With numerous hotel fires over recent years, including at least 5 major fires this year, protecting your hotel against the threat of fire is an ongoing responsibility.
The constant changing footfall of the public, employees working on shift patterns and extended food production periods in the hotels’ kitchens makes the regular monitoring of operations challenging.
Here we look at the causes of some of the latest hotel fires, then the steps you can take to protect your hotel from the threat of fire as well as possible.
Recent Hotel Fires and Causes
The most recent hotel fire is that at the 5-star luxury Mandarin Oriental in London. Seeing famous stars such as Robbie Williams and Holly Valance fleeing its doors, fortunately no one was hurt in the incident in June and everyone got out safely. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, initial reports suggest it may have been caused by welding works taking place on the roof of the hotel.
The Gateway to Wales Hotel in Flintshire suffered a major fire on 18th December 2017, which saw the roof, first floor and most of the ground floor destroyed. After a month-long investigation, the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service have said the cause is likely to be electrical.
On the very same day last December, the Cameron House Hotel in Scotland suffered a devastating fire in which two guests unfortunately lost their lives. Again, whilst the investigation is ongoing, the staff on site at the time have reported seeing the Christmas tree in the reception area catch fire.
7 Steps to Protect Your Hotel
Fire Risk Assessment
Ensuring you have an up to date fire risk assessment is imperative in ensuring your existing fire protection systems are adequate and compliant. Existing fire risk assessments should be reviewed every three years, or immediately if any additions to a building take place or any change to the use of an area occurs. A fire risk assessment will also identify any areas of risk, including any non-compliances which will need to be addressed immediately. If these are not followed through, you are liable for prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Is your fire risk assessment up to date? You can get a quick online cost for a fire risk assessment from our instant quote calculator here.
Fire Alarm System
The category of your fire alarm system must be what is specified in your fire risk assessment. Regular maintenance of the whole fire alarm system ensures the system is kept in good working order. As well as the regular maintenance, your system should also be subject to a weekly test. This ensures the system is responding correctly in between maintenance visits. The weekly test identifies any faults in the system so they can be rectified immediately. All results need to be recorded in a fire safety log book.
Fire Safety Training
Ensuring all members of staff have received basic fire safety training is your responsibility. You also need to ensure you have a good ratio of employees trained as fire wardens. Therefore, with shift patterns taken into consideration, you’ll have the minimum required number of fire wardens on-site at any time.
Schedule a regular walkaround to ensure fire exits are kept free from clutter and not used for storage purposes. This is vital in ensuring staff and guests have a free route to exit. Equally, ensuring your fire alarm maintenance contract includes emergency lighting will ensure escape routes are adequately lit in the event of an evacuation.
Whilst the risk of being targeted by arsonists can’t be completely mitigated, it can be minimised by simple site housekeeping. Keep storage and rubbish disposal areas clear and lock away flammable materials. Also ensure delivery/loading areas are locked and secured when not in use. CCTV is also a good deterrent of criminal activity.
Fire Retardant Materials
All soft furnishings, beds, sofas, carpets, indoor and outdoor furniture must be fire retardant. This helps to significantly reduce the risk of fire spreading quickly throughout the hotel. This also includes any temporary items brought into the hotel such as Christmas trees and decorations.
Accreditation of Contractors
It’s suspected the fire at the Mandarin Oriental was caused by welding works on the roof. To minimise risk, it’s wise to ensure that any contractors working on-site are accredited by the appropriate bodies for their work. For example, in this case, the contractor should be Hot Work compliant and have a Hot Work permit.
BusinessWatch are specialists in the installation of complete fire safety and security solutions for the hotel and leisure industry. To discuss your hotel’s requirements with one of our industry experts, please call us on 0808 108 0882 or complete your details and we’ll get back to you asap.
Also, for a comprehensive guide to ensuring your hotel is compliant with fire legislation, download our free Fire Safety Compliance Guide.