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What Fire Regulations Apply To Care Homes In The UK?

All public buildings must comply with stringent fire safety regulations. In care homes, where many residents may have mobility or cognitive impairments, it’s vital that comprehensive and effective measures are implemented to minimise the risks of a fire and ensure that rapid evacuation can take place should the worst-case scenario occur.

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The penalties for non-compliance with fire regulations are severe. In 2022, a care home provider was fined over £1m for fire safety failings after the death of an elderly resident – the largest fine ever handed out for fire safety breaches in the UK. Care homes must be properly equipped with fire alarms, firefighting equipment, and fire safety signage, and there must be comprehensive plans in place to ensure residents can be moved to a place of safety should a blaze break out.

In this article, we outline the two main fire safety regulations in care homes of which providers should be aware.

Care Home Regulations Act 

The Care Home Regulations Act (2001) establishes the fire safety regulations with which care homes must comply and details how fire safety and complaints should be managed. Under this legislation, care home owners and managers have several important responsibilities, including:

  • Consulting a fire authority for advice about effective fire safety in the care home.

  • Taking all necessary steps to minimise the risk of fire.

  • Implementing policies to facilitate the rapid detection, containment, and (where appropriate) extinguishment of fires.

  • Ensuring that appropriate equipment and signage is installed and maintained in the premises.

  • Training care home staff and appoint competent fire wardens.

  • Organising regular fire drills for evacuation purposes and record the outcomes of these.

  • Maintaining an up-to-date fire safety log, detailing all training and evacuation procedures and incidents that occur in the home. 

The Fire Safety Act 

As high-risk properties, care homes are also subject to the Fire Safety Act (2021) which replaced the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005) in May 2022. This new law introduced several important additional requirements for the nominated Responsible Person, including:

  • Improving the identification of fire risks in buildings and communicating these to stakeholders who need to know them.

  • Ensuring that residents are informed about evacuation procedures in a format that they will understand.

  • Providing electronic information about the building’s layout and construction to Fire and Rescue Services, with an up-to-date risk assessment, to support their operational procedures.

Local fire authorities have a legal right to inspect care homes to ensure that they comply with legal regulations. A care home found to be in breach of the regulations may be fined, registration to operate as a care home may be suspended, and staff who are deemed accountable could even be imprisoned.

Contact Rhino Fire Control For More Information

At Rhino Fire Control, we can supply and install all the fire safety signage your care home needs to comply with regulations and ensure staff and residents can evacuate the building in the shortest possible time.

To find out more, please call us today on 01278 422705 or send our team a message.

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