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Residential care home with a “Delayed” fire evacuation strategy

During June/July 2022 MB Fire Risk carried-out a fire risk assessment of a residential care home unusually operating a “delayed” fire evacuation strategy, rather than utilising a Progressive Evacuation Strategy.

Progressive Horizontal Evacuation (PHE) past 2-sets of fire doors then move residents vertically out of the building, as necessary.

Firecode and the Building Regulations Approved Document B Fire Safety do not consider a delayed evacuation. However, the HM Government guidance for fire safety risk assessment 2006 does provide information.

Additional residential care guidance was later issued by National Fire Chiefs Council CFOA and National Association for Safety and Health in Care Services (NASHiCS). Valid from January 2016 – January 2019*.

There are 3 considered fire evacuation strategies for residential care homes namely:

• Single stage evacuation (simple ground floor buildings)

• Progressive horizontal evacuation (ground floor and upper levels)

• Delayed evacuation (Exceptionally, in some situations it may not be desirable or practical to evacuate some residents immediately (e.g. because of medical conditions or treatments). In these circumstances it may be appropriate to allow them to remain in their rooms whilst the fire is dealt with and the danger has passed, or to allow for the additional time necessary to prepare them for evacuation. In such circumstances, it will be necessary to provide enhanced levels of structural fire protection to the individual bedroom. However, where this strategy has been adopted, a suitable evacuation plan will still be required).

Wherever possible relocate non-ambulant and bariatric residents to the ground floor.

Develop realistic Emergency Fire and Evacuation Plans for semi-ambulant residents. Provide additional fire precautions (60-minutes fire resistance to room), sufficient carers trained to operate evacuation aids, enabling staff to co-ordinate the delayed fire evacuation to safety, without reliance on the fire & rescue service, day or during night-time. Remember the fire service form a fire attack and carryout rescues rather than planned fire evacuations and firefighters are not familiar with the chosen evacuation aids or plans.

MB Fire Risk recommends any ‘Responsible Person’ including the owners of a residential care home adopting a “delayed” fire evacuation strategy, ensure the fire risk assessment is regularly reviewed at least annually by a registered certified or 3rd party accredited fire risk assessor. Above all having provable experience of assessing care homes WITH a “delayed” fire evacuation strategy.

MB Fire Risk are based in Essex covering the home counties. Martin is registered. Martin and Chloe have relevant experience to provide compliant fire risk assessment of care homes that have adopted a “delayed” fire evacuation strategy. Please email for a quotation.    

*Quote from NASHiCS website – “In agreement with the NFCC (previously CFOA) it has been agreed that the additional guidance on residential care premises will still stand and not be reviewed until the outcome of the Hackitt report is finalised and we have scrutinised the implications in conjunction with the NFCC representative.”  — NASHiCS.…. This is following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

NASHiCS website has free guidance on mobility scoters by the NFCC and ‘getting compartmentation right’ by Marpal Limited who have not considered a delayed fire evacuation.

S-BAR report methodology adopted above.

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