The Importance of Evacuation Equipment in a Nursing Home

Due to many residents often having mobility issues in a care home, extra care and consideration is required in the case of a fire evacuation. Having the correct equipment and procedure in places helps staff to be prepared, whilst keeping residents safe.

To ensure that an evacuation plan is followed swiftly and efficiently, it's imperative that nursing homes are fully-equipped with the necessary evacuation equipment. This guide will identify some important products to aid a fire evacuation in a nursing home.

Equipment for Nursing Home Evacuation

Beaucare Evacuation Foldaway Sledge

One of the biggest difficulties faced during a fire evacuation in a nursing home is that many of its residents are likely to have reduced mobility. At a time where speed and efficiency is key, this can pose a threat to immobile residents and the staff caring for them.

To cater for care home residents with reduced mobility, specific evacuation products have been designed to assist and ensure a quick and safe evacuation. Some of these products are as follows:

• Evacuation Sheet

This product is designed for residents with severely reduced mobility, including those who are bed-bound. An evacuation sheet is permanently fixed to the bottom of a flexible foam mattress, ready to be used should a fire evacuation take place. In the event of an evacuation, the patient is secured to the sheet with safety belts. The sheet also has pulling straps for carers to be able to hold onto and carry the resident in the safest possible way.

• Evacuation Overlay

For residents who don't have a foam mattress, an evacuation overlay has been created for traditional spring mattresses. This anti-pressure overlay sits permanently on top of a mattress, with a PVC coating at the bottom to make it easier to slide over surfaces. This is suitable for residents who are bed-bound or in bed at the time of a fire evacuation, and means that a care home resident doesn't need to be transferred from the surface they are already on.

• Evacuation Foldaway Sledge

A purposely-designed foldaway sledge is able to assist those with reduced mobility during a fire evacuation in a care home. Similar to the evacuation sheet, this product allows carers to assist a nursing home resident and carry them to safety during an evacuation.

The foldaway sledge is constructed with a dual inner foam for both practicality and comfort. The firm lower layer means that the sledge can move over various surfaces such as carpeting and stairs, and the upper layer has been added for the comfort of the nursing home resident. Individuals on an evacuation foldaway sledge can be carried using the pulling loops at either end of the pad, and safety belts ensure that the resident is secure.

Despite the sledge being big enough to fit a person on it, it folds away into a nifty pouch that can be hung on the wall of a nursing home.

• Evacuation Chair

Another piece of equipment that is useful for a care home to have as part of their evacuation kit, is an evacuation chair. These chairs feature a set of wheels and front and back carrying handles. Evacuation chairs allow nursing home carers to carry or push a resident to safety and they are able to fit comfortably down stairs and through narrow corridors. The eGO! Exitmaster Evacuation Chair works in the same way but the innovative design makes for an even easier evacuation in a nursing home. This chair is incredibly sturdy and comfortable, removing the need for any carrying or lifting on stairs.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

Individuals who require additional help and are less mobile will need to be presented with a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP). This plan will detail an evacuation strategy which is tailored to individual needs. This would include evacuation procedures such as:

• Will specialist equipment need to be installed, and do all staff know how to use this? This is when fire evacuation equipment needs to be considered for individuals and their needs.

• Is the residents' room located on the ground floor to improve ease of evacuation?

• Does medication or machinery need to be brought out with the patient?

• Is it possible that the resident will be in distress or perhaps violent, and does the PEEP include a way to calm the individual to then evacuate safely and quickly?

Additional factors to consider for fire procedures in a care home:

Evacuation Considerations in a Care Home

• If a fire occurs at night does your care home have the appropriate number of staff to complete a safe evacuation?

• By law, fire drills need to be carried out once a year and any improvements need to be noted. All staff need to be educated on a fire evacuation as residents will rely on their expertise. Fire drills may also need to be executed more than once a year if new staff are employed.

At Beaucare, we have a new product launch of Ruth Lee training manikins that can assist during fire safety training and drills. These manikins allow for a realistic and accurate training session to ensure all nursing home staff are prepared in the event of a fire.

• In the case that residents cannot return to the building, is there a plan in place where residents can be relocated to other care homes where their medication will be available?

With this advice and information in mind, you can ensure the safety of employees and residents during a nursing home evacuation.

The recent and terrible Grenfell Tower fire brought to light the immense importance of having the correct fire safety equipment and procedures in place. We can't stress enough how important it is to prepare for the event of a fire, and there is often more to think about for fire safety procedures in aged care compared to regular procedures. However, we sell a wide range of fire safety equipment to help make this as easy as possible.