The UK’s care homes have been urged to pay special attention to their fire risk assessments following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – which regulates the care industry in England – has recommended that all residential care homes double check their fire safety systems, policies and procedures.
The CQC also sent the letter to hospices and independent hospitals.
Within it, CQC’s chief executive David Behan urged all residential facilities to take robust measures. He also said: “Review your fire safety processes in your registered premises to ensure they are up to date and are being applied consistently in practice. In particular, I ask you to pay attention to the size and fabric of your registered premises.”
The need to commission professional fire risk assessments in buildings housing vulnerable residents became tragically clear with Grenfell Tower. However, the issue was thrown even more into the spotlight when by the end of June, 95 buildings in 32 different local authorities failed fire safety tests.
The tests carried out included sending samples of cladding to be checked.
However, combustible cladding is not the only area of renewed concern in commercial premises. There is an increased emphasis on having fully functional sprinkler systems and fire alarms, as well the correct number of fire extinguishers. Plus, clear points of access for fire crews and well planned and rehearsed evacuation procedures.
Clearly all of this becomes particularly crucial in sheltered housing, care homes and other residential premises where vulnerable and infirm people reside.
Mobility issues or learning disabilities can hamper the ability of residents to evacuate buildings promptly. This makes certain fire risk assessment measures even more vital; including making sure that fire exits are not blocked, fire doors are not wedged open and escape routes are clear.
It also involves checking on a daily basis that staff are fully trained. They must be aware of their responsibilities and roles if a fire does occur to underpin good practice in fire safety.
Contrast Surveys work with landlords and other business owners to carry out thorough fire risk assessments. These are designed to not only meet legislative requirements and the demands of insurance companies, but to exceed them also.
Contrast Surveys ensures that all fire risk assessments are carried out with diligence and insight into the special needs and circumstances of each and every facility.