Tumble Drier Risk To Business Owners

Government statistics have revealed that there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires in England and Wales between 2012 and 2014.  This equate to three a day. The LGA has warned that people are “playing Russian roulette” by using faulty appliances prone to exploding into flames – http://www.local.gov.uk

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DB Fire Safety advises businesses such as residential care homes, hairdressers, cafes, bars and restaurants that when using tumble driers on their premises to follow safety advice.   If not, then they could be at serious risk from fires.

Peterborough based DB Fire Safety advice is:

  • Filters should be cleaned after each load to remove fluff, lint and any debris.
  • No tumble dryer appliance should ever be left running unattended or overnight.
  • Ensure that there is adequate dryer ventilation as directed by the operating manual

The BBC continues to report that there continues to be an on-going tumble dryer fire risk problem with the international company – Whirlpool.  Whirlpool owns Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda. In November last year, Whirlpool notified customers of a tumble dryer safety deficit.

Approximately 5 million Whirlpool tumble dryers have been sold in the UK. In some cases, the fire is caused by a build-up of excess fluff which comes into contact with the dryer’s heating element and then catches fire.

Owners of Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda machines which were bought between April 2004 and September 2015 have been advised to check their machines.  A website dedicated to safety has been set up for customers – http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

The company is activating what they have termed “an extensive consumer outreach and service action plan in order to provide our consumers with products that are updated to higher safety and quality standards”.  A visit will be arranged for an engineer, free of charge, to modify your appliance.  The service call will take approximately one hour.

DB Fire Safety’s provides businesses and organisations with comprehensive fire safety support; specialising in the provision of fire risk assessments and training staff in fire safety awareness.

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Law on smoking in residential care homes

In today’s blog, DB Fire Safety Ltd. would like to bring you up-to-date in respect of how the law affects residents who want to smoke in residential care Care Homeshomes.  As may already know, it is an individual’s right to continue to smoke when in care.

According to the law, residential care homes are exempt from the smoke-free legislation. Although it is not a legal requirement, designated indoor smoking rooms and/or bedrooms can be made available for use by those residents wishing to smoke indoors.  It is, however, not a legal requirement to provide a bedroom.

If a residential care home designates such a smoking room, the following requirements must be met.

  1. The manager/owner has to designate a room where smoking is permitted.
  2. The room must be completely enclosed apart, of course, from the doors and windows.
  3. The ventilation of the room should preferably be outside of the care home or to other designated ‘smoking rooms’ which have external ventilation.
  4. The doors must close either mechanically or with closers to prevent smoke drifting to smoke free rooms or corridors.
  5. The room should be clearly marked as a room where smoking is permitted.

There does, however, remain a ban on staff smoking within the Care Home and, therefore, a suitable outdoor area should be designated for staff and any visitors, wishing to smoke.

Fire risk assessments take precedence over the rights of a smoker and a risk assessment will have to be taken to ensure the safety of all the residents, care workers and visitors.

If you are unsure of the legislation, then please feel free to contact Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety Limited to arrange a free consultation – call 0800 772 0559


Residential Care Home Owners Fined £380k

As regular reader of the DB Fire Safety blog, you will be aware of the necessity to comply with the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005…..particularly if you are an owner of a residential care home.

Only recently, the owner of a residential care home in Washington, Tyne & Wear was sentenced following five breaches of Residential Care Homefire safety regulations.

The fire destroyed a bedroom and also caused damage to a corridor and smoke damage to other bedrooms and the laundry room.

It was reported that the fire started in a bedoom, but because the fire door had been wedged open, this resulted in the smoke and heat spreading to the communal corridor.  Another bedroom door had also been wedged open and the smoke and heat travelled into this bedroom too.

Because fires can spread extremely quickly (within minutes), the staff had trouble in sourcing where the fire had started.  An elderly lady, where the fire started, became trapped in her room.  Firefighters were, however, able to enter the building wearing breathing apparatus to rescue her safely through a first floor window.

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service uncovered the following breaches of the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, as follows:

  • Two fire doors had been wedged open, when they should always be kept closed.
  • Almost half of the fire extinguishers had been condemned by the company’s appointed contractor.
  • The company failed to comply and carry out a number of requirements identifed in a fire risk assessment.  These requirements included installing electronic devices which would allow fire doors to be wedged open but, in the event of a fire, enabling them to close quickly in an emergency.

Fire can kill, and this particular residential care home owner was fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed. The £380k penalty is signficant but it sends out an important message in respect of the value of carrying out fire risk assessments and to comply with Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

Residential Care Homes – Identifying People At Risk From Fire

As part of the Fire Risk Assessments carried out by DB Fire Safety, it’s important to identify the people in the Residential Care Home who may be at risk.

First of all, DB Fire Safety will identify where the residents’ rooms are situated, where the residents spend their days and where they eat their meals.  It’s also important to find out where the staff spend their time working within the Residential Care Home.  Last, but by no means least, where visitors and contractors are likely to be located within the building in the event of a fire.

