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When the worst happens…Why emergency evacuation planning is so important

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No one wants to think about it – but how would your team cope if the worst happened and there was a fire in your Care Home?

It’s likely you would have a large number of residents who are infirm, even incapacitated and in need of assistance to evacuate, some may even be bed-ridden.

In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, buildings which house a large number of residents are coming under closer scrutiny with regards to emergency planning – for good reason.

Preparing a plan

One of the best things you can do to ensure the safety of your residents and staff is to create a detailed and robust emergency evacuation plan. But even the best plan In the world will be ineffective unless your team feel confident they can carry it out.

In a true emergency people can become anxious and flustered, leading to mistakes both in terms of what to do, but also ‘how’ to do it! For example, they may try and lift someone badly, causing injury to themselves or the resident they are helping.

Why training is key to effective emergency evacuation

You should ensure that your staff are able to lift or assist residents safely and efficiently (either manually or by using lifting and transfer equipment) to make sure your home would be evacuated quickly, with no injury to residents or staff. A HSE report on the Health and Care Industry in 2014/15 indicated that each year there are 86,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries, with 27% of these involving lifting and handling.

Regular staff training is key to avoiding injury and using training manikins can be very beneficial.

At Ruth Lee, we can provide a range of training manikins which are perfectly suited to Care Home training.

Although traditionally, staff would practise skills on each other, using a manikin means there is significantly less risk of injury (i.e. a dummy won’t get hurt if you drop him!). Another benefit is that the whole team takes part (no volunteer required) – and because we have a range of different manikins, from a 20kg Patient Handling manikin, right the way up to a 260kg bariatric or obese manikin, you can make sure your team are trained to help people of all shapes and sizes! We also provide Full Bodied CPR or Airway Management Manikins to let your teams perfect their life-saving skills. 

Adding drama – with Fire simulation

If you want to create a training scenario which will be remembered for years to come (for all the right reasons) and truly test your team’s ability to react quickly and rationally in a ‘fire’ situation, you might also consider Fire Simulation.

We know what usually happens in a fire drill – people take their time, grab a coat, ‘down their brew’ – how would they react if smoke was coming down the corridor. Would they behave rationally and safely? Would they rush to help residents and cause injury to themselves or someone in need of help? Fire simulation lets you test and improve your team’s reactions.

At Ruth Lee we can provide a range of fire simulation products, from smoke machines and fake flames, to sound boxes – even burning smell aerosols! With a relatively small investment you can create a very realistic ‘fake’ fire drill which would be perfect for your emergency evacuation training.

For expert advice, call Ruth Lee on 01490 413 282 or email our UK Sales Manager Stuart Cheetham for further advice on stuart@ruthlee.co.uk

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