Following on from the recent tragedy of Grenfell Tower, there is once again a heightened presence of fire safety. Fire safety isn’t a new concept – it seems, unfortunately, that it takes a disaster to suddenly renew public interest around the subject.
There are over 45,000 hotels in the UK and those who have been in the hotel industry for long enough will remember the Penhallow hotel fire of 2007 in Newquay. It was descried as the worst UK hotel fire in 40 years with three people dying in the blaze. It was found that fire detectors were not working and there was no adequate fire risk assessment carried out on the building. As a result the owners were fined a total of £142,000.
This is unfortunately not an isolated case and lessons have not been learned since. You only need to filter through the industry news on our site to find multiple stories of hotels in breach of fire safety regulations.
To name a few;
- Golders Green Hotel – £20,000 fine
- Cutlers Hotel – Owner received 8 months in jail
- International Hotel – 6 months in jail and £40,000 fine
- Albert Guesthouse – £20,000 Fine
Click the links above above for more information on each. It highlights the importance of installing the correct fire protection and prevention equipment into your hotel.
The issues surrounding fires in hotels
From small B&Bs to large hotels, the main legal responsibilities and challenges are the same. There are a number of high risk areas such as the kitchen and store rooms where flammable items and cleaning products are kept. Ensuring these store rooms are monitored and are kept as tidy as possible will minimise the risk of fire
The risks also lie with the guests staying at the hotel, as people are on their holiday they may not be thinking about potential of a fire break out and carelessly discarding smoking materials can mean they come into contact with combustible materials, thus starting a fire. Evacuating people quickly and efficiently, can also be a challenge, ensuring they do not try to bring their belongings with them can be tricky.
Top tips for compliance
Noncompliance with the Fire Safety Order can have serious consequences, as the hotel owners in the above stories discovered.
- Ensuring that means of escape routes are kept clear is one of the most important fire safety measures for a hotel.
- To have fire doors fitted with automatic closures – 64% of premises visited by the fire service had fire doors wedged open, installing automatic closures will ensure the doors close in the event of a fire alarm sounding.
- Ensure the fire risk assessment is kept up to date and is carried out by a trained professional so nothing is overseen
- Make sure all of your fire detection equipment, such as smoke detectors, are regularly maintained by a reputable company and that your fire alarms are no older than 10 years as they become less effective. Also if your premises contains more than 10 beds your fire alarm system must be addressable
- Provide adequate fire safety training to all of your staff and conduct regular training updates to refresh and renew. This could include drills and demonstrations on how to use the firefighting equipment.
- Ensure escape plans are easily visible in the hotel rooms and corridors and the escape routes are indicated with the correct signage and emergency lights illuminate the pathway.
- Fire suppression systems such as sprinklers should be installed in all buildings taller than 30m however, it is best practice to ensure your hotel or guest house has sprinklers fitted what ever the height.
If you require more information on how to ensure your hotel is complaint or require one of the fire protection systems mentioned above then give us a call today on 0845 402 3045 or email one of our friendly sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch shortly.