William Eichler 05 February 2019

Fire safety failures revealed in care homes

Serious fire safety failures have been found in nearly 100 care homes across London, the capital’s fire brigade have said.

A one-off series of in-depth inspections by the London Fire Brigade revealed that one in three premises had inadequate or poorly maintained fire doors.

The inspection of 177 care homes also found there was ‘widespread confusion’ about fire evacuation strategies.

Fire risk assessments were being carried out by people without the proper skills or experience and these often omitted the roofs, the LFB discovered.

‘Over half the care homes we inspected had to make improvements to their fire safety arrangements despite them housing some of London’s most vulnerable residents,’ said the brigade's assistant commissioner Dan Daly.

‘My main concern is that this audit is only the tip of the iceberg.

‘Care home owners need to urgently review their fire risk assessments and ensure their staff know how to safely evacuate their residents, especially those who are immobile.

‘If you were placing your loved one into the care of others, you would expect them to be safe but for too many people, the very roof they are sleeping under could put them at risk.’

Debbie Ivanova, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) deputy chief inspector of adult social care for the London region, commented: ‘It’s the responsibility of those in charge of running care homes to ensure the right fire protection measures are in place in order to keep people safe.’

‘We know that good care home providers invest in proper and regular fire training for their staff, ensure that emergency plans are kept up-to-date and carry out frequent checks of premises and equipment,’ she continued.

‘But as the London Fire Brigade’s findings make clear, good fire safety isn’t the norm everywhere.

‘I encourage all care home providers to make full use of these findings so they can make continual improvements that will help keep everyone safe.’

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