Essex Fire Service helps boost care home fire safety nationwide

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Care UK has started 2016 with a new arrangement in place to ensure the highest possible standard of fire safety in its homes.

The Colchester-based provider has signed a new agreement with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) that will take fire safety to an advanced level.

This new agreement will see ECFRS provide fire safety advice to Care UK for all of its 114 care homes nationwide.

This will include revising the fire safety framework for all of its premises across England and providing a single point of contact for advice on fire safety and changes in regulation. Although the agreement doesn’t cover Scotland, the homes in that country will use the same policies as those south of the border, with local advice taken to ensure that they also comply with any Scottish regulations that differ.

The national scheme, known as a Primary Authority Agreement, has been created to allow businesses to work with a single fire and rescue service throughout England and Wales under the government’s Better Business for All agenda. It helps businesses create clear and consistent fire policies across all of their sites and allows a close working relationship to develop between the business and a single fire service.

Under the agreement, ECFRS will work with Care UK to help the provider achieve an even higher level of fire safety compliance at all of its sites nationwide. ECFRS was chosen because Care UK has its residential care services support office in that county.

Andrew Knight, Care UK’s managing director for Residential Care Services, said:  “We’ve always taken fire prevention and safety very seriously in our homes but, as we’ve grown, have realised the benefits of working in partnership with one fire service to streamline our processes and ensure our auditing and compliance is 100 per cent validated.

“We’re delighted to be working closely with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and I’m sure it’ll further enhance our fire safety management and systems for the safety of all residents, visitors and colleagues in our homes.”

Assistant chief fire officer Paul Hill said: “We’re delighted to sign this agreement with Care UK. The Primary Authority Agreement will simplify fire safety and create a clear and consistent regulatory framework for all of their homes throughout the country.

“We already provide robust safety and regulatory advice to businesses and organisations in Essex and now we look forward to working in partnership with Care UK to ensure their care homes are as safe as possible.”

The agreement will cover advice and validation in areas such as emergency evacuation plans, preventative fire safety measures and a whole suite of policies that all home managers are required to comply with to ensure the highest standards of protection and safety for all residents, colleagues and visitors at the homes.

The Primary Authority Agreement was signed at a short ceremony at the ECFRS headquarters in Kelvedon, with chief fire officer Adam Eckley and Care UK RCS managing director Andrew Knight.

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