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  Fire safety guidance for care homes

When it comes to residential care homes, it’s really important that all staff know about the fire safety procedures. There must be the correct measures in place to prevent and protect against fire, and the necessary warning and plans in place should there be an incident. Here are some of the guidelines surrounding fire safety in care homes.


Employees must know how to assess fire risk in the care home and how to carry out a fire escape process. Appoint a ‘competent persons’, or a few depending on the size of premises, that will be the employee’s point of call in an emergency and will assist with making the process as smooth as possible.

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Fire alarms & systems

Do you have the correct system in place?

A well-constructed fire detection and warning system is essential. Depending on the size of your care home, different fire systems will be required. But fire detectors with door access control, and sounders, will be required everywhere. 

If there are only four residents in quite a small premises, then you may just be able to have interconnected smoke alarms or point detectors. Larger care homes may need a control panel warning system so you can quickly identify where the alarm is being raised as well as manually operated call points, or break-glass boxes.

It’s worth considering the residents in the care home and what kind of alarm will best suit them. Residents that are not very mobile may find extremely loud noise distressing so consider voice alarm systems. Deaf residents will benefit from strobing lights to alert them, and those that are visually impaired too may need vibrating pads so they know the alarm is sounding.

System maintenance
Ensure that you systems are maintained regularly

Fire warning systems should be tested weekly, and at the same time each week so employees and residents know it is a testing alarm.

Alarms should also be reviewed against the way the premises is used to regulate their effectivity and all safety equipment should be tested annually. Some equipment may need more regular maintenance such as a six monthly review depending on the system.

Escape routes and safety planning

Escape routes should be kept clear and staff should know how to access all of them. Some residents may require special attention to get to an escape route and point of safety. The typical procedure, in this instance, will be that escape routes go through to a place of reasonable safety first such as a stairway that residents can be taken to and then finally to a point of total safety out of the building.

There should be sufficient staff to take care of these special care residents, using specialist equipment such as ski sheets if necessary. The escape route should also be marked clearly with emergency lighting.

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