Every year there are around 800 fires in homes providing care for older persons in the UK. On average 5 people die each year and a further 90 are injured.Over the past 10 years 45 people have died and 1000 have been injured. Added to this is the true cost of pain,suffering and impact on families and careworkers. Primary causes of fires in care homes are faulty electrical appliances or wiring, cooking facilities, smoking related combustion, misuse of equipment and deliberate arson. Standards of England’s care homes are putting thousands of elderly and disabled at risk. Homes are routinely breaking fire regulations, with 135 homes branded fire hazards by fire inspectors. It is also important to remember most of the deaths in care homes are as a result of the smoke inhalation rather than burning.
The worst case of fire in a care home was at Rosepark Nursing Home in Scotland in 2004 in which 14 people died. Rosepark is known as the worst care home fire in UK ever.
Rosepark is a prime example of failure in care. Everyone has the right to be safe and it was easy avoidable according to investigations following the fire. The staff at Rosepark did not act quickly enough. The fire started in an upstairs electrical cupboard on 31st January 2004 (dodgy wiring was to blame). The fire safety at the home was seriously defective. This was pointed out to Thomas Balmer owner of the care home a year before in January 2003. James Reid carried out an audit and recommended key changes, these were there were not any suitable and sufficient health and safety policies in place, fire drills were overdue a fire drill and full evacuation should take place every six months. He found that some of the fire exits were blocked with day to day items. The lift room had flammable paint tins stored. Some of the night staff did not know what to do in the event of a fire.
The fire and deaths could have been avoided if
1-regular electrical testing had taken...