Fire and Life Safety in Nursing Homes

Integrated Fire SystemsFire & Life Safety Updates

Are You and Your Family Members Safe?

There are two vital elements to nursing homes; the people living in them and the people working in them. People who live in nursing homes often do not have any other option. They rely on others for their day to day needs. This means that they will heavily rely on people in the event of an emergency. People who work in nursing homes are often over worked and understaffed. This could lead to complications if an emergency arose.


It can be extremely nerve wracking for you or a loved one to have to go into a nursing home. Choosing which home to move into is a big decision. Many factors go into making this decision and safety should be one of them.

When choosing a nursing home NFPA recommends that you consider the following:

  1. Is the building well maintained? It is important to make sure that doors and hallways are clear in the event that an escape is necessary.
  2. Does the facility have an evacuation plan? All of the staff should know this evacuation plan and should practice it regularly.
  3. Are there safety systems set in place? Check to see if the building has alternative exits, smoke detectors, and fire sprinklers.
  4. What is the facilities staff to patient ratio? What is the difference in this ratio during the day compared to at night? Is their enough staff to carry out their evacuation plan in the event of a fire?
  5. Are there rules set in place for people who smoke? Can patients smoke in their rooms, do they need supervision while they smoke, etc.?
  6. When inquiring about the nursing homes safety procedures, do they take it seriously? Are they forthcoming with the information?

You have every right to sit down and speak with any nursing home about their safety plan. Take the time to sit down with them before making your final decision.

Nursing Home Staff

As someone who works in a nursing home it is important to realize that the people living in the nursing home will not be able to evacuate due to mobility issues. Patient safety should be your number one priority. In order to ensure that it is possible to keep this priority NFPA says that you must have adequate planning. The 3 most important pieces to this planning are:

  1. Fire Procedures – Every facility must have written fire procedures that the staff practices. Each staff member is responsible for carrying out their portion of the plan. Doctors, nurses, kitchen staff, maintenance, volunteers, and any other staff members on site must be involved in these procedures.
  2. Practice – It is vital that the above fire procedures are practiced regularly. This is important because every staff member, new or old, should be able to carry out these procedures at a moment’s notice.
  3. Code Word – There should be a clear code word at your facility to alert other staff members of a fire. This will allow word to spread quickly without scaring the patients.

As a staff member at a nursing home you are in charge in the safety of immobile patients. It is your responsibility to know your families procedures to ensure that you and your patients are able to evacuate safety in the event of a fire.

Here at IFS we want to ensure that you are always prepared for a fire emergency no matter where you are. If you have questions about fire and life safety in nursing homes or are interested in fire protection in your facility give us a call at 888-987-5322.

-The IFS Team