According to the London Fire Brigade, almost half (45 per cent) of residential accommodation fires are started by cooking and cookers. A further 15 per cent are caused by kitchen appliances, and 12 per cent are smoking related.
As well as improving personal safety, it’s the law to have fire prevention measures in place. It’s covered by the Fire Safety Order and the Care Act, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. If you don’t meet these legal obligations, you can go to prison and face an unlimited fine.
Further tips include the following:
- Encourage smokers to quit or switch to e-cigarettes (vapes) – find extra advice on our caring for smokers page.
- Don’t support smoking in bedrooms.
- If smoking is allowed, put strict control measures into place – for example, cigarettes might be looked after by staff members, so residents can only smoke with supervision.
- Make an emergency plan and update it regularly – add a diary reminder to check it at least once every 6 weeks.
- Make sure that fire safety training and fire drills to be carried out regularly.
- Install and maintain appropriate fire detection and suppression systems (sprinklers).
- Learn the about the risks of specialist healthcare equipment and emollient creams – and how to use these vital aids more safely.
- Consider every resident’s needs, and undertake a personal risk assessment.
- If smoking is allowed, put strict control measures into place – for example, cigarettes might be looked after by staff members, so residents can only smoke with supervision, or fire retardant aprons could be provided to ensure dropped cigarettes do not ignite clothes
- Install and maintain appropriate fire detection and suppression systems (sprinklers) – and provide a zoned chart by the alarm so that staff and firefighters can easily see which alarm has activated
- Don’t be afraid to ask for expert advice on fire safety topics – we’re here to help you care for your residents safely.
Further resources are available from LFB, including a Fire safety risk assessment: residential care premises.