March 2024


Care home benefits "hugely" from WFRS Protection Team business advice

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Protection team works constantly with businesses to keep their employees and premises safes. An example is Walsingham House, a Care Home in Nuneaton run by registered charity the PAKS Trust which provides residential care in the community setting. Joy Lewis is the manager of the care home, which worked with the WFRS Protection team to improve evacuation practices following the issuing of an enforcement notice. Joy takes up the story…

Walsingham House provided a placement in June 2016 for an individual with mobility needs. Following an inspection from the WFRS Protection team, it was deemed that the resident was not able to be evacuated due to lack of staff and property not suitable for them to be evacuated during day/night when in bedroom and in bed. The funding authority refused to pay for additional staff.

“We could not safely evacuate an individual in the event of a fire, due to not meeting environmental needs or staffing level.”

Joy explains what the Protection team did upon their inspection and the advice they gave:

“On the first visit Niky informed me that unless the individual’s environment met the criteria then the home would not be suitable. The requirements were a 60-minute protection room, one staff member to sit with them when the alarm was raised and a sprinkler system fitted – or evacuation from the property.

“I approached the funding authority, which in this case was Southwark’s, due to the individual living out of County. As advised that a staff member would need to be allocated to the individual in the event of a fire day/night. None of these were in place, so Niky revisited two weeks later to follow up the outcome with the funding Authority.”

The ramifications had the WFRS Protection team not visited and offered their guidance would have been stark:

“Ultimately, in the event of a fire, we would have breached fire regulations using the stay put. The team made us aware of the regulations that have changed and explained how the stipulations on the stay put policy would have therefore been breached, leading to putting the individual at risk in the event of a fire.”

Joy explains what happened next:

“The enforcement notice resulted in the funding authority moving the individual to another care home. After finally agreeing to pay for the additional staffing hours the individual concerned returned home in their safe and comfortable environment, giving them the choice of where they want to live.

“All four of the PAKS Trust homes have now been inspected, and the Charity has adopted several methods in other homes.”

The home has benefited hugely from the inspection and it has raised the standards of how things are done throughout, as Joy explains:

“We have sourced a competent risk assessor that has given amazing advice. They’ve carried out risk assessments where the previous company had failed to do so.

“We have also sourced a registered fire door service and repair company. Again, this has been sourced since inspections.

“We have had one admission since the enforcement notice. I was very clear on the staffing needed to meet Fire Regulations. This enabled me to price the care package accordingly. Something I will now use when we have any new admissions."

Joy was particularly impressed with the support that she was given by the WFRS Protection team before, during and after the work was carried out:

“Niky was at one of the care homes, along with the risk assessor, during an inspection. This was reassuring that the risk assessment was being completed in front of Niky, with her also seeing such documents once completed.

“Throughout it all; the enforcement notice, inspections of all four homes etc. I feel the knowledge from each visit has given us knowledge to source services to meet the regulations. We were using a private company to carry out the risk assessments, but this now highlights our assessments were not fit for purpose.

“I feel I can ring Niky up and ask for advice, which I have done so. She has supported us to keep those living in our homes safe and we now have a greater knowledge of what is required in care homes."

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Fire Andy Crump said: “We work extensively with care homes across Warwickshire to give them support and guidance on fire safety and we are delighted we were able to help Joy and Walsingham House.

“It’s a great outcome for her, the care home and the patient who can now continue living in the dwelling which most suited them. Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has supported this resident to be living comfortably in the home of their choosing.”

To find out more information about Fire Safety for Businesses visit:

For more information on Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and the work it carries out across the County, please visit:


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