Carrying Out Fire Risk Assessments in Care Homes
Fire risks are everywhere, from the types of materials present, to the layout of a premises. There are many factors that influence the fire safety of a building.
Care homes have the added complication of having to shelter residents with a range of restricting issues such as immobility, memory problems, mental conditions, and sight and hearing loss – all of which could affect ease of evacuation.
Not only that, but care homes often contain items such as oxygen and medications, which could also contribute to fire risk.
Fire Risk Assessment in Care Homes
Due to the multitude of potential hazards in health and social care settings, the need for a thorough fire risk assessment is extremely important.
What is the importance of fire risk assessment in care homes?
- To protect the safety of staff and residents
- To reduce risk and prevent emergencies or dangers being realised, fire-related or otherwise.
- Fire safety risk assessments must be tailored to the individual residential care premises. Every building has its own character, layout and contents which will affect the fire risk assessment.
How to carry out a care home fire risk assessment
- Conduct a walk around your premises, identifying any initial hazards you can see. Next, decide the likelihood of the hazard causing harm i.e. the risk.
- Note physical risks, such as slippery floors, spills, and obstructions to evacuation.
- Note procedural risks, such as the efficiency of staff during fire drills, their knowledge and experience at dealing with fire emergencies, and the fire safety plans in place.
- Listen to staff and their opinions on fire safety, and get a sense of past accidents or incidents that could affect the fire risk assessment.
- Consider seasonal risks, such as Christmas lights or decorations.
- Law dictates that all care homes must have an up-to-date Fire Risk Assessment. This document comprises your fire safety plans and measures, and must be reviewed at least every 12 months.
- If any changes or new issues are identified, these should be taken into account by reviewing the Fire Risk Assessment for your premises.
- Realise that the services of a professional are important for producing a fire risk assessment that misses nothing – specialists such as Fire Action can provide the trained eye you require.
Health and Safety Responsibilities as a Care Worker
Residents are not the only concern. Anybody who works as a paid employee has health and safety responsibilities, in addition to the employer.
Your health and safety responsibilities as a care worker include:
- Co-operate with your employer and colleagues
- Follow training you have received and attend any refresher courses
- Be vigilant of hazards and risks, and changes to hazards and risks
- If you have any health and safety concerns, talk to a manager or supervisor
- Look after your health and safety, and be aware of its effect on the residents you care for
Read the next Part: What Are the Fire Safety Regulations in Care Homes?
For a comprehensive fire risk assessment for your care home, look no further than Fire Action. As BAFE-accredited specialists, we understand all the ins and outs of fire safety, and have been protecting premises across the South East region for 16 years.
Our fire risk assessments are carried out in the approved PAS 79:2012 format, and are in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Get in touch today to discover more about booking a fire risk assessment with us.