According to the US Fire Administration, about 2,700 fires per year occur in nursing homes. The fire damage caused an estimated $13 million in property losses, 135 injuries, and five deaths. In the event that you have a fire in your nursing home facility, you want to make sure your staff and residents are prepared. When an unthinkable event happens, stress can take over, so the more prepared everyone is, the safer everyone will be.
Nursing homes host many types of people with varying degrees of mobility and conditions. It’s important that your staff is prepared to assist everyone as best they can during a fire emergency. It may seem overwhelming, following these steps, and your staff should be feeling calmer and more prepared in no time.
Staff Fire Training
Schedule a meeting with your employees, especially supervisors and management, to talk about fire safety and preparing for an emergency. Be aware that if residents or their families are within earshot of your meeting; this discussion might be a little scary for them. Be sure to talk openly, but calmly to help ease everyone’s minds. Walk around the facility with your staff and identify any potential fire hazards. This includes blocked hallways, dead smoke detectors, empty fire extinguishers, and fix these issues right away.
Go into each room in the facility and point out all of the fire exits. Remember to include doors, windows, and fire ladders. Make sure you have at least two exit points in each room. Teach everyone how to lock and unlock doors and windows and how to unhook or push out a window screen. If windows have safety bars on them, make sure each has an safety bar emergency release that can easily be opened in case of an emergency. Finally, provide ways of getting all of your residents out of the building safely, regardless of physical condition. Consider placing evacuation chairs near residents’ rooms if your facility has a lot of stairs.
Make a fire escape plan for emergency evacuation.
Use this printable fire escape planning template as a starting point to create your fire escape plan. Draw out each floor of your nursing home. Mark possible escape routes, fire extinguisher locations, first aid kit locations, and the meeting area. Pick a meeting place that is far away from your building or other potential danger areas (like an attached parking garage). The spot should be out of the way for emergency services. Make sure you have proper emergency evacuation routes for differently abled tenants, and that both they, and the people who live with them, are aware of these routes.
Do regular fire safety inspections.
Inspect your nursing home often, and keep up on maintenance of safety equipment. Check fire extinguishers to make sure they’re up to date, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and that your sprinkler system is in proper working order. Keep your emergency safety kits stocked with the proper burn gel, gauze, scissors, band aids, and both aspirin and non-aspirin products. Update your plan as your business and building conditions change.
How to Conduct a Fire Drill in a Nursing Home
Having a fire escape plan in place is only half of the task. The second half is practicing the plan with your staff and residents on a regularly scheduled basis. For drills, make sure you have safety captains–at least one per floor, depending how large your facility is. If you have residents with special needs or equipment, assign them a specific staff buddy to help them out of the building. Depending on the occupancy of your facility as well as how big your staff is, people may need to have multiple buddies. This is okay, as long as they can be accountable for them, and make sure they have reached a safe space away from the building.
During your drills, note what went well and what flaws you may see and adjust the plan as necessary. Have everyone practice evacuating the building if possible. It will be easier for people to remain calm should an actual fire break out if they practice evacuating. Make the fire drill a surprise. This will allow you to clearly see the flaws in your plan and how your staff acts under stress. Your staff will feel more confident in themselves and their role within the fire escape plan, how to get out, and where to meet. Remember, the point of practicing is not to scare anyone, but to keep them safe!
Does Your Nursing Home Have Fire Damage?
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. We have certified experts ready to respond to your nursing home fire 24/7. We’ll be there for you to help assess the situation, mitigate the damage, and make a plan to restore your property back to pre-loss condition and to get your residents back in their rooms. Our professional team of trusted advisors are experts in the fire damage restoration industry. We’ll oversee your property’s damage recovery with honest, reliable, high-quality work allowing your tenants back to their normal lives, quickly.
Alpha Omega is the leading disaster restoration company serving commercial and residential properties in Billings, MT and surrounding areas.