Thursday, 7 October 2010
Hoteliers are being warned to check fire safety equipment and procedures at their premises after The Belfry Hotel in Cheshire was fined £75k for breaching fire safety codes.
A routine visit (in April 2008) by the fire service to the 160-bedroom Hallmark Hotel revealed such severe safety issues that Fire Safety Officers closed the hotel immediately. They found numerous faulty smoke detectors and substandard fire exits, while the hotel’s third floor failed to contain a single working fire alarm.
Staff were also found to have not been properly trained in fire safety. Lee Shears, manager for Community Fire Protection at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fire safety is a key part of good business management and the Hallmark Hotel Group showed little or no regard for the safety of their guests or employees and the result was a prosecution.”
The Belfry Hotel pleaded guilty to three counts of serious breaches of the regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at Chester Crown Court on Monday (4 October), paying £25k for each offence and £53k in costs.
Judge Elgin Edwards told the court that the legislation is there to ensure the protection of the public,“For people who run hotels, fire security is particularly important,” he said. “This company carried on trading and taking guests when quite clearly these guests were put at substantial risk.”
The Belfry Hotel was given permission to reopen four days later after fixing fire safety problems and installing the required equipment.
IFEDA comment: If anyone is unsure of their responsibilities with regards to the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order IFEDA members are only to happy to help and advise especially with regards to Fire Risk Assessments BUT as the above case shows just don’t ignore the problem, your local authorities will close buildings and prosecute when they deem it necessary.