Hotelier handed record fines for fire safety breaches
A massive £200,000 fine plus costs and a four-month suspended prison sentence, handed down to a central London hotel owner for putting lives at risk by flouting fire safety laws, is the latest in a number of high profile prosecutions sending out a strong message to those that own and manage hotels about the importance of fire safety.
When fire safety officers visited the six-floor, 18-room hotel to carry out a routine inspection they discovered numerous fire safety breaches, including failure to install adequate fire doors on the escape staircase and storage areas in the basement, and ensure that all emergency exits were kept clear and accessible.
These findings highlight the need to safely manage fire doors, which play a critical role in fire safety. They can, paradoxically, be seen as barrier to the free flow of people around a building – a contradiction of their function to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.
According to the very latest fire service statistics the hospitality industry has recorded 10,000 significant fire incidents during the past four years. Whilst kitchens and bedrooms are clearly the most dangerous flashpoints, the figures also show that fires can start in almost any part of the building, particularly laundry rooms, bathrooms, toilets and corridors, a risk to guests and staff alike.