Do My Staff Need Fire Safety Training?
It is particularly important to ensure that staff who have responsibilities in the event of a fire are suitable trained on the actions to be adopted. This is a specific requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which states that property owners, or those who are in control of non-domestic premises must ensure that their staff are adequately training in fire safety; the fire safety training provided is better known as either Fire Warden, or Fire Marshall Training.
The extent of the training provided to your staff will depend on the level of risk associated with the premises and the types and numbers of people occupying them.
Fire Safety Training For Care Home Staff – Why Is It Important?
The most high-risk premises are those where people sleep. If you then include older or vulnerable people, such as in a Care Home, who may have mobility issues, hearing or sight impairment, mental health problems etc., then the risk becomes very high, as it often becomes more difficult and complex to evacuate, compared to premises where people can self-evacuate.
The evacuation aim for Care Homes is to ensure that all Residents can be evacuated from the fire source room to a place of relative safety within 2 ½ minutes of the alarm being raised. The first action will always to be to try and evacuate the fire source room, then the affected compartment, gradually moving the Residents further away from the fire and smoke. Then if necessary, evacuating to an external area; this process is known as progressive evacuation.
Progressive evacuation is unique to Care Homes, it is imperative that Staff are trained on these principles and that they remain in the building to assist with an evacuation, rather than leave the building, as would be the case for most building types.
All staff should receive Fire Warden Training as they will in some capacity, assist in the evacuation of residents in the event of a fire. It is imperative that Staff members who work nightshifts also receive fire training, they can often be overlooked, but it’s particularly important because staffing levels tend to be at their lowest at night.
How Often Should Fire Safety Training Be Provided?
The training of staff can be split into 2 essential elements: –
i) Fire Safety Drills/Simulated Evacuation
ii) Fire Warden Training
Fire Safety Drills/Simulated Evacuation
It is important for staff to be familiar with the Fire Evacuation Strategy for the Home. A well written strategy is of no value if it isn’t effectively communicated to staff and fire drills are not regularly carried out; a lack of practice leads to staff being unfamiliarity with the strategy and being unprepared.
The number of Fire Drills for each building should reflect the level of risk, but should be at least twice a year and should involve all staff at least once a year (including nightshift staff).
It is equally as important that once the evacuation strategy has been tested, that it is reviewed and updated as necessary to reflect any lessons learnt.
Fire Warden Training
Care Home specific Fire Warden Training should form part of a staff members induction training, with further refresher training every 6 months, as recommended by London Fire Brigade.
What Does A Fire Warden Training Course Cover?
The following agenda is a good example of what should be included within a Care Home Specific Fire Warden Training session: –
- A brief overview of roles and responsibilities
- Fire statistics
- How fires can start
- Video showing fire growth and development in a typical bedroom scenario
- Specific Care Sector risks – ignition sources and combustibles with escape routes
- What to do in the event of a fire
- Summoning the Fire and Rescue Service
- Principles for evacuation
- Fire extinguisher types and usage
- When to use a fire extinguisher and when not to
- Video showing fire extinguisher types and usage
- Consideration of the Home’s fire alarm panel and how to identify the location of the fire
- Identifying a simulated fire room/compartment and then identifying escape routes to a safer part of the building
- A practical demonstration of fire blanket, water and CO2 fire extinguisher use.
- Practical demonstration in the use of Evacuation Matts
Marpal are a Health and Safety Consultancy who predominantly operate in the Care Sector. If you require a Fire Evacuation Strategy or need Fire Warden Training, then please call us today on 01332 668877 or email us at [email protected].