Particular risk assessment attention is taken of:Residential Care Home

  • Employees who work alone in, say an office, or contractors who may be working in the roof space, etc.
  • Employees, for instance, care workers, cleaners, maintenance and security staff, all of which could be working during the night.
  • Particular attention is required regarding temporary or agency staff who might have no experience or understanding of the Residential Care Home’s layout or procedures.
  • Attention also needs to be taken into account of people visiting the Residential Care Home, for instance, relatives, doctors, hairdressers, chiropodists and entertainers.
  • But the most of all at risk are the residents.  These people may be unable to escape unaided and will not be able to vacate the premises quickly.
  • Something else that requires consideration is people who may well panic.  It may be advisable to put a plan in place for individual fire risk safety requirements for these individuals (PEEPS) for example, the resident’s medical conditions, sensory awareness and mobility.

It’s important to carry out a fire risk assessment in a systematic way and allocate enough time to carry out the assessment properly.Arrange A Free Consultation

Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will visit your Residential Care Home and take the whole of the building into account  including the outdoors.



Identifying Fire Sources Of Ignition in Residential Care Homes

There are three things required for a fire to start.  Residential Care Homes

  1. A source of ignition
  2. Fuel
  3. Oxygen

In this blog, Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will concentrate on identifying the potential sources of ignition.  During a fire risk assessment in a Residential Care Home, the assessor will be looking for possible sources of heat which could get hot enough to ignite material found in these premises.

The ignition sources could well include:

• smoking materials, e.g. cigarettes, matches and lighters;
• naked flames, e.g. candles or gas or liquid-fuelled open-flame equipment;
• electrical, gas or oil-fired heaters (fixed or portable);
• cooking equipment;
• faulty or misused electrical equipment;
• lighting equipment;
• equipment owned or used by residents;
• hot surfaces and obstruction of equipment ventilation, for example, photocopiers;
• hot processes, for example, welding by contractors;
• arson, deliberate ignition, vandalism etc..

It is also important to be aware that a resident could deliberately start a fire (with or without intent). Care should, therefore, always be taken to monitor and control access to matches and lighters. Special attention should also be given to residents that might smoke in their bedrooms.

Fire Risk Assessors will also check out any Indications of ‘near-misses’, such as scorch marks on furniture or fittings, discoloured and/or charred electrical plugs and sockets, cigarette burns etc.

Fire kills and fire costs money.  There are strict penaltes for not complying with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Fire safety training is a service Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety offers to assist Residential Care Home owners to  DB Fire Safety Contactcomply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

If, however, you would like more information, please visit – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-risk-assessment-residential-care-premises

Fire Safety Training in Residential Care Premises

Fire safety training in residential care premises is a service provided by Peterborough based DB Fire Safety Limited.

Residential care is provided for people with wide-ranging needs such as:Care Homes

  • the elderly or the infirm
  • children
  • people who have special needs, for instance, they may have learning difficulties
  • people who may have mental and/or mobilty difficulties
  • residential care is also provided for people with addiction problems

These premises come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  With this in mind, it can be extremely challenging for the nominated “responsible person” to carry out a competent fire risk assessment.

When a fire starts it can spread very quickly.  There’s no time to even think about gathering up your valued   possessions.  The escape routes have to be meticulously planned to get people out quickly and safely because a fire can become life-threatening in only two minutes. Remember, initial practice is to move residents to areas of safety, however, speed is of the essence because, given the right circumstances, a care home can be engulfed in flames within a very short space of time. In those circumstances, it might be necessary to evacuate the entire building. Are your procedures sufficiently robust to allow for total evacuation; and have your staff received sufficient training in those procedures?

There’s no time to lose. Given the speed in which a fire can spread, it’s vital that the fire risk assessment is carried out by the competent nominated person or a specialist.  Fire risk assessments are something which cannot be ignored and left to chance.  DB Fire Safety will offer fire safety support to help your business fulfill legal requirements.

If your residential care premises accommodates more than 60 residents and has a complicated layout with various escape routes and is multi-storied, then you will almost definitely need to be assessed by a competent person with the comprehensive training, qualifications and experience in fire risk assessment.

It’s a requirement by law – “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005” – which states tDB Fire Safety Contacthat you need to request such technical expertise to assist on fire safety matters.

For more information on how DB Safety can assist your residential care home in respect of fire risk assessment,  please feel free to contact me.






Fire Risk Assessment For Residential Care Homes

DB Fire Safety Limited has been awarded the responsibility of providing fire risk assessments for over 30 Residential Care Homes in the Midlands.

Residential Care Homes are subject to the Fire Safety Order and also inspections by The Care Quality Commission to fulfil their responsibilities to their residents in the event of a fire emergency.

Training and preparation are crucial for Residential Care Homes. Staff fire training must include ensuring that all residents can escape safely without the assistance of the Fire & Rescue services. Procedures must take into account that the residents could have restricted mobility  (either utilising wheelchairs, walkers or sticks).  Another point to remember is that residents may also have mental health issues such as dementia.

When carrying out a Fire Risk Assessment at a Residential Care Home, the following will be considered:

  • Is an emergency fire strategy in place?
  • Is there adequate evacuation equipment in place in the event of an emergency and is the evacuation equipment fit for purpose?
  • Have residents with special needs been considered?
  • Have the staff a clear knowledge and understanding of the fire safety procedures?
  • Have the staff a clean knowledge and understanding of manual handling techniques?
  • Have residents, visitors and staff been made aware of the fire escape routes?
  • Residential Care Homes must have an accurate and comprehensive Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) in place for each and every resident.
  • In the event of an emergency evacuation plan, is there an adequate place of safe shelter available?

DB Fire Safety Limited is looking forward to taking on the responsibility of providing Fire Risk Assessments on behalf of Residential Care Homes.