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Differences in Fire Safety Requirements For Indoor & Outdoor Events

Differences in Fire Safety Requirements For Indoor & Outdoor Events

Jan 31, 2024

Fire Safety

Differences in Fire Safety Requirements For Indoor & Outdoor Events

When planning an event, fire is the most complex and critical risk you must mitigate. There are many hazards present as most events require the use of lots of electrical equipment, structures that potentially obstruct escape routes and similar dangers. 

Also, consider the fact you have large numbers of people not only that you must protect but also whose behaviour is unpredictable. These members of the public are unfamiliar with their surroundings increasing the need for event fire safety.

For these reasons, there are many requirements to adhere to and precautions to put into place to keep attendees, staff, and anybody on site safe. 

You must also bear in mind that indoor and outdoor events carry distinctive risks from one another. Therefore, it’s vital you’re fully informed about each unique environment to be able to implement the right safety measures.

The Importance of Fire Safety at Events

Remember that fire safety at events is more than just a theoretical issue. We can’t underestimate the real risk of fire. In 2022, the UK fire service attended 185,437 fires which is the largest number of fire incidents recorded since 2011. 

Event organisers and venue owners have a duty of care to attendees, employees, contractors, and any other individual who needs to be on-site. Responsible persons must implement the right measures to protect members of the public from the risk of fire.

There are statutory requirements related to fire safety at events which you must adhere to. It’s the responsible person’s duty to perform an in-depth fire risk assessment and introduce the right protocols and measures to mitigate risk.

Fire Risk Assessment for Events

A risk assessment is a universal requirement for events in line with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005. Regulations state that event organisers must assess the risk of fire, implement measures to stop fires from occurring or limit their spread, as well as providing sufficient fire warning systems.

A separate fire risk assessment should outline emergency and evacuation procedures along with provisions for the evacuation of disabled people.

Regulations state that responsible persons must keep fire hydrants clear at all times and make sure they’re well-signposted. If you use a marquee, tent, or similar structure, it must have clearly defined and signposted fire exits. These exits must also be kept clear at all times.

According to the regulations, a fire risk assessment must further identify and outline hazards that could start a fire plus items that could act as fuel for a fire. The fire risk assessment must also highlight who may be affected by a fire and how they may be harmed.

Universal Event Fire Safety Requirements & Precautions

Naturally, there are fire safety measures that apply to all events whether they are indoors or outdoors. Here are some key actions and event fire solutions you must implement:

  • Remove or reduce any risks identified in the fire safety risk assessment.

  • Ensure there is the correct number of fire marshals according to the number of people at the event and the level of risk.

  • Limit the number of guests according to the size of the space and the number of fire exits.

  • If you’re an event organiser, pass on fire safety information to the venue, staff, and any further appropriate individuals.

  • Organise a designated smoking area away from refuse and flammable items.

  • Ensure any potential sources of ignition are at an adequate distance from fuel sources.

  • Establish an evacuation plan and disseminate the plan to all appropriate individuals.

  • Make fire safety a primary concern before, during, and after an event.

  • Ensure all potential fire hazards are removed from a venue or location post-event.

  • Make sure there is a communication system for fire marshalls and other key staff, e.g. portable radios.

  • Ensure there is adequate external access for fire and rescue services to access the venue or location.

Indoor Event Fire Safety Requirements & Precautions

All types of indoor events require an effective fire safety plan. For example, this includes conferences, trade shows, parties, concerts, and many more types of events.

Responsible persons should treat indoor spaces distinctly from outdoor spaces as the area is enclosed producing different kinds of risks. Furthermore, there may be existing fire safety measures in place at a venue which must be identified and assessed for competency.

  • Identify, assess, and note the location of fire extinguishers. These should be mounted on the wall in clear view.

  • Ensure an adequate fire alarm system is installed.

  • Check for further fire safety equipment such as sprinklers and emergency lighting.

  • Ensure a fire safety plan with a floor plan of the building is clearly signposted.

  • Identify fire exits and escape routes.

  • Establish a fire assembly point away from the venue.

Outdoor Event Fire Safety Requirements & Precautions

Outdoor events are common throughout the entire year. These might include music festivals, country fairs, markets, sporting events, and so on. 

When it comes to outdoor events, there are particular fire safety requirements and precautions to keep in mind. This is because you may be constructing new structures or working with an open space that doesn’t usually need fire safety measures or tools. So, essentially, you must build a fire safety plan from scratch, introducing new event fire solutions into a space.

  • Set up fire exits within marquees, tents, and similar structures, ensuring exits and escape routes are clearly signposted.

  • Ensure temporary structures are made from fire-retardant materials.

  • Bring in a system where you can raise the alarm at key locations such as a megaphone or horn.

  • Provide waterproof emergency lighting in case there is a need for evacuation.

  • Place fire extinguishers in strategic locations ensuring they are covered to provide protection from the elements.

  • Locate or install emergency water tanks.

  • Set up strict policies regarding guests lighting bonfires.

  • Establish a fire assembly point outside of the event location’s perimeter. 

Final Word

There are indeed ways in which indoor and outdoor event fire safety differ such as the likelihood of existing fire safety equipment. But, whether indoors or outdoors, and no matter the size of an event, a fire risk assessment must be carried out and appropriate precautions put into place.

The event fire safety requirements and precautions outlined here don’t represent an exhaustive checklist. Remember that every venue or location is unique in its requirements. A thorough risk assessment should uncover these unique requirements and any distinct causes for concern. 

If you have any doubts about your ability to carry out a competent assessment, you can always hire a professional fire risk assessment service to give you peace of mind.