Choosing a Fire Safety Company who enter and work in your premises is a personal thing. In an ideal world, we could choose a company who is local, professional, friendly, reliable, established, trustworthy, punctual familiar, competent, qualified, loyal, efficient and third party accredited.
Some Fire Companies deliver less than this, which often lead to frustration and dis-satisfaction.
At MCFP, we realise that Care Homes are unique in their living and working environments. We specialise in providing service and maintenance to Care Homes and value the sensitive environments that you work in.
In a recent inspection by the London Fire Brigade (LFB), emergency plans were found to be particularly lacking. In 24% of care homes, there was evidence of poor evacuation planning, inadequate staff training or a potential lack of staff to evacuate the home safely. In 43% of cases, LFB found failures with protected escape corridors and faulty fire doors.
Now Fire Safety Officers are working closely with Care Quality Commission and the Directors of Adult Social Services in each London borough to share information and to monitor standards during inspections
We all know how damaging a fire can be; from seeing the devastating effects of the Grenfell Tower incident, to witnessing centuries worth of history burning down with the Notre Dam. Failing to conduct adequate and efficient fire safety checks makes the possibility of a disaster striking very high. As technology enhances and we rely more and more on digitalisation, the risk levels of an outbreak of a fire are increasing.
Earlier this year, more than half of London-based care homes failed fire safety checks. A report by the London Fire Brigade showed that57% of the 177 care homes involved in the one-off investigation received a formal notice to address the fire safety issues raised. Main safety issues included poor emergency planning and/or inadequate members of staff to implement the plan, insufficiently protected escape corridors and problematic fire doors.
Other aggravating factors of fires within care homes include; wedged open fire doors, electrical equipment (mainly faulty appliances and leads) and medical oxygen which is stored to closely to items such as matches and lighters.
Fire safety regulations require care settings to have heavy and self-closing fire doors on resident’s bedrooms. Whilst being a vital component of your fire management strategy they can lead to residents feeling trapped and isolated, unable to leave their bedrooms unaided. Many residents like to have their bedroom doors open, enabling them to see people passing, giving them the opportunity to engage in conversation throughout the day. Not being able to leave the bedroom independently or engage in conversation can lead residents to feel lonely and can impact on their self-esteem and mental wellbeing. Being able to leave their doors open make all the difference to the independence of disabled or frail people and can aid in maintaining good mental health, which also has a positive impact on their general health, too.
Under the Equality Act 2010 reasonable measures must be undertaken in a setting to make it as inclusive as possible. This includes removing barriers that prevent people from accessing and using all parts of a building. This issue has led some care settings to resort to the illegal practice of wedging bedroom doors open, leaving residents vulnerable in case of fire and endangering lives.
The fire safety scheme address the challenge for knowing how safe a building is by providing the public with a fire safety star rating for a building, viewed both on line www.firesafetyscheme.ukand the window sticker which is placed at the entrance of a building, just look for the trade marked logo on the annually renewable window sticker!
The fire safety scheme provides an application tool designed to enable a consistent approach to fire risk assessments. Historically, assessors have used different tools, different methodologies, and when assessors have been benchmarked were found to possess a vast range of experiences, knowledge and skills. The result often leads to inconsistent findings, which are not commensurate to the degree of fire risk.
Government departments are pouring over technical data and preparing new directives, trade bodies are examining every aspect of potential market implications. No, this is not another missive on BREXIT, but the reality of the changing world concerning Fire Doors and related risk critical products. Change is in the air and everyone should be aware of the urgent need to specify truly compliant products that play a significant role in the process of safety.
Following the tragic events of the Grenfell disaster in 2017, a greater understanding began to emerge regarding the lack of a holistic approach to fire safety and the evident shortcomings of custom and practice, where the cheapest solution took precedence over properly certified and tested fire safe product solutions, such as fire doors and fire door assemblies.
We all await the inevitable changes to legislation and good practice, following the government’s review of risk critical building products such as fire doors and how this will shape both existing use and future product specification.
After all, the specification and use of fire doors is a very serious matter and as we all know can have far reaching consequences if wrong decisions are made. It is little wonder therefore, that care home specifiers are turning to Vicaima products to dispel anxiety and apprehension when it comes to certified and tested fire doors.
Vicaima products include a full scope of performance characteristics, namely: