Health and aged care facilities are the best accommodation option for our elderly population, given that the services provided mean they can live healthily, without having to deal with the challenges of living alone or depending on their families.
As these facilities are expected to care for the elderly for years or even decades at a time, there's an expectation that they're held to the highest possible safety standards. There's one burning issue, however, and it's likely being neglected.
Fire protection in the aged care sector requires both careful planning and technical knowledge.
Taking action on fire protection
While fires are damaging for every business and health care facility, there's heightened risk when it comes to aged care. These are facilities where the majority of the population are unable to move easily or even detect the early warning signs of a fire. What's more, overnight staff may be ill-prepared to handle a large evacuation.
June saw a fire ravage an aged care facility in northern Mexico, where at least 16 residents lost their lives. This fire took place just before dawn, and it's a good example of the dangers.
Fire safety company Wormald encouraged facility managers to be more diligent when it comes to fire safety, explaining that they need to be adequately prepared.
"With infirm and often immobile residents, as well as supporting intricate medical equipment housed in such facilities, fire protection in the aged care sector requires both careful planning and technical knowledge," Managing Director at Wormald Peter Fermor said.
"While it is not always possible to prevent a fire, inadequate or improper fire protection can expose residents and staff to dangers, lead to potential injury or in a worst case scenario, loss of life. Aged care facility managers must be fully aware of any fire risks on site and it is their responsibility to actively work towards minimising these risks."
An approach through technology
For many facility managers, time is going to be the issue when it comes to training staff in fire safety. Across Australia, many facilities are already having to deal with a shortage of skilled workers, which means more pressure during the daily running of operations. Fire safety is likely going to be the last thing on their minds.
A company called Concept Safety Systems may have the answer, with an online training approach that's designed to teach staff without the time issue. These types of online training could help to get a large number of facilities, especially those in rural areas, up to date with regards to fire safety.
Facility mangers will want to start thinking shortly the essential nature of a fire safety plan, and integrating it into the ongoing financial strategy.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!