Care Home Fire Safety Seminar Raises New Issues

Care Home Fire Safety Seminar Raises New Issues

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) reported a full house once again for the latest in its series of seminars for the care home sector organised in conjunction with the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA).

The seminar was presented at the premises of the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue service and, like its predecessors staged in other regions of the UK, is part of the fire industry’s commitment to raising awareness and educating proprietors and managers of care homes in their fire safety responsibilities.

The care and nursing home sector has been identified by the FIA as a particular focus. A wide range of speakers from the fire service, the FIA and BAFSA addressed many issues throughout the day, from the responsible person’s legal obligations under the Fire Safety Order to the importance of robust risk assessments and the safe use of extinguishers by care home staff.

Graham Ellicott, Chief Executive Officer of the FIA, comments: “We know that there are undoubtedly issues that need to be addressed with regard to the Fire Safety Order and the care sector - these seminars offer the ideal opportunity to address such issues. Whenever we stage a seminar there are new queries that arise which helps us to better understand what those working within the care environment are facing. In South Yorkshire a very interesting topic that came up for discussion was how fire safety legislation applies to a house in multi-occupation (HMO) such as a block of flats. People may well buy a retirement flat when they are fit and healthy but, with the vagaries of the ageing process, then require care and assistance at some point from the local authority. While the Fire Safety Order does not apply to the individual’s own flat, it may well impact if the said support service deems that flat to be particularly at risk from fire. There is also the added complication of the building’s public areas – be it a laundry, a gym, a stairwell – all of which are subject to the requirements of the Order.

Designers of such properties need to be aware of how their buildings are likely to be used, taking into account at the design stage not only the fire safety implications but also such factors as disabled access and the requirements under the Disabilities Discrimination Act.”

The next in the series of FIA/BAFSA care home seminars is scheduled for 9 September, with a suitable venue in the south of England currently being identified.

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