Five star safety conference
The Service recently hosted a national conference focussing on the safe evacuation of disabled and vulnerable people in the event of a hotel fire. The "5 Star Fire Safety" conference, which was held at Crewe Hall, was supported by speakers from the world of fire engineering, health and safety, tourism and disability groups.
The event was Chaired by Dr David Bonnet, a leading authority on accessible design and a consultant architect for the 2012 Olympics athletes' village. John Woodcock, the International President of the Institution of Fire Engineers, officially opened the conference.
Delegates then heard from a number of industry professionals.
- Colin Todd, who talked about fire safety legislation, the Equality Act and Building Regulations;
- Jaspal Dhani, the Chief Executive of the UK Disabled People's Council, who, as a wheelchair user himself, shared personal experiences of problems faced when travelling
- Elspeth Grant of TripleAconsult talked about the evacuation of disabled people from difficult buildings and PEEPs - Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans
- Jaspal Dhani, Author of Fire Risk Assessment Supplementary Guide - Means of Escape for Disabled People looked at how a hotel's existing layout can be used to facilitate escape
- Professor Ed Galea, a founder member of The Fire Safety Engineering Group of the University of Greenwich, talked about human behaviour patterns during fire evacuation, with particular emphasis on those with disabilities
- Brian Seaman of Tourism for All UK gave an overview of the value of the disabled guest market
- Warren Spencer of Blackhurst Budd Solicitors talked about the prosecutions of hotel premises that breached fire safety legislation and summarised the penalties faced by hoteliers who didn't maintain adequate fire prevention measures.
Feedback from the delegates was both extremely positive and encouraging.