London Fire Brigade warn night club owners of fire safety responsibilities

London Fire Brigade chiefs have warned the owners of clubs, pubs and restaurants in the London not to be complacent about fire safety, following the fire that killed 230 people in a Brazil nightclub.

The Fire Safety Order 2005,places responsibility for fire safety with business owners / responsible persons who are required to have up-to-date fire safety emergency plans, including a fire risk assessment, which take into account how people would evacuate from a premises in the event of a fire. London Fire Brigade inspects and carries out FRA audits in  thousands of commercial buildings each year, including nightclubs, and if business owners are complying with the FSO they can be fined or even sent to prison. A few years ago, one company was fined £542,000 including costs!

Following the tragic fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, London’s fire chiefs are asking business owners to check that their fire safety plans are up-to-date and that they have completed a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment of their business premises. Issues that need to be considered include:

• Staircases and corridors should be kept clear

• Fire exit doors must not be blocked or locked from the outside

• Exit routes should be well marked • Fire extinguishers – roughly one for every 200 sq metres of floor space

• Staff should be trained in what to do in the event of a fire including fire marshal training London and disabled fire evacuation training

London Fire Brigade are also asking the public  to report to their local fire station any potential breaches of fire safety laws or obvious fire risks, for example blocked fire escapes or overflowing rubbish.

Steve Turek, the London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation, said: “The events in Brazil this weekend are a tragedy but they should act as a stark reminder to all business owners, and especially nightclub owners, that there is no room for complacency when it comes to fire safety. Businesses must be able to show that they have thought about how they will keep people safe if the worst should happen and they do have a fire.

“The London Fire Brigade regularly inspects the fire safety of nightclubs and thousands of other businesses. If people are breaking fire safety laws, we will have no hesitation in prosecuting them, which could result in a fine totalling tens of thousands of pounds or in the worst cases a prison sentence. Similarly, if people see things they think is a fire risk, tell the business’ owner and if they don’t do anything, tell the local fire station.”

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