Care Home Convicted of Offences against Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

On Thursday 19 February 2015, at a hearing held at Derby Magistrates’ Court, Midshires Healthcare Limited of Croydon, Surrey was sentenced for four breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Midshires Healthcare Limited, the owners of a care home for the mentally ill and vulnerable people, was fined £4,000 per offence, totalling £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,477 and a victim surcharge of £120.00.


On the 29 May 2013 firefighters were called to attend a fire at premises on Church Street, Riddings. Although all of the residents were out of the property on arrival of fire crews, firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze which had started on the 1st floor, in one of the resident’s bedrooms.


Upon inspection of the care home, Firefighters found several possible breaches of fire safety regulations. Fire doors were wedged open, self- closing door devices had been removed or were ineffective, some fire doors were ill fitting and combustible furnishings were blocking escape routes.


Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Area Manager Steve McLernon said: ‘If the fire had occurred a few hours later when the residents were asleep, the outcome could have been much worse’.


‘The means of escape were obstructed with furniture, some fire doors were damaged or ineffective and the escape lighting and fire alarm were not maintained.


Investigations revealed that the care homes’ fire risk assessment had not been reviewed since 5 May 2012 which would have probably identified the deficiencies and the measures required to make the premises safe from fire’.


Care providers should recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure that any sleeping accommodation they provide for their residents has a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place which is reviewed regularly. Care Homes in Derbyshire are inspected for fire safety compliance by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service working in conjunction with the Care Quality Commission. The vast majority of homes are well managed and comply with current fire safety regulations.


Mr McLernon went on to say: ‘Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind all care providers of their legal responsibility to protect their residents against the risk of fire.


‘This case serves as a stark warning that the fire service will consider action against anyone found to be in breach of Fire Safety regulations and where they fail to comply with any statutory notices issued. ‘The Service will advise and give support to both local and national businesses and are always willing to help make sure they comply with Fire Safety Legislation. However, the public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used when necessary, where any serious breaches of Fire Safety Regulations are identified.’


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