Fire prevention is essential for all businesses, but for hotels with large numbers of people on site, it is especially important. Providing a safe environment for your customers and staff isn’t just a legal and moral requirement, it also helps maintain customer confidence in your business. After all, nobody wants to stay in a hotel with a poor safety record.
What does the law say?
For England and Wales, fire safety for businesses is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (there is separate, but similar legislation for Scotland and Northern Ireland). This makes the owner and/or employees of a business accountable for fire safety and sets out minimum safety standards for non-domestic premises. Ultimate responsibility lies with the company’s designated “Responsible Person”, who will usually be the employer, owner, landlord or occupier, depending on the specific situation.
What do I need to do?
First you need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment to establish potential hazards. A good place to start is the government’s 5-point check list. You should then do anything you can to minimize the risk from any hazards and put in place an emergency plan in case there actually is a fire. It’s also vitally important that you get your smoke detectors and fire alarms professionally tested on a regular basis. Smoke detectors should be checked weekly and the whole system quarterly. As expert fitters and testers of fire alarms in Bristol this is a service we are happy to provide.
What about my staff and customers?
Once you’ve established potential hazards, found ways to mitigate them and drawn up a fire safety plan, you need to share this with your staff and provide any appropriate training. You must also make sure all of your guests know what to do in the event of a fire, including what the fire alarm sounds like and where the fire assembly point is. Most hotels choose to provide basic fire safety information on the backs of guestroom doors and give a basic overview of fire safety procedures during check-ins.
What happens if I get it wrong?
Fire safety for businesses is enforced by your local fire and rescue service. They carry out inspections and, if they feel your risk assessments and fire safety precautions are not up to scratch, they can take steps to ensure your compliance. They can provide you with an improvement plan, issue an enforcement order, or even take you to court, which can result in fines or even a prison sentence. Minor penalties can include a fine of up to £5,000 and major penalties can carry an unlimited fine plus up to two years in prison.