That was a question to our office this morning! So how often should care home staff have fire training?
Frequency of fire training should be provided according to the risk in a premises. For example; a small single storey building on a quiet road with just ten staff would require less frequent training that an office on the 60th floor of the Shard? Why? Well there are more chances of a fire in the Shard with hundreds of different tenants and escape routes or procedures will be more complex.
A residential care home should be considered high risk. Often with many immobile or confused service users, staff will need frequent fire training to ensure that any procedure is carried out efficiently and without delay.
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
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.
The company has also reported an increase in requests for fire risk assessments and fire safety advice in the County. It would appear that the fire service has a new approach to enforcing fire safety and this coupled with the new marketing initiatives has seen an increases in enquiries and bookings for the company.
The new website Fire Training Course .Com has contributed to other requests and bookings from other parts of the country. The site was launched three weeks ago but has already seen bookings in Kent, London and Cambridgeshire.
After only one week since launching Fire Training Course .Com has booked its first fire training course! Not bad for a brand new site that was submitted to Google 6 days ago.
The first booking was for a school fire safety course in London. A little search found the site on page 12 of Google by typing in Fire Training Course, but the client typed in a small specific search term and found the Fire safety for schools course.
The school fire training course covers a range of issues including fire awareness, fire extinguishers, non emergency duties of all staff and those responsible for implementing the fire evacuation plan, effective fire drills and may other issues. This course has been booked for London but is also available for schools in Manchester, Birmingham, Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire etc.
In addition, disabled fire training, fire evacuation chair training, fire risk assessment audit training and fire safety for managers training will also be available to organisations sourcing top quality fire safety training courses
Fire Training London as produced an article on delayed evacuation, progressive horizontal evacuation and full evacuation in residential care homes, nursing homes, sheltered homes, flats and similar premises.
It details the steps that a responsible person must take to ensure that fire management and procedures are maintained to ensure fire safety of service users and tenants.