Following recent tragic events it would be prudent for park owners and operators to take steps to review their fire safety practices and procedures. With most things prevention is always better than the cure and a robust assessment of potential risks together with the implementation of adequate safety measures can save a park a lot of time, expense and potential adverse publicity if the worst occurs.
The following helpful tips outline areas to consider when assessing fire risk at a park:
- Spacing – Ensure that you consider what spacing distance is appropriate between homes. Historic site licences will dictate required separation spaces and such provisions should be complied with not least as the density between homes is designed to reduce the ability of a fire to spread.
- Roads, Gateways & Footpaths – Ensuring that there is an accessible and clear means of escape in the event of a fire is vital, as is the communication/signposting of an escape route. You should ensure that any safety or emergency lighting is working and the functionality of such lighting should be checked regularly.
- Firefighting equipment – Training a responsible member of staff to safely use firefighting equipment on site, including: extinguishers, fire hoses etc. is essential. Keep records of the staff training provided and ensure appropriate refresher training is issued where needed.
- Fire warning – If a fire occurs on site the alarm will need to be raised. Consider how you will raise the alarm now rather than when faced with the need to do so. It is likely that the size and nature of the park will dictate the most appropriate method of raising the alarm (this could be through a manually operated siren or sounder). Consider conducting a fire drill to test the effectiveness of the chosen method.
- Maintenance – Make sure all alarms and firefighting equipment is installed, tested and maintained by a competent person and available for inspection where necessary. A logbook should be kept to record all tests and any remedial action taken. If you need any assistance you can contact your local Fire and Rescue Service.
- Notices – Designated fire points on site should have a clearly written notice to indicate the action to be taken in case of fire.
- Hazards – Keep an eye out for hazards on site. For example, has an occupier started using the underneath of a home for storage or is a contractor not adhering to health and safety standards when conducting work on site. If you spot a hazard, record it and take steps to eliminate it by, for example, writing to the occupier requesting that they clear the underneath of their home and refrain from using it for storage.
- Emergency telephone – On some sites an immediately accessible telephone is required to be available for calling the emergency services and on others it is advisable to have such a facility in place. A notice by the telephone should include the address of the site.
- Storing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – LPG cylinders should be located outside and comply with the LP Gas Association’s Code of Practice. Ensure that occupiers are storing cylinders accurately.
- Fire Risk Assessments –Carry out Fire Risk Assessments to identify hazards and ensure that they are regularly reviewed and updated. Any hazards identified should be managed by the implementation of any necessary fire safety measures.
The appropriate/required steps to take will vary depending on park type, park size and site licence conditions. Nevertheless it remains pressing to take steps now to implement adequate safety measures as the consequences of failing to do so could be serious.