According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2011 through 2015, healthcare facilities experienced an average of 5,750 fires per year that required response by a fire department. Unfortunately, nursing homes made up a disproportionate 48% of these reported fires. The second-highest occurrence rate was in mental health facilities, which were responsible for only 22% of these reported fires. With approximately 2,760 fires occurring in nursing homes each year, it is critical to ensure that every facility is properly prepared in the event of a fire.
It Starts in the Kitchen
Cooking equipment is listed in the NFPA report as the most common culprit for fires in healthcare facilities—nursing homes are no exception. Cooking equipment is responsible for around 66% of fires in all healthcare facilities, and it accounts for 68% of fires just in nursing homes. This means nearly two-thirds of all nursing home fires begin in the kitchen. Due to this, the kitchen should be kept up to code, following NFPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines that have been carefully considered and put in place in order to protect everyone in the facility, including employees, visitors, and the vulnerable population of the elderly and disabled.
Facilities should have fire suppression hoods in the kitchen, at least one class K fire extinguisher, as well as operational alarm and sprinkler systems. Ensuring that the kitchen is well-protected and has the appropriate systems in place will go a long way in keeping any fires contained and protecting everyone within the facility.
It Results in More Injuries
The fact that nursing homes experience significantly more fires than any other healthcare facility is already very concerning, and there is a further issue to worry about—nursing home fires also account for a disproportionate amount of injuries. Each year on average, fires cause approximately 108 injuries in nursing homes, which accounts for 69% of all injuries incurred during a fire between all types of healthcare facilities—or nearly two-thirds.
Cooking equipment is the most common cause of fire in nursing homes, and it is unsurprisingly also the cause of the majority of injuries, responsible for 26% of civilian injuries during fires in nursing homes. However, clothes dryers accounted for 12% of injuries, while fires set intentionally caused 14% of civilian injuries, showing that the kitchen isn’t the only concern.
How to Improve
Nursing homes, and all healthcare facilities, can always improve by adhering strictly to NFPA and OSHA guidelines that are there to protect structures and people from fires. While every accident cannot be avoided, ensuring that the appropriate systems are installed and operational and that employees are trained on fire extinguishers, as well as building evacuation, will go a long way in minimizing damage and mitigating the risk of injury to employees, visitors, and patients.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting
people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.