It is important for any event organiser to appreciate that fire is a very real risk in event environments and recognise their statutory responsibilities to undertake a comprehensive fire risk assessment and to put in place such controls as are necessary to mitigate against these risks.
Some key considerations are listed below;
- Sufficient exits must be provided to allow audience and working personnel to exit the site to a definitive place of safety.
- Portable fire fighting equipment should be provided in accordance with paragraphs 170 – 172 of the Event Safety Guide (AKA the Purple Guide).
- Temporary structures including marquees should conform to BS5438 and the MUTA Code of Public Safety.
- All décor, branding and other materials used should be pre- treated with flame retardant liquids.
- Contractors should demonstrate the flame-retardancy of their materials.
- In line with current legislation, a no smoking rule is enforceable in all enclosed areas.
- Your waste management plan should take account of the fire risk posed by build up of litter on site, and onward handling.
- All exits should be clearly signed using signage of an appropriate size. This should be illuminated as required.
- People should be able to walk to safety along a clearly recognisable route by their own unaided efforts, regardless of where a fire may break out at the venue. Carefully consider arrangements for people with disabilities.
- People will often try to leave the site the way they entered. Where this is not possible because of the position of the fire or smoke, stewards should be trained to route people away from the fire to a place of safety. Ensure that:
- The number and size of exits in fences are sufficient for the number of people present and are distributed around the perimeter.
- All Exits and gateways should be unlocked and staffed by stewards throughout the event.
Consideration should be given to the following aspects when planning for fire safety at an outdoor event:
- Marquees and large tents
- Stairways/ Ramps/ Exits/ Doors on escape routes
- Fastenings on doors and gates
- Self-closing devices for doors
- Exit and directional signs
- Normal and Emergency lighting
- Fire-fighting equipment
- Means of giving warning in case of fire
Further guidance can be found in the HSE publication -Fire Safety Risk Assessment – Open Air Events and Venues, which focuses on all aspects of Fire Safety. Specific event types this guide is suitable for include fireworks displays, music concerts and markets. You can download this from the Documents section on the right hand side of the page.