Fire safety at events
Fire safety is a necessity in any business premises. For an events venue holding hundreds, if not thousands of people all at once, it should perhaps be one of your very top priorities.
Carrying out a fire risk assessment is always the best course of action, whether it’s a permanent venue, a marquee, or a temporary outdoor event space. It’s also the best way of knowing you’re doing everything practically possible to prevent a fire. Here's how to do it.
Walking around your venue, make a note of the things which could start a fire (sources of ignition) and can burn (fuel source).
Lighting, heating, generators, cooking equipment, naked flames, electrical and gas equipment could all potentially start a fire. It could be because of a stray spark or the heat they produce.
That is why they then need to be kept well away from things they could ignite, like fabrics, paper, rubbish, alcohol, flammable liquids and gases.
Who’s At Risk
The people attending your event, and the people working at it, whether they’re cleaners, security, cooks, or the main attraction, are most at risk from a fire.
Remember to consider those with mobility issues, the elderly, and children as they may need extra assistance during an evacuation.
Evaluate and Act
You can now start to take action to reduce the risk of a fire and to prepare for a fire should one start. You may want to either ban smoking completely or restrict it to a dedicated area. To prevent arson, it’s worth thinking about padlocking waste bins out of the way.
In a dedicated events premises, you’ll most likely already have a fire alarm system and emergency lighting installed, along with fire exit signs and doors. In a marquee or outside event, this is less likely.
Although you’ll probably not have an automatic method of detecting smoke and raising the alarm, you need a suitable alternative. A rotary fire bell or gas horn are just two ways you can raise the alarm.
Generally, you also need one water-based extinguisher, such as a water, water additive, or foam (three litres or more) for every 200 square metres of floor space. For specific threats, like cooking oils, flammable liquids and electrical equipment, appropriate extinguishers need to be located nearby.
In premises, fire extinguishers will ideally be mounted on the wall. For outdoor events, you may choose a trolley for easy portability, or cabinet to protect the equipment from the elements.
Record, Plan and Train
Knowing all that, you can then create an emergency plan, including where the assembly point is. You also need to ensure you have staff or volunteers who can act as fire wardens, having received training to prepare them.
Finally, it is advised that a fire risk assessment (carried out by a competent experienced person) should be reviewed annually and whenever there is a major change.
If you have any concerns about fire safety in a public event or public building or need fire safety advice call Dublin Fire Brigade on 01-2224000.