Fire Risk Assessment for Your
Complying with Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting and completing a fire risk assessment
It is a legal requirement of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment if you provide tourist accommodation for paying guests in England, regardless of your business size. If you use a website like Airbnb or rent any self-catering flat, apartment, house, cottage, or caravan you rent out to others on a short-term arrangement or for a holiday is covered under the Fire Safety Order.
Fire Safety Law (known as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) was introduced in 2006 and makes holiday homeowners responsible for taking measures to protect guests from the risks of fire.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to England and Wales, but there is equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The law requires you to undertake a fire risk assessment, identify any potential fire risks and act on the findings to ensure the fire precautions are sufficient to protect guests.
- In Scotland, the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 apply.
- In Northern Ireland, the relevant legislation is the Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
A key aspect of effective compliance is for you to undertake a fire risk assessment for your holiday let, which will identify any potential fire risks and the measures you need to put in place to control them.
What are the fire hazards in your holiday let?
It is important to identify situations in your holiday home in which a fire could begin. The most common causes of fires include kitchens (cooking), electrical apparatus (overloaded or unsafe appliances), smoking, candles (left unattended or knocked over), and open fires/log burners (misuse). You should also consider combustible materials that may burn, e.g. furnishings and furniture, curtains and wall coverings, such as display boards or wood panelling, and flammable liquids and gases, e.g. products used for cleaning or maintenance purposes, including those used to clean swimming pools and hot tubs. Areas used for the storage of fuel or gas cylinders need particular attention.
Identify the people at risk
Consider who is at risk as a result of each potential hazard; do you have young families, older guests or disable guests, etc. staying in your holiday home? Once the people who are at risk have been identified, it is important to assess how easily they will be able to evacuate the property in the event of an emergency.
How will you keep guests safe?
This step involves evaluating the hazards and taking measures to eliminate these where possible. What fire-reducing actions can you implement to improve your fire safety measures as a result of issues highlighted in the assessment?
- Interlinked mains smoke alarms.
- Carbon monoxide detectors.
- Emergency lighting to highlight emergency routes and exits.
- Fire blanket and appropriate fire extinguisher.
- Internal keyless lockable front door.
- Internal self-closing fire doors.
- Removing window lock keys.
- Prohibition of smoking.
- Removing all candles.
Particular care should be taken when selecting curtains and display materials, especially temporary decorations used for specific events or to celebrate public holidays and festivals.
Record, plan and inform guests about fire risks
Your completed fire risk assessment should be placed in a prominent place in the property for guests to read, ideally in the guestbook or welcome pack. It is there to help prevent fires during their stay and ensure that they are clear about what to do in an emergency.
Leave detailed instructions about the following:
- Where to locate the emergency fire evacuation plan to ensure everyone leaves the property quickly and safely.
- Where the fire blanket and fire extinguisher are located.
- Highlight the fire risks in the property and user instructions (e.g. appliances, smoking policy, candles, etc.).
- Where the exit points are located.
Maintaining your fire risk assessment
Make a note of hazards and any actions you have put in place to minimise the risk. These should be communicated to anyone who is involved in running your holiday let e.g., your housekeeper or property manager.
You should also keep the risks and measures under constant review e.g., regularly test smoke alarms.
Your fire risk assessment should include regular reviews to identify and highlight any potential issues that have arisen since your last assessment e.g. if a new log burner has been added, steps should be put in place to address the risks.
Review the assessment periodically
The Fire Risk Assessment for the premises should be reviewed periodically or when:
- Alterations are made to the structure or layout of the premises.
- There are changes in the use of an area of the building.
- There are significant changes to the number or location of the visitors or staff.
- There is a significant change in the mobility level or other factors influencing the response of visitors or staff in an emergency.
- There are changes in the management of the building.
There are no prescribed times for the reviews, but many businesses choose to review their assessment annually.
How often do you renew a fire safety risk assessment?
You are required to keep this assessment up to date, but the laws do not specify how regularly this has to be done. As general guidance, it is recommended that your holiday let is reassessed every 12 months or whenever the property changes, such as an addition of new furniture.
Please note that this article provides basic easy-to-understand guidance of fire safety provisions and the key fire safety information required to comply with legislation. Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. We aim to assist you to understand the fire-related terms within your Fire Risk Assessment. It does not provide detailed technical guidance on all fire safety provisions, and you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.
Please take a moment to have a look around our website where you will find related articles and guides to all the services we can provide your business with, from providing Fire Risk Assessments, Fire Safety Training, Advisory Services to Articles on Fire Safety Provisions and our Top Fire Safety Tips!