Fire safety equipment specialist Wormald advises all hotels and hospitality facilities to be sufficiently prepared by having the correct fire protection systems in place in addition to ensuring that the staff is trained in fire safety measures.

Every hospitality facility and hotel is at risk of fire, which can pose a serious threat to guests, property and the business’ reputation. Busy kitchens, careless guests and malfunctioning equipment can all contribute to the risk of fire that with high occupancy loads can turn minor mishaps into serious threats.

While having appropriate fire protection equipment in place, owners and managers of hospitality facilities must invest in adequate fire safety training for the staff to ensure that effective plans and procedures are ready to be executed in the event of a fire.

An effective fire prevention plan should first be developed in accordance with the Australian Standard, AS 3745 - 2010 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities, which outlines the minimum requirements for the development of the emergency plan and also provides guidance for the planning and implementation of an effective Emergency Planning Committee, Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) and emergency response procedures.

Recent amendments to AS 3745 require that training be conducted for at least one member of the Emergency Planning Committee, for the ECO and for the facility occupants. Furthermore, ECO members must attend skills retention training every six months.

The importance of fire safety training

Hotels invest significantly in fire protection systems to help minimise the impact of fire to people and property. Thorough assessments must be carried out to identify if the installed fire protection equipment and systems such as fire extinguishers, fire hose reels, fire hydrants, fire detection systems, gaseous suppression systems and fire sprinkler systems are fit for the purpose intended.

It is equally important to have an effective response and evacuation procedure and a trained emergency response team.

Trained staff for instance, can assist in getting guests and personnel out of harm’s way during a fire in a methodical and efficient manner. The impact of a crisis can be substantially reduced when people are trained to respond appropriately. Employers must ensure that each employee is familiar with the emergency procedures in the workplace.

Fire safety training courses

Training is an essential line of defence against fire and can also provide employees with an awareness of how different types of fires can start while also instructing them on responding effectively. It is important that those working in close proximity to fire safety equipment should have a basic understanding on its exact operation.

Warden training:

Warden training equips wardens of hospitality facilities with the skills and knowledge to carry out their duties in an emergency situation. Courses typically cover emergency procedures, site familiarisation, understanding fire protection equipment and using fire extinguishers.

Wardens working in premises where emergency warning and communication systems are installed need to be trained on using these systems.

Emergency awareness training:

Every member of the staff must have a basic understanding of responding safely in an emergency situation. Should a fire occur, anyone could be required to help others safely out of the building.

Trainees typically learn about emergency procedures set up in their workplace such as the structure of the Emergency Control Organisation, alarm activation in the building, responding to emergencies and the location of assembly areas.

Evacuation training:

Workplace evacuation exercises are designed to train staff to effectively evacuate the building in the event of an emergency. Often conducted using the most likely emergency scenarios to occur in each individual workplace, evacuation exercises would include a risk assessment of the premises.

Evacuation training can also help staff prevent fear and panic among occupants while facilitating a quick evacuation of the building. Evacuation procedures are particularly useful during emergency situations when visibility might be greatly reduced.

Fire extinguisher training:

An essential element of fire safety equipment in the workplace, fire extinguishers can be operated only by trained employees. Training can help to educate staff about the relevance of State fire safety regulations as well as develop operational techniques for using fire equipment in the workplace.

In conclusion, having all the fire safety equipment and accessories in place for a fire occurrence is important but it is also vital to have staff that knows how to use these safety devices during emergency situations. A confident team that is able to respond appropriately in the event of a fire is an invaluable investment for a business.