Continual false alarms from their fire alarm detection systems were causing upset and inconvenience to staff and residents.
“Over the past 15 years, we’ve always been impressed by the proactive attitude that FSS takes with our ongoing refurbishment programme and I can honestly say that we consider them an invaluable member of our wider team.”
Steve Pocock – Bursar, Bedford School
Quality care for the elderly
Caring for the vulnerable in our society is a role Broadening Choices for Older People (BCOP) has fulfilled for over 70 years. Their origins date back to 1946 just after the end of WWII, when many elderly people were in great need of support and shelter. BCOP has continued to deliver the highest quality care for its residents, through innovations often not seen in the care sector.
This approach to business is very much in line with our ethos and has resulted in a strong and enduring working relationship. Today, BCOP employs almost 200 staff who care for over 300 residents in 15 care homes across Birmingham.
Our relationship with BCOP dates back to 2010. Continual false alarms from their fire alarm detection systems were causing upset and inconvenience to staff and residents. BCOP’s incumbent fire safety supplier lacked the technical knowledge to repair the ageing systems, which meant a large financial outlay for BCOP to replace all equipment across 15 care homes.
They contacted Fire Safety Services and asked us to step into the breach. Using our considerable technical knowledge, we were able to bring each of the alarm systems up to the current recommended standard without the need for full replacement. The cost savings to BCOP were significant. This was rolled out over a period of time to allow for minimal disruption and upset to care home residents.
Continual improvement and updates
We were able to service and maintain the existing equipment for six years; however, it was inevitable that eventually some of these systems would need to be replaced as parts became obsolete and the operation of the alarms grew increasingly unreliable.
Last year, we commenced a programme of new fire alarm installations. BCOP were concerned about their residents; many suffer with dementia and become distressed by unfamiliar faces and unusual activity in their living space. We were keen to minimise upset and anxiety, especially as we knew that the fire alarm sounders were likely to contribute significantly to this. Consequently, many of the new installations were completed in around one week from start to finish, an ambitious time scale for any fire safety company.
To date, we have completed five major refurbishments. So, how have we done this to ensure maximum protection for the buildings?
- We opted for Gent by Honeywell’s Vigilon system, one of the most comprehensive life safety systems available
- This is supported by the latest S-Quad detection (also from Gent) which offers superior sensing technology
- The equipment we’ve installed will reduce false alarms and provide the highest possible levels of protection
- Fire Safety Services are a Gent 24 Approved Systems Integrator. This means we have been selected, trained and approved by Gent, based on our extensive capabilities and considerable experience in the fire industry. We carry out design, installation, commissioning and maintenance operations to the highest standards.
A strong and enduring relationship
At the outset, BCOP were clear that they wanted to work with a fire safety supplier, which could guarantee reliability, honesty and efficiency.
In the past seven years, we’ve committed to going the extra mile for BCOP; we look after all their fire protection and fire prevention needs and have developed an overwhelmingly positive working relationship with all the site staff.
Today, we provide all new fire alarm installations when necessary, as well as fire alarm maintenance, emergency lighting maintenance and fire extinguisher maintenance across all BCOP’s care home sites.
And we’re happy to help out in other ways. When BCOP mentioned they were struggling to find a reliable supplier for a nurse-call system, our service centre manager Dave Lewis (well-known for his vast connections and supplier relationships) sourced the perfect company who was able to help.
Additional fire safety information for Care Homes
A Care Home is a sensitive environment with elderly residents of varying abilities and many provide home to those with a range of disabilities and mental health issues such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Therefore, the role of a Fire Safety Technician holds great responsibility not only to ensure your fire safety equipment will operate correctly and efficiently when required, but also to work in a considerate manner around these vulnerable adults.
The press is constantly reporting on fire safety breaches and prosecutions due to non-compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and many Care Homes get caught out and hit with huge fines for breaches of fire safety regulations. The most notorious incident at a Care Home in 2004 was the Rosepark incident, where 14 elderly residents died at their care home in Scotland after a fire broke out in a cupboard. If you think that is long in the past, you only need to filter through the news on the Fire Industry Association’s (FIA’s) website to find multiple stories of care homes that are in breach of fire regulations.
Safe evacuation of residents is one of the main challenges with Care Homes, as many occupants do not have the ability to evacuate quickly. Some residents may be bedridden while others will take a significant amount of time and staff support to get mobile. In addition, even able-bodied residents may experience significant confusion upon hearing an alarm and have difficulty finding building exits. When added to commercial pressures on staffing levels it is challenging to ensure a care home could be evacuated fully and safely in the event of a fire. Clearly then the necessity to detect fires as quickly as possible, before the fire becomes too large to deal with safely, plays an important role in ensuring the safety of occupants.
Don’t risk the safety or lives of your staff, residents and visitors. Fire Safety Services is third-party certificated in all areas of fire safety which means you can rest assured that you are kept fully compliant at all times.
For more information on our experience with care homes read our blog
Our blog is designed to give you a greater understanding about fire safety and how our services can help you. All of our blog posts are written by members of our team who have vast experience in specific aspects of fire safety, so you can be sure that the information you are reading comes from a qualified source.
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