The Best Fire Safety Installations for Assisted Living Facilities


Although it's commonly assumed that all residences for people aged 55+ will have all the necessary fire safety provisions, this is not always true. Depending on how a senior living residence is classified, it may or may not include fire safety designs found in other types of senior living occupancies, such as assisted living facilities.

It's important for anyone considering a move into senior housing to be aware of the safety measures in place so they can make an informed decision about where they live.

What is Assisted Living and What Are the Benefits for Seniors?


Assisted living is a type of housing arrangement that provides daily living and personal care services for individuals who require support. These services can include help with bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, transferring and mobility. Assisted living facilities also provide medication management, laundry and housekeeping services, transportation and 24-hour supervision.

These facilities are designed to meet the unique needs of each individual and promote independence while providing a safe and supportive environment. In addition, assisted living fire safety is a top priority for these facilities. Fire safety in assisted living includes regular fire drills, fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems and smoke detectors. All staff members are required to be trained in fire safety procedures and how to respond in the event of an emergency.

The Importance of Fire Safety in Assisted Living Facilities

Fire safety is a critically important concern in assisted living facilities. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 1,830 structure fires in assisted living properties in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013. These fires caused annual averages of six civilian deaths, 46 civilian injuries and $8.4 million in direct property damage. Many of these fires could have been prevented with proper fire safety precautions.

How to Create a Fire Safety Plan for Assisted Living Facilities


Assisted living facilities must have a fire safety plan in place to protect the residents in case of a fire.

The first step is to appoint a fire safety officer who oversees the fire safety plan and ensures it is followed. The fire safety officer should conduct regular fire drills and ensure that all staff and residents know what to do in the event of a fire.

The second step is to install smoke alarms in all areas of the facility and ensure they are working properly. A smoke alarm can provide early warning of a fire and give people time to evacuate the building.

The third step is to create an evacuation plan. All residents should know how to evacuate the building safely in the event of a fire. The evacuation route should be clearly marked and easy to follow.

The fourth step is to ensure that the staff is trained in fire safety procedures. They should know how to use fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment, along with knowing how to help residents evacuate safely.

Essential Equipment to Maximize Fire Safety in Assisted Living Facilities

Speed is of the essence when it comes to stopping the spread of smoke and fire in any building. In the case of assisted living facilities it is even more urgent as the residents may have varying mobility. In addition to fire extinguishers, an evacuation plan and other general safety precautions, the following equipment can slow or stop the spread of fire and smoke and save lives.

1. Elevator Smoke Containment


Many assisted living facilities are built as single-story residences, but there are also multiple-story buildings. The best way to prevent the spread of smoke is to ensure that these large openings are closed when a fire is detected.

Elevator smoke containment curtains, when used in conjunction with fire-rated doors in nearly all elevators, provide comprehensive and code-compliant smoke and draft opening protection. These elements are simple to install in elevator spaces and blend comfortably with existing fire safety systems to quickly bring a building into compliance.

2. Vertical Smoke and Fire Curtains


Confining smoke and fire to rooms with large vertical openings can be impossible with standard building techniques and fire-resistant materials. Smoke and fire curtains designed specifically for this purpose can deploy immediately when a fire or smoke is detected to block off affected areas and prevent the spread of both smoke and fire. These mitigation devices can also block large exterior openings to slow the supply of oxygen to the fire and give residents more time to evacuate.

Vertically deploying fire and smoke-rated curtains are an economical choice for openings. They work well for atrium separation, openings in walls and specialty enclosures where fire-rated protection is required.

3. Horizontal Smoke and Fire Curtains


Atriums and other horizontal openings are standard features in modern building design, as they add interest and volume to living areas. However, they can also be pathways for smoke and fire to move upward in a building if not properly protected.

Horizontal smoke and fire curtains are an excellent resource to increase fire safety in an assisted living facility — they are designed to function as a horizontally deploying opening protective between floors.

Horizontal curtain deployment allows designers to compartmentalize large spaces, such as atriums, drastically reducing or even eliminating mechanical smoke evacuation systems.

4. Perimeter Smoke and Fire Protection


During a fire, an elevator may shut down if electricity is lost, leaving only the stairwell as a means of evacuation. Using perimeter fire and smoke curtains will close off the stairwell, allowing residents to safely escape. This type of fire curtain can shield staircases or escalators from smoke and flames, or provide a reservoir for smoke on the upper floors of an atrium or other open space.

Smoke Guard Can Provide the Best Fire and Smoke Protection for Your Facility

Whether you need a single vertical curtain to protect a large gathering space or a complete plan that works with a planned fire safety system, Smoke Guard has the experience to provide state-of-the-art smoke and fire protection for any situation.

We have been providing equipment and service to the fire safety industry since 1991, ensuring ultimate building and occupant safety. If you’re ready to add fire and smoke safety to your space, contact us today for pricing or more information on our complete product line.