Running a nursing home is a big responsibility. Owners need nursing home insurance for a variety of risks and concerns pertaining to this important industry, but safety, for both staff and residents should always be the number one concern. As an owner, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the building well maintained?
- Does the staff take the time to ensure that paper and other storage items do not block doors or hallways that need to be clear in the event they are needed for escape?
- Have you provided an evacuation plan that involves all staff and is practiced regularly?
- Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, smoke detectors, and sprinklers?
- Do you currently have the necessary staff-to-patient ratio to aid residents?
- How many staff members per resident are at work during the day and at night or on weekends and holidays?
- Is supervisory staff available to carry out an escape plan if there is a fire or other danger?
Nursing home management must take safety planning seriously and regular safety meetings should be held to address any changes in the operations of the facility. Families of residents should also be provided information when any such changes take place.
While there is certainly a danger from flames during a fire, the more pressing concern is the smoke that can travel rather quickly to areas far from where the fire is occurring. It’s important to realize that people living in nursing homes may not be able to evacuate due to mobility issues or other disabilities. Proper planning and training is important, and regular practice by all staff members is essential in order to provide for the safety of residents.
Every facility needs to have written fire procedures that are practiced by all staff and they should be responsible for carrying out their part of these procedures. This includes doctors, nursing staff, kitchen staff, maintenance, volunteers, and anyone else employed by the facility. Included in the things that staff should do in case of a fire:
- Activate the fire alarm
- Use fire extinguishers to help to control the fire
- Evacuate everyone in immediate danger
- Close doors to contain smoke and fire
- Close all doors to patient rooms, and
- In evacuating, make sure no patient is left behind
Proper planning can reduce any imminent danger when a fire breaks out, and nursing home insurance can help pay the costs for repairs and to help get the facility back up and running.