Recently released figures show that fire safety inspectors across the UK are increasing their focus on care homes, where the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable could be at higher risk than ever from fire.
Although the fire regulations for care homes and residential homes are clear, hundreds of enforcement orders are still being issued each year. Enforcement orders are the final stage before prosecution, and are only issued where severe breaches of regulations have been found, and where previous advice has been ignored.
The most common types of problems include a lack of basic staff training, a lack of fire drills, faulty smoke alarms, damaged fire equipment and the blocking of exit and escape routes.
Independent care homes, however, are concerned over the rising costs of fire protection regulations. With many facing drastic cuts on local authority care funding, some are struggling to meet their obligations, and fear closure may be the only option. Since the smaller care homes arguably provide some of the best levels of social care, when compared to the bigger, more impersonal chains, this is a problem which is likely to increase. How are we to balance resident safety and legal fire obligations against ever tightening budgets?
We are independent and impartial experts on fire safety in care environments, contact us for free and impartial advice on fire safety in care homes and for fire risk assessment of homes and other premises.