Health care equipment and products used in the home allow people to be cared for in familiar surroundings. Whilst these items can ease discomfort and improve healthcare outcomes, it is important to be aware that in the event of a fire they may increase the spread and intensity of the fire. On this page, we talk about:
If you care for someone who needs specialist healthcare equipment, make sure that you always follow the manufacturer's safety advice. Let's take a look at different kinds of equipment in a little more detail...
Used by people with severe respiratory conditions, oxygen therapy provide air that contains more oxygen than normal. Specialist equipment (which can include cylinders and portable units) is used to pipe medical oxygen through either a nasal cannula or face mask to the patient.
Unfortunately though, the addition of concentrated oxygen into the room or surrounding environment will greatly increase the intensity of a fire should one start
These items are used for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores and ulcers that can be caused by extended periods of immobility. The mattress is filled with air by a pump which adjusts pressure according to the patient’s needs.
When punctured by a heat source such as a match the escaping airflow can cause a fire to spread rapidly. The emergency battery back up may continue to pump air which can cause the fire to burn longer.
Incontinence pads and pants help people live at home with more dignity. However, these products are often supplied in large quantities when people who have continence problems. They can be bulky and difficult to store, can catch fire and will add fuel to a developing fire.
Always store incontinence products away from heat sources such as heaters, candles, chargers or anywhere else that they are likely to be subject to heat or flame.
Try not to store the supplies all in one place – ideally not next to the person’s bed or chair.
We can provide more specialist advice based on the person you care for's home and individual needs during a home fire safety visit. These free sessions are an opportunity to talk to you and the person you care for about how to prevent fires, the importance of smoke alarms to detect a fire and escape plans in the event of a fire.
Visits can be arranged at any time (24/7), and we even fit free smoke alarms if the person you care for needs them. Specialist alarms can also be fitted – for example, strobe light and vibrating pad alarms for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We have a simple tool that can guide you around the home helping you spot fire risks, or we can carry out a visit ourselves.
If you are a support worker providing care there are some extra steps you need to take:
If the person you care for is bed bound or spends most of their time in a chair, they are particularly at risk. Please consider their needs and make sure appropriate measures are taken so they can safely escape if there is fire. Learn more about escape plans from homes here, and from workplaces (like residential care homes) here.