Fire strategy for hotel owners – what are your responsibilities?

19 September 2022

With hundreds of staff and guests (some who may only be within your property for a short period of time), and dozens of potential fire risks, fire safety is an extremely high priority for hotels. That’s why it’s vital as a hotel owner you have a comprehensive fire strategy in place.

What is a fire strategy?

A fire strategy is a complex document specifically tailored to a building, reviewing all aspects of the building’s fire safety. Because every building is unique in terms of design, occupancy and usage, your hotel needs a unique fire strategy to reduce the risk of a fire and ensure the safety of the people in the building.

What should a hotel fire strategy include?

Fire risk assessment

Any fire strategy should begin with a comprehensive risk assessment. A fire risk assessment for hotels should identify fire hazards and rate them in terms of high, moderate and low-risk. For example, a hotel kitchen would be considered a high-risk area due to open flames and the equipment used in there. A fire risk assessment for hotels should also take into consideration any at-risk individuals (both guests and staff) within the building such as wheelchair users.

For each risk you identify, a plan should be put in place to eliminate (if possible), reduce and protect people from that risk.

Fire detection & warning system

Realistically it’s not always going to be possible to prevent a fire, so it’s vital you have an adequate detection and warning system in case there is a fire in your hotel. This should include things like smoke detectors and alarms, which should be in both rooms, staff areas and common places such as hallways.

Escape routes & fire doors

Every floor within your hotel needs to have an appropriate number of fire doors, with clearly marked escape routes from all points in case of evacuation. Fire exits in your hotel need to lead to safe areas outside of your building and guests and staff should be aided by clear signage.

Emergency lighting

If a fire causes the electrics in your hotel to fail you’ll need to ensure emergency routes, signs and exits are clearly marked with emergency lights. This is especially important if a fire breaks out in the middle of the night and visibility is poor, or you have very little natural light coming into the building generally.

Safety meeting point

In case of a fire and subsequent evacuation you’ll need to have a designated meeting point that is safe and secure and accommodate all staff and guests. Depending on the size of your hotel and number of guests you may need multiple meeting points. For a small hotel it may be sufficient to have just two; one for guests and one for staff.

Firefighting equipment

For every 200m² of floor space you should provide a water (red) fire extinguisher. And additional firefighting equipment should be supplied at other relevant points. For example, if cooking oil (Class F) fires are a risk in your kitchen, you should install wet chemical (yellow) fire extinguishers. Carbon dioxide (black) or powder (blue) fire extinguishers should be provided where there is a risk of electric or gas fire. You might also consider additional equipment, such as fire blankets close to fire hazards, for example in a kitchen.

Staff training & competent persons

All staff should be trained in fire safety procedures, including how to raise an alarm, how to fight fires, and how to evacuate the building. And this training needs to be repeated frequently, especially when you hire new staff or make alterations to your building and fire safety plan. Refresher training should also be provided if your hotel fire risk assessment flags anything specific or new. A ‘Competent Persons or Persons’ should be appointed as Fire Safety Officers with specific responsibilities.

Help with your hotel fire safety strategy

The above is not a complete list of every single thing you will need in your fire strategy and because every hotel is different, your plan needs to be completely bespoke to you, your building and its occupants. Our fire safety consultancy service can help your business put together a comprehensive fire strategy unique to the demands of your hotel. We can also help you review and update your fire strategy during your fire risk assessment for hotels. Contact Total Fire Group today for more information. 

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