Earlier this week, more than 100 firefighters tackled a major blaze at a hotel in west London.
The fire at a Travelodge in Brentford caused the evacuation of some 160 staff and guests. Luckily, there were no injuries and the cause of the fire is now being investigated.
Fires in hotels are more common than many suppose. In the year to April 2019, there were 613 fires in the UK in hotels, B&Bs and hostels.
As the Festive season gets underway, hotels will be busier than usual, with more guests and lots of office parties. The risk of fire at Christmas is greater at this time of year.
As a specialist company involved in the design, supply and installation of advanced glazing systems, here’s our six-point guide to fire safety in hotels.
Fire risk assessment
Having an up-to-date fire risk assessment is more than a sensible precaution. It’s a regulatory requirement that allows a hotel to operate and have valid insurance.
That independent assessment should be reviewed at least every three years and whenever there are changes to the hotel’s layout or renovation works.
Failure to do so could lead to prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, and to temporary or permanent closure.
Fire alarm system
The category of fire alarm system will be specified from the fire risk assessment, and must be compliant with it.
However, it’s not simply about having a system installed. It must be regularly maintained and tested every week, with any faults noted in a safety logbook.
In a recent student hostel fire in Bolton, residents said that corridor alarms went off – which they couldn’t hear. But, worse, alarms in their rooms did not activate. Again, perhaps luckily, there were no fatalities.
Fire safety training
Every member of staff should receive basic fire safety training. They should all know what to do in the event of fire, and the location of fire extinguishers. They should also know how to use them.
We wrote recently about the need for seasonal staff to also be fire trained. At Christmas, that means ensuring that every temporary or part-time member of staff is trained.
Certain members of staff should also be given additional responsibilities – for example, to ensure the safe evacuation of guests on each floor of the hotel.
With a hotel operating 24 hours a day, that means having staff with enhanced training across shifts.
Minimising arson risk
Arson can and does happen, and must therefore be planned for. Storage areas should be kept clear and flammable materials locked away. Having a very obvious CCTV system is another good deterrent.
Let’s not forget the 1974 Worsley Hotel Fire in London which killed seven people – and which was started deliberately.
Or, this year, the Shedden Hall Hotel fire in Torquay in which the hotel was entirely destroyed.
Fire Retardant Materials
It goes without saying that all soft furnishings including beds, chairs and carpets should be fire retardant. While that doesn’t make them fire resistant, it will inhibit the spread of fire.
And at this time of year, it’s also worth considering festive decorations and Christmas trees. For example, positioning a Christmas tree right beside a set of curtains is probably not a good idea.
In the event off fire, staff and guests need to evacuate safety. That’s where our range of advanced internal screens, fire doors and curtain walling systems come in.
They provide safe evacuation routes for up to 120 minutes, protecting against fire, heat and toxic gases.
The larger or more complex the building, the greater the need for higher levels of horizontal and vertical protection.
Don’t forget, fires in hotels often happen at night and guests will be disorientated, having perhaps never stayed in that hotel before.
At Wrightstyle, we are expert in the design, fabrication and installation of advanced systems to protect life and property.
Fire might be a rare occurrence, but they do happen, and must be protected against. Wrightstyle’s systems do just that.