Sprinkler system saved Methil home from greater fire damage

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A SPRINKLER system prevented the spread of a fire in a Methil care home allowing staff to move vulnerable residents to safety.

Fife Fire and Rescue Service this week highlighted how well safety procedures were followed after a fire was discovered in Forth View Care Home on December 18.

And a report by Colin Grieve, area manager for workforce and community safety, explained how fire safety officers and firefighters visited all 86 care homes for the elderly in Fife in the three days following the Methil blaze to offer reassurance and advice.

Mr Grieve said: “The fire was in a section of the roof space and a first floor lounge, but the residential sprinkler system had activated and prevented further fire spread to other areas.”

The care home management and staff carried out a “horizontal evacuation” – which involved moving residents to protected areas on the same floor away from the fire – while firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Mr Grieve continued: “The sprinkler system fitted in this care home – a requirement for all new care home premises under current building regulations – was a key factor in ensuring that there were no deaths or injuries.

“The 55 residents did not have to evacuate to outside at any time and the care home continued to operate during the fire.”

He added investigations into the cause of the fire had been concluded and the cause was not being treated as suspicious.

The subsequent visits to all other care homes identified three main issues – as it was Christmas time, some festive lights and extension leads posed a risk; the number of staff available, especially in the evenings, did not always appear sufficient to evacuate all the residents; and some staff members, particularly bank or agency staff, had received no formal evacuation training or taken part in evacuation drills.

Several follow up visits, where specific issues had been identified or advice specifically requested, were carried out over the following week.

Mr Grieve said: “Staffing numbers meet Care Inspectorate requirements, and are reviewed and adjusted accordingly to meet the needs of residents.

“A programme of fire safety training, evacuation training and drills is in place.”