Many mental disorders are associated with an increased risk of fire setting. As a result, its assessment and management is an important part of the management of people with psychiatric disorders. As more patients are managed in the community, away from the protection of high levels of hospital staff and fire regulations, such assessments are vital to ensure appropriate and safe placement. The presence of fire regulations in hostels offers only limited protection. Further, as residences with four people or less are not subject to fire regulations, assessment by psychiatric staff may have to extend to the fabric of the placement. Despite psychiatric hostels tending not to accept patients who are ‘a fire risk’, figures suggest that fires in hostels are common. One health authority reported 26 fires in hostels over 12 months (Moxom, personal communication).
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