Fire safety

site visit was necessary. “When they are, all appointments

are pre-booked and technicians are instructed not to enter a care home until they’ve called from the vehicle to ensure it’s still appropriate to visit. We have put certain protocol in place where contractors can’t enter bedrooms and with smaller properties, we’ve prearranged for the carer to take the patient out into the garden while we are on site. We’ve also produced a letter for staff which states that they provide an essential service to support them with accessing the vaccine as a priority.” Everyone agreed that new processes

are key and looking to how life safety technology itself can support. Martin Green expanded: “Hybrid wireless systems are a great fit as they are designed to reduce installation time, which minimises the time installers need to spend in people’s rooms. The wireless technology that’s on offer now is so much more robust than it was a few years ago – it’s ideal for the care environment.”

Working alongside vulnerable individuals Albeit obvious, one of the most challenging considerations of providing life safety systems to the care sector is the fact that many residents have poor sight, mobility issues, are hard of hearing or living with dementia – all adding to the complexity of ensuring systems are appropriately designed. Hollingshead explained that protecting

those with bariatric care requirements and reduced mental capacity causes the most issues and in response, Green went on to offer his insight into the technology

Paul Adams Andy Hollingshead

designed specifically with vulnerable individuals in mind. He said, “In the event of a fire alarm being activated, visual alarm devices – or VADs – complying to BS EN54-23 are required in locations where they are considered to be the primary source of warning to building occupants. “Within care homes, this is extremely common so we offer devices which flash brightly to serve as a primary indicator of a fire occurrence for those with impairments. More innovative control panels which enable a programmed phased evacuation are also perfectly suited to care environments, as they help to control the evacuation process and minimise confusion and chaos – a must when dealing with people who may not have any comprehension of the danger they’re facing.” Hollingshead agreed: “People believe

Simon Titley Ian Watts

the concept of fire evacuation is total evacuation but in the care industry, it’s progressive horizontal evacuation. Getting people away from the point of a fire and moving them into a point of safety - minimum two fire doors away - is the best approach.” When questioned on the

recommended two and a half minute evacuation time, Hollingshead shared some interesting trivia. “The story goes that this originates over 100 years ago from theatres playing the national anthem in the event of a fire, as it typically signalled the end of a performance and encouraged audiences to leave. “Whether this is true or not, it makes

very little sense to a care worker in an emergency who’s trying to assist a resident that requires a hoist to get out of bed, for example. That’s why we take the

32 • June 2021

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