London Fire Brigade

Pubs warned; “don’t score fire own goal”

01 June 2010

With thousands of people due to watch the world cup in pubs this summer the London Fire Brigade is urging bar owners and managers to make sure their premises are safe from fire.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association the UK pub industry could be boosted by £124m during the world cup*. But London Fire Brigade warn that pub owners won’t be cashing in if they have a fire on their premises, or are found to be in breach of fire safety laws.

Nationally, 39 pubs are going out of business every week due to dwindling revenues, and fire can also be a major cause for a business to fail. Research from Touche Ross and London Chamber of Commerce estimates that up to 80 per cent of businesses fail within a year of suffering a major catastrophe, such as a fire.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation, Steve Turek, said: “Fire law is there for a reason – to protect people – and if we find that bar and club owners are not taking their responsibilities seriously we can take action, including prosecution.”

“We want people to enjoy watching the world cup in a safe environment and if publicans understand their legal responsibilities they can reduce the risk to their punters and their pockets.”

Following recent high profile fires London Fire Brigade officers in Islington and the City have been working with local licensees to improve fire safety in their pubs, bars and clubs.

The Night Watch initiative, meeting for the first time on Wednesday 2 June, will give licensees more information about fire safety legislation and explain why ensuring their venues comply with the law keeps customers safe and is good business sense.

Notes for editors

* Figure based on the last world cup.

·                    Licensees can find out more information about fire legislation from their local fire safety regulation team. Contact details can be found by going to http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/FireSafetyRegulationTeams.asp

·                     In March 100 firefighters tackled a fire in Tabernacle Street in Shoreditch, among the buildings affected was the club ‘Sosho’ which remains closed as a result of the blaze.

·                    Fire law – the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to virtually all buildings, places and structures (the main exception being private homes) so includes shops, restaurants, offices, nightclubs, care homes, sports venues and also communal parts of housing blocks.

·                     The law places the responsibility for fire safety in the hands of employers and other people who have control of premises such as landlords, owners and other people with control of premises, so having an understanding of fire safety and the role they have to play is at the heart of good business management. This understanding is particularly important for small and medium size businesses like pubs who might not consider fire safety to be a top priority.

·                    If you are an employer or have control over a premises (known as the ‘responsible person’) then you are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings.

·                    The risk assessment should assess the fire risks to the property and people that work, live in or visit the premises. It should also identify actions which need to be taken in order to protect the building from fire. It must be kept under constant review and amended if any changes are made to the premises