Tragically, another serious fire occurred in a hotel in Perth over the festive period at the New County Hotel. The fire occurred early morning on Monday 2nd January 2023 and resulted in the death of 3 people and a dog, 11 others were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation but did not require hospitalisation.
Emergency Services were on scene quickly at around 05:10 involving 60 fire fighters, 21 ambulance crews and 9 fire appliances at its peak. The fire was extinguished at around 06:30 where the bodies were found after the subsequent search.
The actual cause of the fire is yet to be determined as the investigation is still underway. It was reported by a guest that the fire was in the room next to theirs and when they heard the alarm and went to escape, the smoke was so thick they could only see 2 inches in front of them. Another guest reported they were in the room above the fire and could see burning embers falling to the ground as they ran.
This significant and rapid fire in a hotel emphasises the importance of fire safety and why companies must ensure they have a high level of fire safety on site, to not only protect the residents, but also to the business and premises.
As a business you have a legal requirement to ensure that guests and residents are aware of any fire procedures within the premises and to ensure their safety in the event of a fire. There are a number of things you should ensure are in place and maintained to reduce the risk of fire and improve fire safety management; this can include the following:
- Have an up-to-date fire risk assessment completed by a competent fire risk assessor which has been actioned and reviewed by the responsible person at site.
- A documented day time and night-time fire evacuation procedures should be readily available and should be included in the current fire risk assessment and reviewed.
- Ensure that all staff are aware of fire procedures at site – this includes both daytime and night-time procedures.
- Carry out regular servicing of the fire alarm system (6 monthly), fire extinguishers (annually) and emergency light systems (6 monthly) by an external fire safety company.
- Ensure other servicing is carried out that could cause fire such as gas servicing and tightness test, electrical installation conditioning report (fixed wiring) and portable appliance testing.
- Ensure that in-house checks are carried out and recorded for weekly call point testing and monthly fire door, final exit door, extinguishers, and emergency lighting checks.
- Staff need adequate fire training, certified fire marshal training for those appointed and planned fire evacuation training at least every 6 months.
- Night staff should complete sufficient fire/ security walks (at least 3) during the silent hours.
- Provide guests/ customers with adequate fire information – it is important that the fire action notices in each room have 'what to do if a fire is detected' or the fire alarm activated. A plan of the nearest fire exit from each room is also necessary to help guests to navigate quickly and swiftly from the building in the event of an evacuation.
- Do not allow the use of BBQs or smoking on balconies.
- Ensure all final exits are kept clear and free from clutter and hazards.
- Ensure fire doors are kept in good condition and are not wedged open or obstructed at any time.
- Ensure bin storage is in a secure place which doesn’t allow access by unauthorised people (bin store areas are often targets for arsonists).
For support or further information on fire safety/ procedures please contact CSC.