The requirements

If you have a holiday property you need to comply with the fire safety law. An analysis of the risk that fire represents will allow you to take action to have in place adequate fire safety arrangements to protect the lives of guests that choose to stay with you.

A suitable fire extinguisher must be provided on every floor and it should be regularly checked and serviced. A fire blanket must be available in the kitchen in clear sight.

All furniture must be manufactured from fire-resistant materials., otherwise, they must be treated with a fire retardant coating. Check the manufacturer’s label on items of furniture, which cannot be removed as this is information on the materials used to make the item. Any upholstered items must have a filling that is fire resistant. All furnishings must pass the ‘match resilience test’ and the ‘cigarette test’. Mattresses and bed bases must have a label that shows that they meet BS7177 – a safety standard set down by law.

Any furniture or antiques made before 1950 are exempt by the law and wouldn’t need to be treated with fire retardant coatings. Any other furniture and furnishings need to be tested

The owner or property manager could do the fire risk assessment by following a five-step procedure to identify the hazards, evaluate the risk, and mitigate these hazards.

  1. Identifying fire hazards 

  • Sources of ignition
  • Sources of fuel
  • Sources of oxygen

Here, we need to list all things in the property that can produce a flame or a spark and can be anything from a box of matches to a gas stove to a malfunctioning power coupler. Fuel sources refer to items that quickly catch fire – paper, candles, alcohol, paint thinner, etc.

Lastly, the person reporting must note all places that can feed oxygen to a live-fire and cause it to grow and spread.

Identify people at risk 

  • People who live on the premises
  • Neighbours to the property
  • People who are especially at risk

The report must note all people that live on the property, as a potential fire directly impacts them and who are more likely to get injured – disabled, mentally challenged – should be highlighted. People in adjacent properties, who would suffer from a fire, should also be listed.

Evaluate and mitigate risks

  • Evaluate the risk of a fire starting
  • Evaluate the risk of people getting injured
  • Remove fire hazards
  • Protect people by introducing fire precautions

We must note the likelihood of any fire starting on the property. If there is danger, it must be corrected if possible. Flammable materials must be kept away from any ignition sources, and if possible, they must be placed in flame-resistant containers. Bedroom doors must not be blocked and should be easy to open and escape if there is an emergency. Faulty electrical appliances must be repaired/replaced immediately, as this could be a risk of starting a fire. Too many appliances hooked to the same socket pose a greater chance of producing a spark or short-circuiting the network. If not in use, those must be unplugged until needed. If used, they must be spread out to reduce the load over a single power socket.

Record, inform, instruct and train 

  • Record any significant issues and report them further up
  • Discuss and work with other responsible people and schedule necessary repairs
  • Prepare an emergency plan for evacuation from the building
  • Inform and instruct relevant people on the property on how to maintain fire safety
  • Provide training to the residents if necessary

After tackling possible issues on the go, the person who does the assessment must advise the property owner on how to improve the property’s fire safety. If necessary, they must also provide information and assistance to the renters on how to maintain fire safety daily.

Review the fire risk assessment periodically

  • Review your fire risk assessment regularly
  • Make changes where necessary