Sprinkler system and fire safety training keeps residents safe

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has praised the staff at Dukes Court Residential Care Home in Wellingborough for their exemplary fire safety plan and training, following a fire at the property last week (27 January).

Staff from Dukes Court called Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service when they were alerted to the fire, which started in an industrial tumble dryer in the ground floor laundry room. They put their fire safety training into action to move residents to a safer part of the building and ensure that no one was hurt.

The fire service is now urging others to regularly review their own fire safety plans and procedures to ensure that they are up to date and meet with regulations. They are also reminding business owners that all staff must be made aware of the plans and know exactly what is required of them should an incident occur, as happened at Dukes Court.

Heidi Smith, Home Manager at Dukes Court Residential Home said: “The high standard of training we equip our staff with meant no time was wasted and everyone knew their role which was key in the control of the situation, thankfully resulting in minimal damage to the home and very little disruption to our residents.”

A spokesperson for Avery Healthcare said: “We have a robust fire safety and prevention training programme and the correct fire equipment in our homes which is paramount to everyone’s safety, and we are very proud of the swift response taken by the team at Dukes Court.”

A sprinkler system was also fitted at the residential care home and proved its worth by containing the fire to the laundry room with the damage confined to one tumble dryer.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were then able to completely extinguish the flames using two hose reel jets. A positive pressure ventilation fan then helped to clear the smoke and enable residents to return to their rooms.

Firefighter Joseph Grimes, from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, who was in charge of the incident said: “The sprinkler system and the staff’s fire safety training really made a difference to this incident which, without those measures in place, could have resulted in more disruption to the residents and a lot more damage to the property.

“Fire safety is a fundamental responsibility of business owners and in the care sector, they have an additional responsibility to often vulnerable residents.  I would like to thank the staff at Dukes Court for following their fire safety procedures quickly and effectively. This ensured the safety of their residents and colleagues and enabled us to do our job efficiently.”

John Pratt, Protection Team Lead at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “This incident is a reminder of the importance of maintaining high standards when it comes to fire safety, especially in a residential property housing vulnerable people, some with limited mobility. A thorough fire safety plan and a sprinkler system will save lives, protect property and minimise any interruption to the business.”

“The staff at Dukes Court had obviously received thorough fire safety training and knew exactly what was required to keep their residents safe and we urge any other business owners to ensure adequate fire safety measures are in place to safeguard people and property, and to comply with fire safety legislation.”

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service recommend the installation of sprinkler systems in domestic, industrial, commercial and residential premises. For more information about sprinklers and other guidance for business owners visit the Business Safety section on the NFRS website.

Any business that is interested in scheduling a Fire Safety Audit, to check that their procedures comply with fire safety legislation, can contact the NFRS Protection Team via the online form on the NFRS website.

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