Nursing home residents are at the most vulnerable during a fire emergency. Most are unable to protect themselves, which is why having an emergency response plan in place is critical as a facility manager or owner. Proper equipment can mean the difference between major property damage or loss of life.
Here are some safety strategies to help nursing home property owners prepare for a fire.
Properly Trained Staff
To start, staff must be properly trained in what to do in the case of an emergency. This begins with a well thought out and developed fire safety plan for your facility. This plan should include:
- All major fire hazards including spaces that house hazardous materials like oxygen tanks or cleaning supplies, as well as their control substances, are stored.
- Clearly marked fire exits and escape routes. Each route to the exit should be as short as possible.
- The facility must have enough exits for every resident and staff member to escape quickly and efficiently.
- Emergency contact information for the local emergency services as well as staff to be contacted if an emergency arises.
- Dedicated evacuation location where all staff and residents should meet once removed from the building.
- List of residents that cannot hear or see the alarms and who will need additional assistance with evacuation.
With a plan in place, staff should run through practice scenarios to ensure that every member of staff understands what to do in case of a fire emergency and how to best evacuate residents.
Ensure all Safety Equipment is Working Properly
Once the fire evacuation plan is in place, it is time to make sure that the equipment is working properly. The fire alarm system will alert residents and staff that there is a problem and that they need to begin evacuation procedures immediately.
Fire alarms should be tested every quarter, and it should be verified that all residents and staff can properly hear or see the alerts. Alarms should also alert emergency services, activating the automatic sprinkler systems to begin controlling the flames.
In the event of a fire, all fire doors need to remain closed. This will keep the fire in one localized area – so check the doors functionality often. Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the foundation of the building or door frames.
A professional fire inspection will happen in the facility on a regular basis. The fire inspector will check that all fire exits are free of clutter, easily accessible, and that portable fire extinguishers are filled and up to code.
In the Event of a Fire
If it cannot be contained and put out with a portable fire extinguisher, exit the building immediately. Follow your previously approved fire evacuation procedures and call in the professionals. Fire can spread rapidly. There is no reason to endure your life or the life of others by trying to put the flames out yourself.
With the help of properly maintained equipment, your facility is in the best care possible to withstand the flames.
Should additional fire damage occur, the experts at McMahon Services are available 24/7 to restore the facility and make it feel like the fire never happened. Our expert team is trained to put your building back to normal in the fastest time possible. We will handle everything from cleaning to restoration. If your nursing home facility is in Northern Illinois and suffers from fire or smoke damage, call us today.