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15th March 2022

Fire Safety FAQs

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1. Do Homecare companies need to do personal evacuation plans for each client within their own home when we just visit for an hour once a day. Is that just for a Care Home ?

No - A PEEP is required only to be completed by the care provider where they are the responsible person or service operator in a non-domestic premises.

2. If one’s premises is small, 5 rooms on ground level in a new building does this need an alternative escape route?

This would need to be determined based on premises’ Fire Risk Assessment. The factors used to determine number and location of escape routes include occupancy numbers and type of occupant as well as travel distances in combination with the overall risk profile of the premises. A competent Fire Risk Assessor would need to visit the premises to determine suitability of your existing arrangements.

3. If we have an office that is serviced/rented and landlord has all fire safety responsibilities in place for the building, do we have to have copies of the overall Fire Risk Assessment, servicing/maintenence confirmation re. lights, equipment etc.?

Yes - In order to do everything reasonable to ensure the health and safety of your employed occupants or visitors you should ensure that the responsible person is fulfilling their duties. Responsibilities for Fire Safety management should be detailed in your tenancy agreement/contract.

4. Supported living is a person’s home, do we need to have signs and notices up?

Not within the individual domestic dwellings but if there are communal areas - stairways, corridors and porches - the responsible person must ensure that signs and notices are displayed and other fire safety arrangements are made in those areas.

5. Is it better to tick boxes to the left or right? Or is an X sufficient?

As long as the checklist or document is clearly indicated as complete - it really does not matter!

6. Are Fire Wardens/Marshals seen as Responsible Person(s)? Or just to assist with evacuations/drills?

They have responsibilities, where assigned, for fire safety management such as evacuation coordination and inspections for example. They must be trained to fulfill these duties. They are not Responsible Persons as defined by the RRFSO 2005.

7. How often are you legally required to do fire drills in a year?

Fire Risk Assessments should identify the minimum frequency, the legal requirement is to carry out suitable drills at sufficient frequency to ensure that training on fire safety and evacuation has been effective. The frequency of drills should take into account staff turnover, shift coverage as well as regular occupancy and visitors. The guidance for care sector premises states a minimum of an annual fire drill is required but this is unlikely to be adequate for many organisations.

8. House split and used by two separate business. How can Fire Safety Regulations synchronise?

The responsible person for each business will have the fire safety responsibility in their area of the premises. They have a legal duty under RRFSO article 22 to cooperate and coordinate with the other responsible person in the same premises. This may include sharing Fire Risk Assessments, coordinating drills and communicating clearly on issues, changes or any other matter whcih may affect fire safety in either business.

9. What would you suggest if residents refuse to cooperate with fire evacuation practices?

More detail on this specific scenario would be required to respond. Ultimately the service user risk assessment and planning (PEEP) would allow you to prepare for such circumstances. It is unclear if refusal to cooperate is indicating a refusal to leave in the event of fire.

10. What is your opinion on keeping a digital fire log book? I see this as a point of debate among professionals.

There is no prescibed requirement for a paper log book. What is vital is that the evidence can be produced on demand and is stored safely, securely and backed up.

11. Is a fully addressable fire alarm a regulatory requirement for care homes?

Guidance may indicate that this is the case. However, the regulatory requirement is for a Fire Risk Assessment to be carried out and measures implemented in accordance with its findings.

12. Is emergency lighting also a weekly requirement?

Monthly functional checks and annual full system discharge tests carried out by a competent person meet the requirements of the British Standard.

13. Wiring check of care home done every 5 years?

YES - This is standard. As long as this frequency is in line with your insurer’s requirements and the findings of the competent electrican conducting the examination.

14. Alarm panels to be tested DAILY? Really? Ours are tested and recorded weekly. Surely weekly testing of the panel is sufficient?

Visual check, observation of panel health/status daily - no record required but action must be taken in the event of defect. Weekly test and record is sufficient.

15. I’d also like more detail on the level of check that should be done daily, and whether this needs recording.

Visual check, observation of panel health/status daily - no record required but action must be taken in the event of defect. Weekly test and record is sufficient.

16. How often should lighting be checked?

Monthly functional checks and annual full system discharge tests carried out by a competent person meet the requirements of the British Standard.

17. Would like to find out with fire risk assessments, if it applies for each individual who lives in their own house

RRFSO does not apply to domestic premises. Risk of injury from fire should be considered in a care plan/service user risk assessment.

18. Fire officers have advised us that we need to have more staff on at night for fire safety purposes and to enable safe evacuation. I can’t see our LA agreeing to funding this. Any advice?

You are required to have sufficient trained persons to safely effect your emergency evacuation plan at all times. You should review your Fire Risk Assessment and emergency evacuation plans and evaluate the need for personnel based on the risk. As the enforcing authority, you should ensure that Fire Safety Officers are satisfied with your arrangements.

19. Working from a private residential house, are the regulations only required for the room we are working in? To exit our room we have to go through the private house. Will the private house be affected by these fire regulations?

Does not apply to domestic premises. Risk Assessment for service user and delivery of services should consider the risks and create suitable control strategies.

20. If you suddenly have Oxygen (1 cylinder) for end of life care, do you inform the local fire brigade?

No - Your Fire Risk Assessment and emergency plans would need to be updated.

21. Should your building include self-contained flats, what is the law around prompting the residents to have their own flat fire risk assessed?

Not within the individual domestic dwellings but if there are communal areas - stairways, corridors and porches - the responsible person must ensure that signs, notices are displayed and other fire safety arrangements are made in those areas.

22. What is the specification for a refuge?

Refer to Building Regs and Fire Strategy for building. Situation dependant, would need more detail on the premises.

23. Our FRA consultant has said that all staff need fire marshall training, using the fire equipment and this should be carried out at each scheme, what do you think?

All staff that are involved, assigned a duty or given a responsibility for the safe evacuation of a premises or fire safety management must be in receipt of adequate training to allow them to fulfill this duty.

24. If we have a serviced office and the building has these in place can we piggyback off them and have theirs inlace for our purposes in our office?

See Q3.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Napthens LLP

Employment Law Specialists

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