Care home fire procedures – good practice example

Many residential care homes carry out regular fire training for staff. This will probably include theory extinguisher sessions, evacuation theory, practical fire extinguisher training, tour of the building detailing protective and preventive measures, emergency evacuation manual handling and fire drills.The aim of such content is to provide an efficient procedure and that staff know exactly what to do when a fire alarm operates in their building.

A typical residential care home fire plan may look like this:

When the fire alarm sounds:

  • All care staff go to main fire panel
  • Other staff – turn off kitchen equipment / appliances and then report to the panel
  • A member of staff should be allocated to call the fire service
  • Manager / senior staff on duty to send  first pair of staff  to arrive at fire panel to the affected fire zone (investigation team) (they may take an emergency transfer sling or similar equipment / care home phone / radio)
  • Manager / senior staff to send additional staff in pairs when they arrive at the fire panel (these persons may take additional slings / wheelchairs in case they are needed for evacuation)
  • When all staff have arrived at the fire panel (optional – manager may silence alarm if this distresses residents / dementia service users) (All staff should be aware that this does not mean that the event is over)

If the fire alarm resounds this may mean that an incident has operated another smoke detector and staff should be extra vigilant

At the affected fire zone:

  • First staff (investigation team) to enter zone using the correct door procedure
  • Start checking rooms / area looking for incident / smoke detector that has operated (This will be a thorough check including on any en-suite rooms
  • Shut any door that may not have shut when alarm operated – ie bathroom doors / toilet doors etc
  • Member of the investigation team should direct other staff to rooms that have not yet been checked as they arrive at the affected zone
  • Staff to offer reassurance to residents in rooms that are not affected by fire
  • If a member of staff detects a fire / smoke / smell of smoke  in a residents room  or other area they must –“Call for help from colleagues” and move any person in that room / area immediately, provided it is safe to do so – Good communications is key!
  • If a fire is detected / smoke is seen / smell of smoke the investigation team should inform manager / senior by care home phone / intercom or runner
  • If the fire alarm has not resounded when a fire / smoke / smell of smoke has been discovered, the fire alarm call point should be located and the fire alarm raised again
  • Start the appropriate fire evacuation procedure – this may be delayed evacuation / progressive horizontal evacuation / full evacuation procedure depending on the stage of the incident
  • Utilise personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPS) where necessary – These may need to be distributed to arriving emergency services if the evacuation is not yet complete


  • Ensure visitors ( relatives of residents, visiting health workers, delivery persons etc) are evacuated to the assembly point outside of the building
  • Kitchen staff to turn off appliances and leave kitchen in safe condition
  • Domestic staff – turn off appliances and report to fire alarm panel

On arrival of the fire service:

  • Manager / senior staff to tell officer in charge of fire service what the incident involves and location
  • Take instructions from fire service officer on whether to change evacuation procedure (delayed / progressive horizontal / full)
  • Move residents affected by the incident to a safe area using wheelchairs, hoists, safety slings etc.
  • Using residents PEEPS consider relocation of persons if necessary (part of a post incident plan)
  • Account for all staff and residents

Night shifts:

  • The same fire procedure will apply – one person at the fire panel – two investigating / implementing the evacuation plan
  • Additional persons (if any) to assist evacuation
  • Ensure the fire service is called
  • If there is a fire, smoke or smell of smoke move any resident in immediate danger  provided it is safe to do so. Resound fire alarm if it is not already operating
  • Ensure all doors are shut

Additional note: Be aware that a fire alarm will probably open all secure doors in any “Dementia wing”. Some service users may try to wander from the area. Post incident head counts should be carried out after the incident.

For more details of this type of training call Fire Training London or Fire Training Course . Com and discuss how we can help your care home. Our care home fire training can be delivered in 2 or 3 hour formats.


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