Residential care homes

If you are responsible for accommodation for older or vulnerable people, follow our advice to protect them from fire.

Why does fire safety matter? 

If you don’t take care and put the correct fire safety steps in place in your residential care home, you could be putting vulnerable people’s lives at risk. 

Making fire safety a priority is the right thing to do. You are a professional carer and it’s important to take proper care of the people you support. 

It is the law, covered by the Fire Safety Order (2005) and the Care Act, regulated by the Care Quality Commission. If the residential care home does not meet these legal obligations, you could face a prison sentence or unlimited fine. 

Encourage smokers to quit, or switch to e-cigarettes.

If smoking is allowed, put strict control measures in place – for example, cigarettes might be looked after by staff, so residents can only smoke with supervision, or fire retardant bedding or aprons could be provided to ensure dropped cigarettes do not ignite clothes or bedding.  

To keep your people safe – and yourself within the law – make sure you have a Fire Risk Assessments. This could include ensuring fire drills and training take place regularly and that fire detection and suppression systems are installed and maintained. 

Consider every resident’s needs. Learn about the risks of specialist healthcare equipment and emollient creams – and how to use these safely. 

Visit our Fire Risk Assessment page for more information.

An effective emergency plan will help your people know what to do if there is a fire. In residential care homes, escape planning is particularly important to keep residents, visitors and staff safe. Do you know how you would safely and quickly evacuate every person your team cares for? 

It is your responsibility to keep people safe if there is a fire. 

By law, you are required to make a fire emergency plan, to keep your people and residents safe in the event of a fire. 

Make an emergency plan and update it regularly. You may add a reminder in your diary to check it every six weeks. 

Visit our Emergency Planning page for more information and advice. 

Fire doors stop the spread of heat and smoke in the event of a fire. They ensure that people can evacuate safely, without smoke logging or high temperatures on escape routes.  

You must: 

  1. Ensure all front doors and doors on corridors and staircases are ‘self closing’ fire doors. 
  1. Check that fire doors are not wedged open. 
  1. Regularly check door closing devices haven’t been tampered with or become defective. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for our expert advice on fire safety topics. The Business Safety Team are here to help you to care for your residents safely. 

Contact the Business Fire Safety Team
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