It can often be confusing when furnishing a care home to decide which regulations apply and how you can ensure that your purchases are of the right standard for your home. With a heavy weight of responsibility for the safety of residents and staff within your home, it is important that you understand the regulations surrounding fire retardancy when purchasing care home furniture and furnishings. In this blog we explain the regulations you need to consider and what to look out for.
Which regulations apply to care homes?
Firstly, fire retardancy regulations are split into two categories; those that apply to domestic dwellings, and those that apply to commercial premises. In general, domestic regulations apply when a building is used as a residential address. However, whilst care homes are a residence, they are governed by commercial fire retardancy regulations and therefore any furniture and furnishings have to pass a higher standard of fire retardancy. Care homes pose a unique set of risks covering the speed and ability to evacuate as well as the increased number of electrical devices and possible sources of ignition, so it is necessary to take extra steps to safeguard those under their care.
Who is responsible for ensuring compliance?
Within a care home, either the owner and/or the designated responsible person are responsible for ensuring that the home complies with FR regulations. Therefore, whilst for domestic dwellings the onus is on the furniture or fabric manufacturer, within a care home or commercial premises the responsible person must make sure that regulations are complied with, this also includes completing a full fire risk assessment amongst other things. For care homes, you must comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO), for which full details can be found here. FR regulations state that items must be cigarette and match resistant as well as Crib 5.
How will you know if your care home furniture complies?
When purchasing furniture and furnishings you should check they comply to the following British Standards:
- Furniture & Upholstery: BS7176
- Mattresses: BS7177
- Curtains: BS5867 part 2
How else can you reduce the risk of fire:
- Encourage residents to either quit smoking, or switch to an e-cigarrete or similar. 13% of all care home fires are caused by smoking.
- Ensure fire safety training, plans and detection systems are all kept up to date and regularly reviewed and tested.
- Only purchase furniture, curtains and soft furnishings from commercial providers which can prove the BS standard conformity – most high street retailers will not conform to commercial fire regulations as they predominantly supply to domestic properties.
- Fire doors must be kept clear and closed to ensure good access and limit the spread in the event of a fire.
Whilst the risk of fire in a care home is understandably a very real fear, there are simple ways that you can mitigate the risk and create a safer environment for both residents and staff. As a commercial supplier to the care home sector we take our responsibility to confirm to regulations seriously, and we ensure that all of our care home furniture, curtains and soft furnishings uphold the relevant BS standard. If you’d like to discuss your care home furniture, give our helpful team a call on 01603 664900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org