Fire Safety for Apart Hotels and Serviced Apartments

Published: 1 Jul 2019

Unfortunately there has recently been another serious fire at an apartment block in London. The fire occurred in the afternoon of the Sunday 9th June 2019 at the De Pass Gardens, Barking Riverside building. The block of flats from ground to 6th floor was engulfed in flames and around 100 fire fighters attended the scene.

Thankfully no one was seriously hurt and all families evacuated the building safety and were later taken to temporary accommodation.

The actual cause of the fire which destroyed 20 homes and damaged a further 10 homes has yet to be confirmed with investigations currently being carried out to find out the cause of the fire. The apartment block featured wooden balconies and it is important that residents/guests do not use BBQs on balconies

This significant fire in an apartment block 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 people staying there but to also protect the business and the buildings.

As a business you have a legal requirement to ensure that guests and residents are aware of any fire procedures at the building and to ensure their safety in an event of a fire. Apart Hotels and Serviced Apartments are classified as hotel accommodation by the Fire and Rescue Services and therefore it is important to ensure that fire safety management and fire detection and alarm systems comply with current legislation (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005). There are a number of things you should do to reduce the risk of fire and improve fire safety management which includes 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.
  • Ensure that the fire risk assessment is reviewed at least once a year or sooner due to significant changes or a fire incident.
  • An L2 fire alarm system should be present for all Apart Hotels and Serviced Apartment buildings (at least one detector, typically the heat detector for the kitchen area should be linked to the building fire alarm panel.) This ensures that there is a fully automatic fire detection and alarm system on site which removes the human element from raising the alarm for all guests.
  • Ensure that all staff are aware of fire procedures at site – this includes both day and out of hours procedures.
  • A documented out of hours evacuation procedure should be readily available and should be included in the current fire risk assessment.
  • A stay put strategy may not be suitable for all serviced apartments and Apart Hotels. The current fire evacuation policy/ procedure for your building(s) should be reviewed by a suitably qualified fire risk assessor.
  • Provide guests/customers with fire information – it is important that the fire action notices in each apartment have what to do if fire is detected or the fire alarm is activated clearly documented. A plan of the nearest fire exit from each department 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 on balconies.
  • Ensure all fire 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).
  • Carry out regular testing of the fire alarm system, have fire extinguishers and emergency light systems tested by external fire safety company.
  • Ensure that in-house checks are carried out for weekly call point testing and monthly fire door, final exit door, extinguishers and emergency lighting checks.

For support or further information please contact CSC.