HIQA launches fire safety handbook to support residential care providers and staff to protect against the risk of fire

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today launched a fire safety handbook to help providers and staff of designated centres to meet their fire safety obligations. Designated centres are services the Chief Inspector within HIQA registers and inspects, which offer residential facilities for older adults, children and people with disabilities.

The potential impact from fire is greatly increased if providers do not mitigate against fire risk, and do not have suitable fire prevention and oversight measures in place in their centre.

The handbook aims to assist providers to develop, implement and sustain an effective fire safety programme, and to create a strong fire safety culture that drives quality improvement. The handbook also directs providers to relevant regulations and national standards, which should also be considered when developing a fire safety culture in a designated centre.

Mary Dunnion, Chief Inspector, said: “The handbook will help providers and staff to understand what the fire risks are in their centres, how to minimise those risks, and what to do in the event of fire alarm sounding or a fire breaking out.”

This Fire Safety Handbook aims to help all providers to:

  • comply with their legal obligations
  • develop, implement and sustain a fire safety programme
  • develop a strong fire safety culture in designated centres
  • drive quality improvement.   

The handbook has four key themes that are central to developing a fire-safety culture in a designated centre: governance and management; risk management; diverse care and support needs of residents; and staff knowledge. Focusing on these areas in conjunction with all regulations will help providers to develop a fire safety culture in their centre and improve the safety of life for people living there.

Ms Dunnion continued: “In developing this Fire Safety Handbook we reviewed international experiences arising from a number of fatal fires in centres, and have included a number of these case studies to assist providers in meeting the regulations related to fire precautions.”
The handbook is available from the link at the top of the page


For further information please contact:
Marty Whelan, Head of Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
01 814 7480/085 805 5202, mwhelan@hiqa.ie

Notes to editor:

  • This Fire Safety Handbook applies to those designated centres currently regulated by the Chief Inspector of Social Services within HIQA. This handbook can also be used as a helpful guide for other residential services not currently regulated.
  • This handbook for providers should be read in conjunction with the assessment-judgment framework, guidance on the assessment of the designated centre and the Regulation Handbook, available on www.hiqa.ie.
  • The Chief Inspector has produced this handbook to help providers to meet their fire safety obligations under the:
    • Health Act 2007 (as amended)
    • the relevant regulations under the Health Act 2007
    • the relevant national standards related to fire safety, and which are contained in the appendices of the handbook.
  • HIQA will host a number of webinars for service providers in the coming months.