Fire Safety: Messages from Garry Marshall, Deputy Head of Fire Safety

We at Safe Host attended the Association of Self Caterer’s annual conference in Glasgow just a couple of weeks ago. Amongst the array of incredible speakers, one stood out for the health and safety in holiday lets.

Garry Marshall, Deputy Head of Fire Safety, went through the various processes that a holiday let owner needs in order to comply with fire safety regulations. These are discussed on our Fire Safety page (internal link), however, there were some best practice recommendations that we found extremely useful.

  1. The first, and perhaps most important for guests, is the advice to quickly escape from any fires in the property and to call emergency services. If needed this can be done by giving them a quick route out of the building, and advising them against any acts of ‘heroism’ including tackling large fires themselves.
  2. Equally as important however this time for holiday let owners, is the presence of interlinked and mains wired smoke alarms. This is present in the guidance for holiday let owners, and necessary when welcoming guests int your property.
  3. Reviews of the above are also essential, as things can go wrong when fire safety tools are left unchecked for longs periods of time.

 Further, Mr. Marshall also introduced a piece of incredibly useful guidance in terms of your Fire Risk Assessment. The attached guidance illustrates the various steps that a holiday let owner needs to consider, and importantly get down on paper. The steps are as follows:

  1. What is a fire hazard? Have a think about where a fire could start in your property, and how quickly this can spread. This means looking at any heaters, electrical equipment, matches etc; and what is nearby them that could help the fire to spread.
  2. Who is at risk? Your guests – just an outline of how many people your property can hold
  3. What is your plan to keep people safe? As above, generally the best advice is to give them a path to leave the property quickly. However this can also include extinguishers, fire blankets, or any other protective aid.
  4. Record, plan and train. It is important to outline this on paper.
  5. Maintain your fire risk assessment. This point just promotes holiday let owners to review their fire risk assessment regularly. Record any alterations to the home, any addition of potential hazards.

For more information, please take a look at the UK Government’s Fire Safety Guides.

Fire (Scotland) Act 2005

2006 No 456 Fire Safety