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Care home refused to call fire brigade following alarm as it would have cost too much

The Richmond House care home in Monkstown, south Dublin, was found to be negligent in several ways following a HIQA inspection in June.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A CARE HOME in south Co Dublin apparently declined to call fire services following an unexpected fire alarm as the expense would have been too great.

The Richmond House care facility in Monkstown was subject to a 2-day inspection by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in June, the report of which has just been released.

The findings of the inspection suggest that the care home, operated by the Cheshire Foundation in Ireland, was majorly non-compliant with standards with regard to health and safety and risk management.

Specifically, although staff were able to describe what they should do in the event of a fire incident, the report found that following an unexpected alarm “staff did not call the fire authorities due to costs of doing same”.

Fire brigade charges vary significantly across the country, both for commercial and residential call-outs.

The current hourly rate for a fire brigade call-out is €500 for a residential emergency and €610 for an alarm raised by a commercial entity.

The home was also found to be majorly non-compliant in the following areas:

  • with health standards with regard to serving the healthcare needs of  residents
  • that governance and management in place did not ensure that services provided to residents were safe and appropriate
  • an application had been made to increase the maximum capacity of the home despite the fact it is due to be decommissioned in December – a contravention of its statement of purpose. The facility will be officially closed once alternative accommodation has been secured for its 17 residents.

TheJournal.ie has contacted Cheshire Ireland for comment on the findings of the inspection report.

The AA last year lobbied for call-out charges for domestic fires to be abolished, deeming the current system to be “confusing, unfair and unsafe”.

Many commercial enterprises pay a premium on their insurance to cover fire charges following emergencies.

Call-out charges for commercial enterprises were first introduced in 2003 with varying rates depending upon the severity of the incident. This was followed by the introduction of charges for domestic incidents in 2012 – with a rate of €500 for attendance at a home fire and €610 for road crashes.

Read: Áras Attracta’s Bungalow Three is in the spotlight again

Read: More than €600,000 in fire brigade call-out charges went unpaid last year

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