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Fined For Having Insufficient Fire Alarm Protection

While fire may not always cost lives, it almost certainly always costs money. Fire can cause an extraordinary amount of damage and the money needed to either fix or replace items and property can amount to tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Now add to this figure the fine for failing to meet fire safety standards. It is shocking that in today’s age of advanced fire protection and the cost-efficient and affordable choices that modern manufacturing processes bring, far too many businesses scrimp on even basic fire detection and protection devices. Some fail to even carry out simple fire safety risk assessments, endangering their employees, visitors and themselves.

Effective fire alarm systems can be very economical and easy to install especially when companies like ourselves exist to make things as hassle-free and affordable as possible.

The following cases sadden us, showing just how badly things can go wrong when fire safety is ignored and highlighting the false economy of cutting fire protection corners.

Case One

Joseph Draper was a landlord in Ilfracombe, Devon. The house he let had been subdivided into 7 flats over 4 floors and a total of 13 people occupied the building.

Joseph failed to ensure that the entrance to the ground floor flat had been constructed properly to resist fire. If a fire was to start in this flat the flames could easily spread to the communal escape route. A further 3 doors in the building had not been fitted with self-closing hinges which meant they too would not hinder a spreading fire.

On Valentine’s Day 2008 a fire did start in the ground floor flat and the flames quickly engulfed the rest of the building. Because the escape route was blocked by flames, many of the tenants had to escape to safety over the roof to adjacent properties. Luckily no one was seriously injured or killed.

Devon and Somerset fire investigators carried out a safety audit shortly after the fire had taken place. They discovered the insufficient fire protection within the building and concluded that this largely contributed to the immensity of the fire and the speed with which it took hold. On 29th March 2011 the landlord was ordered to pay £75,000 for the poorly constructed ground floor flat door and £20,000 apiece for the 3 doors without self-closing hinges. On top of this, Mr Draper was also ordered to pay court costs of £23,000 making a grand total of £158,000 payable.

Case Two

The Penhallow Hotel in Newquay was a popular destination for families and older residents alike. Built in the 1960s it had a wooden fire escape at the back of the building. In 2006 Cornwall Council warned the hotel about inadequate fire protection and noted the absence of an L2 fire alarm system which should include smoke alarms in every room. 13 months later in August 2007 a fire, which was later found to be arson, started just after midnight. In a blaze later to be described as the ‘worst hotel fire in 40 years’, 3 hotel guests lost their lives.

Hotel owners O&C Holdsworth Ltd admitted failing to carry out a proper fire risk assessment and failing to provide proper alarm systems. The company was recently sentenced at Truro Crown Court and ordered to pay an £80,000 fine and £62,000 court costs. While not guilty of causing these 3 deaths, the company had systematically failed to ensure that their hotels complied with fire safety regulations.

We supply a comprehensive range of fire alarm systems suitable for most installations. These systems are available to purchase directly from our website or should you need assistance determining which fire alarm system is most suitable feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist.

View our range of fire alarm systems now.

Discount Fire Supplies sell a range of fire alarms, fire alarm accessories and much more. Browse our online shop or contact us for a quote today.

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