Imagine for a moment that there was a fire in a care home. What happens in the next few moments could be the difference between an incident and a catastrophe. These are moments that, as a care home owner or manager, you are completely accountable for.
Would somebody know whether, and how, the fire could be safely contained? Would staff members know how to raise the alarm and evacuate the building quickly and safely? Do extinguishers work and are fire exits unlocked and unobstructed?
We are talking about crucial moments. No time to ask advice. No manual to guide you. People have to know what to do and be confident in how they should act.
What would happen?
The distressing reality is that in many care homes things would not go as smoothly as they could.
The London Fire Brigade made one-off inspections of 177 care homes. Over half of these (57%) were found wanting. The national picture is likely to be similar. There is a massive and avoidable risk to lives.
In the inspections, 45% of homes didn’t have adequate fire risk assessments, 29% had issues with fire doors, and over 10% provided inadequate staff training.
Given the potential consequences of loss of life, the financial and reputational damage, and maybe even corporate manslaughter charges, it’s hard to understand why all care homes aren’t completely on top of this issue.
Putting things right
The cost of compliance can be quantified and managed; the cost of non-compliance is virtually open-ended.
If you are less than 100% confident that your care team would know what to do if a fire broke out, if you’re not certain that all residents, staff and visitors can be evacuated safely and quickly, you need to act, now! It can be easy to ensure that all staff are properly trained, and that training is regularly refreshed.
Please don’t wait for a tragedy to find out that your fire safety measures are not good enough. Here at Redcrier, we offer a Fire Safety & Awareness course that will ensure all your staff are aware of how fires start, the fire hazards in their working environment and the impact fire can have on everyone involved.