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The Importance of Fire Safety in Hospitality

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The importance of fire safety within the hospitality sector was recently highlighted by the fire at Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond, in which two men sadly lost their lives, a historic building was badly damaged and a business closed.

Although the cause of the blaze is still not yet known, this horrendous incident has emphasised the significant dangers of fire, the distressing results and tragic consequences it can have on businesses, employees and guests.

Fire safety is therefore imperative to protect your guests and staff.  It is essential to install the correct fire safety equipment throughout the building, particularly in kitchens and catering facilities. In addition, staff must be trained to meet the required fire safety standards.

Fire safety equipment and extraction systems

All hotels and restaurants should be equipped with suitable fire safety equipment. The kitchen is one of the most hazardous areas and special measures should be taken to ensure health and safety standards are maintained.

For example, extraction systems are designed to minimise the risks of fire and fumes in the kitchen. Effective ventilation and appropriate ducting is necessary – and it is equally important that these systems are properly maintained and regularly cleaned.

Commercial kitchens are in constant use - grease and dirt can accumulate on the surfaces of extractor fans and ventilation ducts. Many fires which start in the kitchen are caused by inadequate maintenance and cleaning. A build-up of grease is not only an environmental health hazard, it is a major fire risk.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that you must identify the hazards within your premises and remove or reduce any risks and fire hazards. Extraction systems must be included in fire risk assessments, with action taken to minimise any potential fire risk to buildings and occupants.

Furthermore, failure to carry out proper cleaning and maintenance could lead to a breach of health and safety legislation and could invalidate your insurance policy.

Commenting on this subject, Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, said: “Fire is one of the biggest safety and business risks that faces the hospitality industry. The most common cause of insurance company fire claims involves deep fat fryers and the kitchen extract duct.”

Fire prevention

Peter explains: “Make sure your fire risk assessments are undertaken by a competent person and all recommendations have been actioned. You must also ensure that deep fat fryers are serviced and working correctly; and that the kitchen fume extract duct is cleaned at least twice a year.”

“All businesses in the hospitality sector must also provide suitable fire-fighting equipment, which includes a fire suppression system, wet chemical fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Staff need to be well-trained in fire safety and practice fire evacuations must be carried out regularly.”

Food Alert provides clients with comprehensive fire risk assessments to ensure that the environment is safe, and the potential risks of fire are minimised. We also deliver effective online and classroom based fire safety training to help your business meet the legal requirements of the Fire Safety Order 2005.

For further information on dealing with fire risk within your business either, if a customer, contact our Advice Line or call us on 020 7244 1900 or email enquiries@foodalert.com