Sussex incident raises concerns around hotel fire safety

15 April 2023

A recent fire at the Midhurst Hotel in Sussex has raised concerns around fire safety in hotels. This has prompted hotel owners and managers to review their fire safety policies and procedures.

The incident, which occurred in March 2023, involved a fire that broke out in a guest room and quickly spread. This 400-year-old hotel was housing 30 people including Ukrainian refugees. Fortunately, all guests and staff were safely evacuated, but the damage to the building was extensive, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Fire risk assessments for hotels

This incident has highlighted the importance of regular hotel fire risk assessments, which are essential for identifying and addressing potential fire hazards in hotels. A fire risk assessment for hotels should be carried out by a qualified individual who has received the necessary training. They should identify fire hazards and rate them in terms of high, moderate and low risk.

What should a hotel fire risk assessment include?

Hotel fire risk assessments should be carried out at least annually and cover all aspects of fire safety. This includes the number and location of emergency exits and fire doors, emergency lighting, safety meeting points, firefighting equipment, and the training of staff in fire safety procedures.

It is also essential to have a strong fire safety policy in place. This should include clear guidelines on fire safety procedures for staff and guests, and regular fire safety training for all staff members. Fire safety policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain effective and compliant with current regulations.

In addition to these measures, there are a number of other steps that hotel owners and managers can take to minimise the risk of fire. These include ensuring that all electrical equipment is regularly inspected and maintained, that smoking is strictly prohibited in all areas of the hotel, and that all flammable materials are stored safely and away from potential sources of ignition.

It is also important to ensure that all fire safety equipment is regularly serviced and tested and that any faults or issues are addressed promptly. Fire safety equipment includes fire alarms, smoke detectors, emergency lighting, and fire extinguishers.

What to do in the event of a fire?

In the event of a fire, it is crucial to have a clear and effective evacuation plan in place. This should include the location of emergency exits, the use of fire escapes and stairwells, and the assembly point for guests and staff once they have evacuated the building. It’s vital that all guests and staff are aware of these plans in the event of a fire.

Hotel owners and managers should also consider the potential risks posed by guests with disabilities or mobility issues. Ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to assist them during an evacuation can save valuable time.

Help with your fire safety strategy

The recent fire at the Midhurst Hotel in Sussex has highlighted the importance of regular hotel fire risk assessments, robust fire safety policies, and effective fire safety equipment and procedures.

If you’re looking for assistance with developing a tailored fire safety strategy and hotel fire risk assessment, our fire safety consultancy service can provide the support you need.

We also offer assistance with reviewing and updating your fire strategy during your hotel’s fire risk assessment. For further details, contact Total Fire Group today.

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