Fire Safety Prosecution

04 Apr HOSPICE FINED 250K FOR FIRE SAFETY BREACHES

A care home in Hastings has been fine £250k for breaching multiple fire safety laws.

St Michael’s Hospice Hastings and Rother was prosecuted in relation to offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The company was also ordered to pay costs.

The hospice pleaded guilty to two breaches in fire safety law which relate to their failure to take the correct fire precautions to ensure the safety of its employees, visitors and residents.

In sentencing Judge Henson described the fire safety failures as obvious and avoidable.

She then detailed how the fire exposed the failures, such as locked doors, lack of evacuation training and equipment, and holes in the ceiling. These failures allowed smoke to spread through the building.

She also added that it should not have taken a fire to highlight these issues, and that a mock evacuation and basic training would have helped to identify these problems prior to the event of a fire.

Judge Henson emphasised the fact that hospice care also involves keeping patients safe from fire risk and that fire safety laws still apply to them regardless of their charitable status.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: “Fire safety in hospices, care homes or any similar property that provide rest, care or accommodation for vulnerable people is critical.

“The law is there to protect the residents and staff from the effects of fires and in this case the fire safety provision fell well below the standard expected in such a property where residents would otherwise expect to be safe.

“We now hope this serves as a reminder to people responsible for the housing and care of vulnerable people of the importance of fire safety measures in their buildings.

“Tragically, three people did lose their lives in the following days and our thoughts remain with their families and others affected by the fire.”

Emma Trafford
[email protected]
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