Fire Safety Awareness - Devon & Somerset

The importance of a safe and secure building is paramount, irrespective of whether it is somebody's flat or the world's biggest skyscraper. Indeed, UK fire law is continually reassessed to ensure owners or managers of these buildings are doing all they can to prevent or reduce the threat of a blaze from breaking out. While these measures are in place, it is then up to those in charge of a building to implement changes, such as a fire risk assessment or fire alarm installation, so that those occupying it are properly protected.

Which is why after a series of hotel fires in the south-west, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue has decided to do more to make sure more people understand fire regulations in place in the UK. The authority will be hosting several events - aimed at owners of guesthouses and hotels - next month with the aim of doing just that. "We want to give these business owners the information they need to comply with legislation," Bideford station manager Graham Rooke told the North Devon Gazette. "We'll also show them the effects of fire; how devastating it can be and how quickly it can spread. The events are free and so far we have about 200 people booked into them but we would like to spread the word and get as many as possible to attend." Fire safety officers in the area have witnessed several serious conflagrations over the last few years, costing lives and ending businesses.

The news provider reports that Tantons, a hotel in Bideford, was fined £40,000 by Exeter Crown Court because of a breach of fire regulations. Mr Rooke and his team hope to eliminate the chances of this happening again through their roadshows. But it's not just in Devon. Last October, the Hull Daily Mail reported that the Gilson Hotel in Feren was forced to shut after local safety inspectors found it was in breach of laws. It revealed that fire alarms were not working and exits were obstructed, posing a huge threat to those staying and working in the building.

Owners of all commercial properties in England and Wales must carry out a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Responsible Person can face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine if they fail to comply with the legislation. As part of this, the government has already published a fire risk assessment guide on sleeping accommodation, designed to provide a Responsible Person with further guidance on fire precautions. On the subject of fire alarms, the guide says that control and indicating equipment should be tested every 24 hours, while fire-warning systems should be tested once a week.