Fire Risk Assessments – Residential Care Homes
Fire safety is only one of many safety issues with which management must concern themselves to minimise the risk of injury or death to staff, residents or visitors.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order applies in England and Wales. It covers ‘general fire precautions’ and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire in and around most ‘premises’.
The Order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances of the case. Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the ‘responsible person’.
In a workplace, this is the employer and any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control of the premises will be responsible. If there is more than one responsible person in any type of premises (e.g. a multi-occupied complex), all must take all reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other. If you are the responsible person you must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all ‘relevant persons’. It should pay particular attention to those at special risk, such as disabled people (mobility impairment or learning disability), those who you know have special needs and children, and must include consideration of any dangerous substance liable to be on the premises. Your fire risk assessment will help you identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the nature and extent of the general fire precautions you need to take.
If you or your organisation employ five or more people, your premises are licensed (including registered, e.g. with Commission for Social Care Inspection), or an alterations notice is in force, you must record the significant findings of the assessment. It is good practice to record your significant findings in any case.
The aims of a fire safety risk assessment are:
- To identify hazards and to reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as is reasonably practicable; and
- To determine what fire safety measures and management policies are necessary to ensure the safety of people in the building should fire occur.