Last reviewed 30 September 2019

Care homes, where some of the most vulnerable people in society live, are believed to be at alarming risk of a fire, with three in five care home workers admitting to serious concerns.

The new research was released in support of Fire Door Safety Week which recently took place in the week leading up to 29 September 2019.

The study was conducted among 1000 current and former care home employees, and found that three-quarters believe that more could be done to prevent or manage a fire, with 3 in 5 workers having reported fire safety concerns. Half (51%) of those who had reported concerns said that unsatisfactory action was taken as a result.

The research also identified “a worrying lack of clarity among care home workers” around fire doors.

Nearly half (47%) said they did not understand the role a fire door plays in keeping a fire contained for a specified time, while more than 8 in 10 (82%) admitted to deliberately keeping a fire door open, defeating its purpose.

Fire doors placed on the market should withstand fire for 30 minutes and have test evidence to validate this.

Respondents said that on average that it would take 25 minutes to evacuate the care home where they worked, with over a third (35%) estimating that it would take longer than 30 minutes — highlighting the vital importance of fire doors in holding back fire and smoke for this time.

Commenting on the findings, Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation, which organises Fire Door Safety Week, said, “These highly concerning findings underline how crucial fire safety is, and the fundamental role that fire doors play — especially so in light of recent instances of damaging care home fires which have threatened the lives of residents”.