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Fire Alarm Installation For Nursing Homes

Fire Alarm Installation For Nursing Homes

Automatic fire detection or monitored fire alarms in nursing homes are essential in nursing homes to protect both staff and residents. In this week’s blog post we are looking at the Rosepark care home accident, how it could have been prevented and what services are available for care homes today.

The Rosepark Care Home Tragedy

Mention nursing homes and fire safety and most people will immediately think of the Rosepark care home tragedy – a fire in which 14 elderly residents lost their lives and has since been shown to have been entirely preventable.

The fire at Rosepark in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, started in a cupboard on 31 January 2004, quickly turning into a blaze that engulfed the building. A fatal accident inquiry said some if not all the 14 victims could have been saved if the fire service had been called sooner.

Sheriff principal Brian Lockhart, who conducted the enquiry said in his findings that "the management of fire safety at Rosepark was systematically and seriously defective. The deficiencies in the management of fire safety at Rosepark contributed to the deaths.”

The nursing home has a policy which stated staff were to find the source of the fire before calling 999 – this meant staff didn’t call for help for 9 minutes – a further 4 minutes delay was added because firemen couldn’t access the building.

We’re only talking minutes but in a serious fire, minutes are lives. When a fire is in an environment such as care home where people may be frail and easily overcome by smoke inhalation, or are unable to evacuate themselves, every second counts.

In the end, despite the failings of Rosepark found by the enquiry, nobody was prosecuted. However, the tragedy was one of the key reasons for the revision of British Standard BS 5839-1:2013 in 2013.

Image of elderly care for blog by Mayfair on fire alarm installation in nursing homes

British Standard BS 5839-1:2013

BS 5839-1:2013 - Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises is the part of BS 5839 which governs fire detection in non-domestic properties and has a section specifically relating to fire alarms in care homes.

The main takeaways for care homes are;


  • Emergency services should be called immediately upon any activation of the fire alarm – it isn’t appropriate or safe to have staff investigating fires before calling 999.
  • For homes with more than ten residents, fire alarm control panels should be addressable (shows the exact location of the fire)
  • An adequate and accurate zone plan should be displayed next to the control panel.
  • The updated standard now states that automatic transmission of fire alarm signals is necessary for residential care homes.

Does Your Fire Alarm System Need Updating?

Although many care homes now already use automatic fire detection (AFD) and monitored fire alarms to protect staff and residents by ensuring the early attendance of the fire service, many don’t.

What does the law say about this?

British Standards aren’t the law – they act as guidance and any changes to standards are not retrospective. The changes made to BS 5839-1:2013 after Rosepark apply to care homes having new systems installed or work done to existing systems which constitutes a major upgrade.

However, under the Fire Safety Order, 2005 care homes must demonstrate that they have carried out a “suitable and sufficient” fire risk assessment and have sufficient fire precautions in place to protect lives. Complying with the recommendations made in BS 5839-1:2013 would demonstrate, in the event of an incident, that the home did have sufficient fire precautions in place.

Fire Alarm Installation For Nursing Homes

Mayfair Fire and Security specialise in fire system installation with BS5839 design fire alarm systems and a monitored fire alarm service from our sister company, First County Monitoring.

image of a monitoring centre for blog by Mayfair on fire installation in nursing homes

Our combined services mean we provide a robust fire alarm solution for care homes. Our knowledgeable team are available to advise you on the best systems to use and how our monitoring services work. Our experienced fitting team will then carry out the onsite work needed to upgrade your alarm system.

You don’t even have to worry about maintenance - our process control system is designed to automatically schedule pre-booked maintenance visits, all in accordance with industry regulations, ensuring that you’re always one step ahead of your legal obligations.

For more information or a no-obligation visit to your care home to assess your current system, please call us on 0800 917 9385 or contact us here.

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