In a recent inspection by the London Fire Brigade (LFB), emergency plans were found to be particularly lacking. In 24% of care homes, there was evidence of poor evacuation planning, inadequate staff training or a potential lack of staff to evacuate the home safely. In 43% of cases, LFB found failures with protected escape corridors and faulty fire doors.
Now Fire Safety Officers are working closely with Care Quality Commission and the Directors of Adult Social Services in each London borough to share information and to monitor standards during inspections.
Chris Callow, the LFB’s Head of Policy for Fire Safety Regulation, explained the reasoning behind the review, saying: “A number of fires in 2017/18 raised concerns that fire safety in care homes may need review. In 2017 sadly two people died at a Cheshunt care home, after a fire travelled through voids in the roof, which allowed it to quickly engulf the entire building. Crews from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue found residents in many rooms, many too frail too move themselves to safety. Miraculously, 33 residents were rescued.
“We’re calling for care home managers and Fire Risk Assessors to urgently review their fire safety protection and management arrangements to ensure the safety of residents and staff in case of fire.”
Further guidance is available from Fire Safety Risk Assessment – Residential Care Premises from www.gov.uk.