FIRE SAFETY IN THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR
In the hospitality industry, you are responsible not only for your own safety but that of your employees and guests/customers.
Some hospitality businesses (such as hotels) are occupied 24 hours a day, putting your business at a higher risk of a fire. Especially considering most, if not all, hospitality businesses include kitchens or catering facilities.
Risks of your premises
You may wonder what the risks within your hospitality business are, which is why we have put together the most common fire risks within your industry below.
Quite obviously, kitchens present a high fire risk, and most hospitality businesses have kitchens or catering facilities. Kitchens require gas, flame and electricity for food preparation which is a huge fire risk.
For example, deep fat fryers which are commonly used in restaurant kitchens may get overfilled. This can lead to the oil being more exposed and thus more likely to be ignited and the kitchen going up in flames.
Smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, pipes etc.) that are not discarded properly pose a fire risk to your business. If these materials are not put out/discarded properly, they can come into contact with combustible materials in your premises.
For example, although most rooms are smoke-free, a guest could fall asleep in their bed or an armchair at your hotel with a lit cigarette, which can ignite a fire if it comes into contact with any fabric in the room.
The majority of hospitality businesses have electrical appliances available to guests. For instance, the majority of hotels have electrical appliances in all of their rooms (TVs, mini-fridges, hairdryers, kettles etc.). Moreover, guests may bring their own electrical appliances (e.g. hair straighteners) which can become a fire risk if they are not used correctly. For example, guests may overload plug sockets, which can lead to overheating, causing a fire hazard.
Hospitality businesses such as hotels and guesthouses tend to have many storage rooms. Storage rooms can be a fire hazard for the reason that they may be filled with flammable materials.
And in the case of hotels and guesthouses, they would likely be filled with bedding and towels, which are flammable. Moreover, if these materials are not stored correctly (too cramped/too close to a heater) the fire risk increases even more.
Shockingly, 47% of all fires attended by fire crews in the UK are classed as deliberate (Arson Prevention Forum). The designated ‘responsible person’ has a duty of minimising the risk of arson on the premises. As the responsible person, protecting yourself from such a crime is vital for your safety and for your business.
Hospitality fire safety tips
Whatever hospitality business you’re in, there are fire risks. But, fortunately enough, there are ways to minimise the risks and protect your business as much as possible in the event of a fire.
- Ensure all electrical equipment is tested annually for safety using a PAT tester. Any faults will be recognised and can then be resolved before causing a fire
- Ensuring all staff are trained to use equipment in the correct way (e.g. kitchen staff should know not to overfill a deep fat fryer)
- For guests that smoke in rooms, installing fire alarms in each room along with signage that clearly states that smoking is prohibited is a good idea. Guests feel like they won’t be able to ‘get away with it’, therefore preventing them from smoking in rooms
- In the event of a fire, ensure all staff are fully trained for preventative actions and know all the procedures. For example, the evacuation process, the correct fire extinguisher for the type of fire etc.
- Put security measures in place such as CCTV, locks etc. to put off arsonists. Keeping your bins stored safely is also a good idea (bins are commonly used for igniting fires)
Owning and running a hospitality business is more than keeping your guests and staff happy and entertained. It’s also about keeping them safe and making them aware of safety risks, such as fire hazards.