans and staffing levels, staff training and fire doors, protected corridors and staircases.
45% of care homes had fire risk assessments that were not considered to be sufficiently comprehensive. Particular issues were raised with roof voids not being considered and assessments not appreciating the need for a comprehensive survey of premises compartmentation and fire separation in homes using progressive horizontal evacuation strategies.
29% had issues with fire doors and 14% had problems with protected escape corridors. Typical issues included excessive gaps around doors, problems with self-closing devices, missing or damaged intumescent strips or smoke seals and warped doors that didn’t close properly into their frames. Other problems included holes in fire separation that had been created for pipework and other services and fire separation not continuing above false ceilings especially above fire doors and between corridors and other rooms.
Evidence of poor emergency planning or a potential lack of staff to implement the plan was found in 14% of the homes and evidence of inadequate training in 10% of the homes.
It is important that those responsible for fire safety in any premises ensure these are correctly managed, but it is even more important where vulnerable people are present.
Emergency plans will need to take full account of the residents’ particular needs, detail means of evacuating residents in a planned and managed way and identify responsibilities and minimum staffing levels required to carry out a safe evacuation.
You can find the full report on the London Fire Brigade website at: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/2019-news/february/fire-safety-failures-in-over-half-of-care-homes-audited-in-new-brigade-report/
Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact if you have any questions about fire safety in your premises.