Most hotels and boarding houses used to require a fire certificate under the the Fire Precautions Act 1971, however the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has now superseded this, and the 'responsible person' is required to carry out a fire risk assessment. Guidance on fire risk assessments in sleeping accommodation can be downloaded from the government website which can be found by typing 'fire safety guidance' into your search engine.

People are at high risk in hotels and boarding houses as they are often:

  • Asleep;

  • In unfamiliar surroundings;

  • Under the influence of alcohol.

These factors mean that a high level of fire safety is needed such as:

  • Protected escape routes;

  • Automatic fire detection and alarms;

  • Emergency lighting;

  • Good management.

It is important that staff in hotels and boarding houses are adequately trained, we can supply practical training courses, or alternatively DVD type training programmes (see below).

Emergency plan:

Under the Fire Safety Order, there is a requirement to produce an emergency plan which must include evacuation of staff and guests.  It must also take account of disabled persons, and where people need assistance to evacuate the building, your emergency plan must make adequate provision without relying on the fire service. In other words YOU are responsible for getting ALL your staff and guests to safety.

Where accommodation is provided on upper floors, account must be taken of guests who depend on walking aids or wheelchairs, as more often than not lifts cannot be used if there is a fire. Many organisations use evacuation chairs for this purpose, although is other equipment that can achieve the same objective such as Ski Pads.  Although initially designed for patient evacuation in Hospitals there is no reason why Ski Pads cannot be  used for almost any evacuation situation.

Escape Routes:

'Protected' escape routes are constructed so as to maintain a fire and smoke free passage to open air for at least 30 minutes. This is achieved with fire resisting walls, and floors with fire resisting, self closing doors. It is the latter that usually proves to be the problem as fire doors are heavy and interfere with free movement.



Good staff training is essential in hotels & boarding houses. People will respond to staff telling them what to do whereas they seldom respond to a fire alarm on its own. The most dangerous time is through the night when guests are asleep and there are least staff on duty. It is essential that staff respond swiftly to ensure the safety of all. There is no substitute for good practical training sessions, however training videos and DVD's can be very useful for refresher and ongoing training.


People often wedge open fire doors in hotels, which is dangerous and illegal, and could attract an UNLIMITED FINE or a 2-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE, OR BOTH.


An alternative is to fit automatic self closing devices to fire doors that are integrated into the fire alarm system, so that when the alarm actuates fire doors close automatically. These can be hard wired (good idea to fit these during construction or refurbishment) or battery operated such as the 'DORGARD' or 'AGRIPPA'.


Aids for the deaf

Under the mandatory terms of the Disability Discrimination Act, effective 1st October 2004, all Hoteliers are obliged to make provision for the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing.


People with hearing deficiencies may not be able to hear a fire alarm, even worse if they are asleep. Again there are several ways of overcoming this problem. Hard wired systems can be installed, however these have the disadvantage that the room is 'tied up' for deaf people, or if it is occupied and a deaf person checks in there may be no other suitable adapted room.


Using the same technology as Dorgard, the DEAFGARD is a portable device that can be kept in reception and taken to any room.



For more information please email or ring 01282 691616











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