efficient and fire safe by design – through the use of products such as LED bulbs and USB charger ports. However, when it comes to older buildings it can be more challenging, as it’s hard to put demands on people regarding their own belongings.

Hollingshead said: “We wouldn’t like people to come into our bedrooms and start altering things, so it can be tricky. There are ways to overcome this though, for example, we’ll quite oſten replace the halogen bulbs in residents’ reading lamps for cooler running LEDs, so you’re not taking someone’s belongings away, just changing them to make them safer and more efficient.”


At this point, Hochiki’s emergency lighting manager, Ian Hill, raised the topic of wayfinding technology and emergency lighting, which is also now designed to use LED – not only more efficient but also long-lasting, meaning products are much more reliable, reducing the chance of failure and simplifying maintenance.

Ian explained: “The majority of fire risks in care homes are at night, when there’s substantially less staff than during the day and it’s dark, which highlights the importance of designing a fire system with emergency lighting in mind.

“Design is vital here. It’s extremely important to communicate an exit plan right the first time to minimise confusion – especially when dealing with people with dementia. In care homes, there tends to be corridors with lighting signs at each end, so blocking off exits to take choice away makes

evacuations safer and quicker. With some intelligent life safety systems that combine emergency lighting and fire detection, at the first instance of a fire, the nearby exit signs will change from a green running man to a red cross to show the exit is compromised. In these instances, there’s no room for ambiguity and it must be totally clear to residents and staff alike.”

Closing the discussion, Paul Adams asked the group for any final advice they’d offer those within the care industry, as well as where they can access support or technical guidance.

Ian Watts suggested the FIA, while Andy Hollingshead praised the HSE and NASHiCS websites. He also urged them to always consider the ‘three Cs’ – communicate, command and control. “We use this motto to train care sector staff and believe that if all these are in place, nobody will lose their life.” Watts echoed this sentiment. “In a similar vein, we use ‘review, refresh, replace’ when referring to the importance of maintaining risk assessments”, he said.

To watch the panel discussion, head to

In conclusion, Ian Hill stressed that reading the guidance and keeping abreast of evolving standards and requirement is important, a robust life safety strategy comes down to a successful initial design and the quality of products installed. By working with industry experts, those within the care sector can rest assured that every possible measure is in place to protect residents and staff.

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