Most nursing home residents are unable to protect themselves in the event of a fire. The special needs of some residents represent a significant threat if a fire occurs. Some may not be ambulatory. Others who suffer from dementia may not perceive a fire to be a danger. They rely on caregivers to get them to safety. Being prepared and able to think quickly can be the difference between their life or death. The better prepared staff members are, the safer they and their residents will be. It is important for caregivers to educate themselves and stay aware of potential fire hazards. Fire drills have to be taken seriously, and everyone needs to stay calm during an emergency to provide the best protection for everybody.
Here are some fire safety tips to help you prepare for an emergency:
- Make sure all staff members understand the written fire procedures. They need to know how to carry out their parts of the plan from training.
- Develop an evacuation floor plan that involves all staff members and practice it regularly. The plan should be visible on every level of the nursing home and by each exit. It should show the location of the emergency exits, smoke barriers and where the utility shutoffs are located.
- There should be an assembly location designated for everyone to go when evacuating, where a headcount can be taken to ensure everyone has left the facility safely.
- Periodic fire drills should be conducted to test and evaluate the efficiency, knowledge, and response of the staff members in the event of a fire. They should be scheduled randomly but at least once every three months for each shift.
- Fire alarm systems should be tested on a regular basis to ensure they can detect fires, initiate the alarm and/or suppression systems, and notify personnel.
- Confirm that fire and life safety equipment and emergency plans comply with applicable codes/standards.
- Portable fire extinguishers must be located throughout the facility and staff members should be professionally trained on how to use them.
- Fire doors must always be closed to prevent the fire from spreading.
Resident safety is a number one priority. Their families are trusting that they will be protected from harm by the staff members. Many residents will not be able to help themselves. Call Fire Control Systems today to provide all your fire safety needs for a nursing home.