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Foster Homes

Adult Foster Home Safety Checklist


Emergency Planning

  • Prepare. Plan ahead as to what to do, who does what and when to do it
  • Establish an Emergency Coordinator and chain of command
  • Assign staff duties and responsibilities
  • Address who will assist disabled occupants
  • Establish a system for accounting for personnel and non-personnel following an evacuation
  • Compile an updated list of occupants emergency contact information
  • Post floor plans clearly throughout building showing evacuation routes, alternate means of escape, designated “safe areas”, fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, first aid areas, etc.

Fire Drills

  • Purpose. A disorganized evacuation can lead to confusion, injury, death, and increased property damage.​ Fire drills prepare residents and staff to be ready in case of emergency, increasing the chance of survival.  Fire drills establish evacuation routes and procedures as a matter of routine. They ensure that people are familiar with their surroundings and know what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to go during an emergency.
  • Frequency. To be conducted at least every 90 days.
  • Speed. All residents shall be evacuated from the residence within 3 minutes.
  • Drill records are to be maintained for three years.
  • Attitude. Always take the drills seriously and evacuate when the alarm sounds.
  • Safe area.  Designate an area where occupants are to go when they evacuate.
  • Know evacuation routes and alternate means of escape.
  • Circumstances. Drills should be held at expected and unexpected times and under varying conditions.

 In Case of Fire, think “RACE”

  • Rescue all persons in immediate danger area.
  • Alarm. Announce the fire, pull the alarm, begin evacuation, dial 911.
  • Confine the fire by the closing doors, if possible.
  • Extinguish the fire only if it is small, not spreading, and you have an easy and safe escape path.  Do not waste time in trying to fight a fire if the fire might block your only way out.



  • Location. Only ambulatory residents capable of self-preservation shall be housed on a second floor or in a basement.
  • New arrivals. Within 24 hours of arrival, new residents shall be shown how to respond to a fire alarm and how to exit from the facility in an emergency.


  • Address and fire access to be identifiable and maintained.


  • Primary bedroom exit required. Exterior doors shall have latching knob hardware.  All doors in the means of egress shall have an obvious method of operation.  Hasp, sliding bolt, hood & eyes, and double-key dead bolts are not permitted.
  • Secondary bedroom exit required. If exit is a window, minimum net clear opening area of 5.7 sq. ft. is required.  Minimum net clear opening height = 24”, minimum net clear opening width = 20”, maximum sill height = 44”.  Windows must open freely from the inside, without special knowledge.  Ladders, rope and chain ladders shall not be used as a secondary means of egress
  • Stairs, lifts or elevators shall not be used as a substitute for a resident’s capability to ambulate stairs.
  • Split level homes shall be evaluated according to accessibility, emergency egress and evacuation capability of residents
  • Access for disabled to be provided if needed.
  • Recognizable exit signs to be maintained.
  • Unobstructed. Clear all obstructions from exits and exit pathways.
  • Unlocked. Doors must be operable without keys or special knowledge.
  • Illuminated. Maintain at least one readily accessible, plug-in rechargeable flashlight on each occupied floor, or provide another approved means of emergency lighting.
  • Combustible storage prohibited near exits, exit enclosures, or under stairways

Smoke Detectors

  • Location. Smoke detectors shall be installed in each sleeping room, adjacent hallways, common living areas, basements, and in two story homes at the top of each stairway
  • Connection. All detectors shall be connected to a sounding device or interconnected to another detector that, when actuated, is audible in all sleeping rooms.
  • Hearing impaired. Visible notification device(s) shall be provided for hearing impaired occupants
  • Maintenance. Facility shall test and maintain smoke detector(s) as required.
  • Battery operated are allowed in existing buildings but, must have 10-year battery.


  • Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI’s) must be installed in kitchen/bathroom areas where an outlet is within 6’ of a sink or tub.
  • Electrical/Mechanical room housekeeping. No combustible storage allowed.
  • Overloaded circuits.  If circuits are overloaded, install extra circuits or use power taps.
  • Extension cords must be plugged into outlet or power tap directly, not piggybacked. Cords must be the proper size and must not used as substitute for permanent wiring. Cords must serve only one portable appliance that is grounded and UL listed for intended use.
Evacuation Plan
  • Evacuation Plan is required.
  • Caregivers must demonstrate the ability to safely evacuate residents within 3 minutes.
  • Evacuation drills must be held every 90 days. 
  • Records of drills must be maintained for 3 years.
  • Evacuation floor plan must be posted in prominent places and must be maintained current and accurate. The floor plan must show locations of fire extinguishers, fire exits and planned evacuation routes.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Proper extinguishers. Extinguishers must have a minimum rating of 2A10BC.  There must be at least one on each floor. Extinguishers must be placed so there is a maximum travel distance of 75’ from anywhere to extinguisher.
  • Training. Think “PASS” (Pull pin, Aim nozzle, Squeeze trigger, Sweep towards base of fire)
  • Locations. Place extinguishers near exit doors where possible, not exceeding maximum travel distance. They are to be properly mounted (maximum 5’ high if <40 lbs., maximum 3 ˝’ high if >40 lbs.  In all cases, minimum 4” above ground)
  • Maintained. Annual service by a qualified technician is required.

Flame Spread/Smoke Density for Wall & Ceiling Materials

  • Maximum flame spread: Class III (76-200).
  • Maximum smoke density: 450.
  • If more than 10% of combined wall and ceiling areas in a sleeping room or exit way is composed of readily combustible materials such as acoustical tile or wood paneling, such material must be treated with an approved intumescent surface coating. Exception:  Buildings supplied with an approved automatic sprinkler system 

Flammable Storage

  • Quantities limited to amount needed for cleaning & maintenance
  • Location. Flammable liquids shall be stored in approved containers and in approved locations (normally an outside shed would be appropriate)
  • Oily rags or similar materials shall be stored in metal, metal lined or other approved containers equipped with tight-fitting covers.


  • Gas furnace/water heater must be properly maintained and vented.
  • Clothes dryer lint trap must be maintained clean.

Heat Sources

  • Heating appliances must be installed with permit where applicable and according to manufacturers specifications.
  • Ignition sources are prohibited near fumes, clearance to combustibles to be maintained.
  • Fireplaces shall be protected with listed protective glass screen or metal mesh screen and anchored top and bottom.
  • Unvented heaters such as oil, gas, or kerosene shall not be used.
  • Portable heaters.  Tip over prevention and high temperature limiting features required. 3’ clearance from combustibles must be maintained.  Portable heaters shall not be used with electrical extension cords.
  • Matches/Lighters must be stored properly away from confused or disoriented residents.

Holiday Décor

  • Exit access shall not be obstructed by decorative materials.
  • Candles are not allowed for any decorations or ceremonies, except as approved by the fire authority prior to the event.
  • Ignition sources are not allowed within the vicinity of combustible materials.
  • Natural vegetation including Christmas trees must be discarded if there is any sign of dryness.
  • Christmas tree care. Trees are considered flame resistant only with high water content. Stump must be sawn off at an angle at least 1” above original cut. Tree must be mounted securely in stand with a watering reservoir. They must be watered daily. Maintain a high water level and do not permit the tree to dry out. Trees must be discarded if there are any sign of dryness, Keep tree away from heat sources, stairways, or escape routes.
  • Artificial Decorations shall be fire retardant
  • Lights. Use only UL listed miniature lights inside. Use only UL listed exterior lights outside. Do not staple lights, attach with insulated (plastic) hangers. Discard if damaged, Use only heavy duty grounded extension cords

Special Hazards

  • Oxygen cylinders shall be adequately secured to prevent from falling or being knocked over. Cylinders shall not be used or stored in a room where wood stoves, fireplaces or open flames are located.
  • Smoking is not allowed where oxygen containers are used or stored.  In addition, “No Smoking” signs shall be posted in these areas.  Smoking shall only be allowed in designated areas, and never in sleeping rooms.


Foster Homes

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Additional Department Information

Fire and Life Safety Department Contacts

Medford Fire-Rescue Fire & Life Safety Division
200 South Ivy Street, Room #180
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2300
Fax: (541) 774-2514
Contact: Acting Fire Marshal Chase Browning
Hours: Mon - Fri, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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