Fire Risk Assessment

How could a fire start?

In Fire Risk Assessment Basics it was established that a Holiday Cottage Fire Risk Assessment should be based on a thorough inspection of the property and careful consideration of how a fire could start. All properties are different so Fire Hazards vary from property to property but a lot will be common to all holiday properties. Additionally, many holiday cottage owners spot obvious hazards like cookers and open fireplaces but don't give consideration to other less obvious ones.

On this page there is a non-exhaustive list of possible Hazards (Sources of Ignition) and corresponding Fire Prevention Measures that property owners could reasonably implement to reduce the risk from these type of fires. Remember, Fire Protection Measures are there to protect people once a fire has actually started but every effort should be made to stop a fire starting in the first place.

If you feel there is anything left out, or have come across new Fire Hazards that are not included please send us a message.

Smoking

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Smoking materials coming into contact with furniture etc are a big cause of fires.

Even in Non-Smoking properties guests could break the rules and smoke inside the property so smoking still needs to be considered a risk

Strict No-Smoking Policy

Designated smoking area outside

Metal waste paper bins

Ash trays provided

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Electrical Risks

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Fire breaks out due to electrical fault caused by an overloaded circuit, damaged appliance or bad installation for example.

Fire starts because visitors bring inappropriate appliances with them a radiant bar electric fire for example.

Fixed Wiring Inspection

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing)

Maintaining Electrical Safety Between Bookings

Limit use of multi-way adaptors. Ensure sufficient outlets are provided.

Terms and conditions preventing guests from bringing appliances other than laptops, phones and personal music devices for example.

Encourage guests to turn off unnecessary appliances at night.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Cooking

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Fire starts in the kitchen due to for example, a chip pan or frying pan being left unattended.

Fire starts due to the cooker inadvertently being left on.

Fire starts due to flammable objects such as curtains being too close to cooking appliances

Do not provide a chip pan. If visitors really must deep fry then provide a deep fat fryer as a safer alternative.

Ensure cooker controls are clearly marked and cooker instructions are provided to visitors.

Ensure cooker isolator switch is unobstructed so cooker can quickly be turned off.

Keep curtains and other flammable materials well clear of cooking appliances

Heat Alarm

Fire Blanket

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Accidental Ignition

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Children playing with matches start a fire

If matches are supplied (for a woodburner or open fire) make sure they are kept in a sensible place out of the reach of children

Wording in Property Information File informing guests to keep matches out of reach

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Arson

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Someone deliberately or recklessly sets fire to the property. This may seem very unlikely but it should still be considered in a Fire Risk Assessment. Good security of the property and outbuildings. Keeping stored rubbish to a minimum.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Fixed Heating Appliances

Fire Hazard Preventions Measures Protection Measures

Gas and oil-fired boilers are a source of heat and can malfunction if not serviced correctly.

Electric wall mounted heaters may overheat if covered with clothing.

Electric heaters can be installed too close to curtains or other fabrics and cause a fire.

Regular servicing by qualified service engineer.

Keep all boilers free of clutter or flammable materials

Warnings on electric radiators not to dry clothes on them.

Check that heaters are clear of flammable materials

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Boiler fire risk

Heater touching bed

Portable Heaters

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Mobile heaters are a risk because they can easily be placed too close to flammable objects or materials. Some older types of heater are particularly risky for use in a holiday property and should be avoided. For example, radiant bar and LPG (mobile gas heaters)

Where possible avoid the use of mobile heaters altogether.

If unavoidable, only provide modern electric fan, convector or oil-filled radiators.

Do not provide Radiant Bar electric fires or mobile gas heaters.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Tea Lights, Candles and Decorative Lighting

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Any type of candle or naked flame is an obvious ignition source. Unfortunately, people like to use them to create a certain ambiance whilst on holiday.

Fairy lights and other decorative lights catching fire to bedding or curtains.

Discourage use of candles through wording in Property Information File.

Provide candle and Tea Light holders so they can be used more safely.

Avoid wrapping fairy lights around bed frames and drapes or similar places.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

 Barbecues

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Barbecues are left unattended and set fire to wooden fencing, dry foliage or similar which can then spread to the actual living accommodation.

Disposable barbecues are placed on flammable surface and catch it alight.

Provide a safe barbecue area away from the accommodation, fences, sheds and plants.

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Burnt decking

Lighting Risks

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Some types of lamp, particularly those with halogen bulbs give off large amounts of heat. If used incorrectly they can set fire to bedding, curtains or other flammable materials.

Lamps with paper shades can be a problem if damaged shades come into contact with hot bulbs.

When a bulb blows, visitors may fit one of too high a rating, overheating the lamp.

Fit low energy bulbs wherever possible.

Make every effort to replace old tungsten bulbs with low energy.

Avoid use of halogen lamps, particularly in bedrooms.

When choosing new lamps purchase types that give off the lowest amount of heat.

Ensure only correct size bulbs are fitted by checking periodically.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Burnt bed

Halogen warning

Safe lamp

Unsafe Lamp

Lamp in cupboard

Scorched lampshade

Open Fires, Wood-Burning Stoves and Chimney Fires

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Poorly fitted stoves or fireplaces could cause a fire.

Sparks or logs rolling out into the room.

Chimney fires.

Hot ashes being cleaned out too soon and placed in combustible containers.

Ensure fireplaces and stoves have been or are fitted by HETAS approved contractors and meet current requirements.

Provide adequate guards and hearths to minimise this risk.

Ensure chimney is swept regularly once or twice a year by an approved Chimney Sweep. Provide wood that is dry and not of a variety prone to clogging up chimneys.

Provide a metal ash bucket and galvanized steel dustbin for disposal of ashes.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Hetas

Fire guard

Hot Work

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Hot work is anything carried out by contractors say using a blowtorch, grinding, paint stripping or other similar work that could potentially cause a fire accidentally.

Using careful contractors.

Carrying out work when visitors are not occupying the property.

Adequate supervision of the site, for a period of time after the hot work has finished to make sure no fire is going to occur and to raise the alarm quickly if it does.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Tumble Dryers

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures

Tumble dryer catches fire due to build up of fluff or lint in the filter or ducting causing reduced air flow.

Clothes in the tumble dryer catch fire due to not being run through the cooling cycle at the end of the drying time and then being left in the machine.

Machine is subject of a safety recall, but owner is not aware of this.

Clean filters regularly and follow manufacturers guidance for maintenance.

Ensure guests know how to use the machine safely with clear instructions.

Instruct guests not to leave dryer on at night while they are asleep.

Cross reference Make and Model with recall notices online.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Tumble dryer fire risk 

Tumble dryer risk

Friction

Fire Hazard Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Slipping drive belts for example, can cause a lot of heat and start a fire. Ensure correct maintenance of machinery such as water pumps.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service

Fireworks

Fire Hazards Prevention Measures Protection Measures
Guests setting off fireworks on the property accidentally start a fire. Terms and conditions preventing the use of fireworks.

Smoke Alarms

Fire Extinguishers

Rapid Evacuation

Calling the Fire Service