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Fire Safety in Care Homes

29th December 2021

When it comes to fire safety in a care home environment many unique challenges can arise. Ensuring the residents are safe, enjoying their lives and the environment they are in is vital, which is why we have put together advice and key duties you should be considered in a care home environment. 

Fire risk assessment 

Fire safety is regulated by Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, this order starts with the all-important fire risk assessment. EVERY care home must ensure they have an up to date and detailed fire risk assessment available on site, not only this staff must be informed of key any information. The fire risk assessment is a summary of fire safety risks at the care home and the measures in place to prevent and cope in the event of a fire. 

A fire risk assessment does not have to be carried out by an expert and by law it can be carried out by a manager on site. However, having a professional like ourselves carry out the assessment will help highlight any risks that are unique to a care home environment. 

The London Fire Brigade reviewed 177 care homes and found that nearly half of these care homes did not have a sufficient fire risk assessment. Many of the assessments which have taken place did not identify dangerous roof voids. If roof voids are not appropriately compartmentalised fires can spread rapidly through roof voids meaning the evacuation plan could be dangerous. This is one of the many reasons we advise you to have a fire risk assessment carried out by a professional.  


Evacuating care home residents can be one of the most challenging areas of fire safety. The London Fire Brigade review showed that many care homes didn’t have sufficient evacuation plans in place or did not have staff fully trained on carrying this plan out. 

Many care homes are separated into safety compartments, based on the fire alarm zones. This means that most care homes do not necessarily have to evacuate all the residents at once. Although, all require to have a plan in place for evacuating those residents in the affected competent. Meaning there needs to be a set plan in place for evacuating the entire care home safely. 

This means it’s highly important that the care home has well trained and sufficient staff to archive an evacuation plan. The best way to ensure that your staff are trained and you have an effective evacuation plan that is sufficient is to carry evacuation drills. When carrying out these drills it is important to take note of the mobility needs of the residents and this is also when you can consider if you need extra staff, if the equipment you have available is sustainable and if there are too many residents with mobility issues living within the same compartment. 

Fire doors 

An issue that regularly creates problems for care home owners is fire doors. Ensuring that fire doors are kept sufficiently well-maintained to hold back fire and smoke for a time period long enough to evacuate the residents is vital. No matter how well-maintained your fire doors are, if they are propped open then they provide no protection. As a care home owner you need to ensure that all residents and staff know that fire doors need to be shut at all times. 

Fire safety priorities 

Care home providers have faced prosecutions in respect of: 

  • Poorly maintained fire alarms - Care homes should have a system that includes fire detectors in all rooms and bedrooms throughout the home. 
  • Poorly maintained emergency lighting 
  • Out of date fire extinguishers
  • Escape route being blocked

If you run a care home, ensuring that the fire safety within the building is sufficient is vital. If you need any support doing this the team at Fire Stoppers is here to help, do not hesitate to contact us today