Fire safety is important in all sectors, but especially so in the Health and Social Care Sector where you may have a number of individuals with mobility issues who are unable to vacate the premises by themselves. Prevention is without doubt the best course of action, however unfortunately fires do sometimes occur no matter what precautions have been taken. Should the worst happen, here are a number of small steps which can be taken regularly, to help minimise the impact of any fires which do start on the premises.
- The first and most important step to take is to ensure your premises have an ‘appropriate fire risk assessment’. A fire risk assessment is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and will allow you to decide which steps to take next and the appropriate detection system needed.
- The next step to take is to ensure your premises have an ‘appropriate fire detection system’. As you are likely to have vulnerable occupants and multiple rooms, a fire alarm system is a requirement to ensure all occupants are alerted of a fire immediately. The alarm system should be tested weekly to help identify any issues and the system should be serviced regularly by a competent person. It is recommended that servicing should be completed at least every 6 months.
- Ensure regular checks are conducted on all equipment in place should a fire occur. These include, but are not limited to:
- Emergency lighting – check it is working correctly and will come on if required
- Escape routes – check daily that all escape routes are clear and regularly check the flooring is in good condition. Ensure fire exit signs are in the right places and pointing in the right direction. Regularly check fire escape doors open fully without sticking
- Fire doors – ensure fire doors are to the required standard and regularly check automatically closing fire doors are working correctly. Ensure fire doors are not being propped open as they are key to preventing fires spreading quickly
- Firefighting equipment – ensure equipment is stored correctly and in the right places. Keep records of expiry dates and make sure this is checked on a regular basis to identify any equipment which needs replacing.
- Ensure you have a complete and comprehensive fire action plan. This should be specific to your environment, premises and business. Do not use generic documentation as this will not cover all the specifics for your business.
- Ensure all staff receive adequate training specific to their job role and level of responsibility. Ensure everyone is clear on what their individual responsibilities will be in the case of fire as well as being aware of the overall fire action plan.
- Ensure risk assessments are regularly reviewed/completed by a competent person. That the fire risk assessment are specific to the business and the premises. Any identified risks should be recorded and mitigated where possible.
If you would like some assistance in implementing your preventative measures and fire action plan, please get in touch!