By Jamie Rieger
Like all households, care facilities also need to have a fire escape plan in place so staff and residents are well-prepared should there be ever be a fire.
Specific practices have to be put in place to accommodate seniors who may have hearing or mobility constraints.
Karen Waldbauer, from Pleasant View Lodge in Bow Island said her staff are fully trained in their fire escape plan that they routinely practice with their residents.
“When a call goes in, we are connected directly to the fire station. Our residents know to grab a coat and go to the nearest common area. Years ago, we learned to not have them go to the nearest doorway because they can block the way in for the firefighters,” said Waldbauer, adding that they have an arrangement to use the nearby Catholic Church for a place to go for shelter.
Each residence at PVL has a sheet of paper attached to the inside of their entry door that contains an itemized list of the fire escape and other emergency protocols and residents are to become knowledgeable about the plan.
“We also have four fire drills a year and all our staff are trained,” she said.
Once residents leave their living quarters, a placard is attached with the word “Out”, so firefighters know that resident has vacated. If the placard is not attached, they need to enter the premises.
Residents at PVL are also not permitted to burn candles or smoke in the facilities.
According to a document prepared by Employment and Social Development Canada on Planning for Safety, a guide for building managers and occupants, The rate of injury caused by fire increases according to age; however, across all age groups those who are bedridden or have a physical disability account for close to eight percent of all fire-related injuries and two percent of deaths. For those over 65 years of age, the rate of death climbs to more than 18 percent and the rate of fire-related injury triples to seven percent.