SFRS advice for people renting out holiday accommodation

Watch Commander Gary Wood, seconded SFRS fire officer to SBRC focuses on the potential increase in ‘staycations’ with people holidaying within Scotland rather than abroad.

Gary said ‘Taking into consideration the current COVID19 pandemic situation and its impact upon people holidaying abroad we are likely to see an upsurge in ‘staycations’ – people holidaying within Scotland itself in either hotels or as paying guests within letting accommodation’. 

He continued ‘Anyone who rents out holiday accommodation must ensure that a suitable and sufficient FSRA – Fire Safety Risk Assessment is carried out and that appropriate fire safety measures are in place before welcoming guests to their property’.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is updating its advice to business owners and dutyholders as Scotland moves into phase three of its exit from Lockdown.

As Scotland sees an increase in ‘staycation’ holidays throughout the summer months, SFRS is urging holiday letting businesses and duty holders to ensure that premises being used as rental accommodation meet the appropriate level of fire safety provisions.

Scotland’s national fire service is urging business owners and duty holders to consider the following steps:

  • Carry out a fire risk assessment for your premises or a review of your existing fire safety risk assessment as soon as possible to determine if any further actions are required
  • Ensure that you have provided the required level of automatic fire detection to safeguard sleeping occupants
  • Ensure you have provided the required level of firefighting equipment
  • Ensure that occupants know what to do in the event of an emergency
  • Check that all means of escape routes are adequately protected to allow a safe evacuation

Alasdair Perry, SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) for Prevention and Protection, said: “We appreciate that businesses and dutyholders who run holiday rentals will be excited to re-open and welcome people back to their facilities in the coming weeks and months. As demand for accommodation will undoubtedly increase, we are acutely aware that this could place pressure on business owners – however safety from fire must remain high on their priorities”.

“We are therefore asking anyone who rents out a property as a holiday let to ensure that a thorough fire safety assessment has been carried out to determine if any action is required, before welcoming any guests to your facility. It is also important that those visiting are kept safe and aware of what fire safety measures are in place, and they know what to do should a fire occur during their stay”.

“It goes without saying that these recent months have been trying times for Scotland as a whole, but we cannot become complacent and must continue to work together to drive down the risk of fire across the country".

Recently, SFRS has also highlighted safety and awareness guidance to ensure that social distancing and protection measures within businesses do not impact on overall fire safety; and warned against the risk posed by excess stock and packaging.

As more and more retail outlets, public areas and workplaces continue to re-open, businesses and duty-holders are advised to ensure stock rooms and fire exits do not become blocked by surplus materials to allow for safe and easy passage in the event of an emergency or fire drill.
Premises owners and operators are also asked to look at the possibility of increasing waste collections to avoid overspill, and to ensure goods are stored safely and appropriately.

DACO Perry added: “We've already seen some businesses and buildings reopen, but we understand for many this will be the first time they will have opened their doors for quite some time.

“We appreciate that many workplaces will have taken robust measures to protect staff and members of the public through means such as the installation of plastic screening. However, we would also ask that businesses consider what impact any changes or installations could have on fire detection or fire safety measures.”

“For example, it is possible that screening installation, along with any increased loading or materials in the premises, may obstruct automatic fire detection apparatus such as smoke alarms. We would also remind people to manage their premises for excess stock and waste and to consider if this would increase the risk of a fire, or hamper fire safety measures and escape plans.”

“We would also remind both staff and members of the public that one-way systems in place, installed to manage social distancing, need not be followed in the event of any emergency. If fire occurs, occupants of buildings should continue to leave by the nearest exit or emergency route as quickly as possible.”
For more advice on fire risk assessments or to speak with an officer, you can find contact details for your local SFRS fire safety enforcement office here.