Fire Risks In Pubs: Exploding Tea Towels?


It’s 2017 and Happy New Year to you all. With many businesses looking ahead to the new year, the importance of fire prevention becomes ever more important. Fire safety is not an exact science or precise set of rules. Fires occur in the most unusual of circumstances that often only a specialist could anticipate. This blog concentrates on the fire risks in pubs.

DB Fire Safety has recently been highlighting the dangers of tea towels after a spate of pub fires. This bizarre phenomenon was highlighted after a recent fire at pub in Nottinghamshire.  The resulting damage was so extensive that the business was forced to close for 12 months. It was later reported that the cause of the fire was tea towels, soaked in stain remover before washing. What had happened here was that the staff had not realised that the fat combined with the detergent would cause the towels to self-combust.

Still not convinced? Last May, a pub in Rutland suffered damage after the tenant left a number of warm tea towels at the bottom of the dryer drum. An hour later and the first floor of the building was ablaze.

Thanks to – Men Behaving Badly star – Neil Morrissey, people are starting to learn a little more about these dangers. His pub fire, at the Plume of Feathers, lead to the actor issuing a warning about the dangers of exploding tea towels.

A similar event could occur if placing cleaning cloths in tumble dryers. Even if ‘washed thoroughly’ in a washing machine, they are still likely to contain flammable residue from polishes and other cleaning materials.

But unfortunately, all too many pubs still run the risk of fire by not ensuring their staff are fully trained in fire safety or risk prevention. Although this blog has concentrated on tea towels, there are many other fire risks in pubs. DB Fire Safety provide training to staff in general fire safety awareness.

Training courses are usually held on client’s own premises, although, from time-to-time, open courses are held at our training centres in Grantham and Peterborough. We also offer E-Learning courses that might prove a better option.

For more information, please contact David at DB Fire Safety Limited.

TEL: 0800 772 0559


Fire Risk Assessments in Solicitors’ Offices

Recent surveys of solicitors’ offices have highlighted a number of issues that could have a serious adverse effect on staff and visitors in the event of a fire.

David Black, of DB Fire Safety Limited, has observed Server Rooms with no automatic fire detection, fire doors being wedged open, combustible waste being placed immediately next to printers and missing ceiling tiles.

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Holes in walls and ceilings mean that the room is not contained. Holes will allow fire to spread throughout the building to a much greater extent than if the room was confined, thus placing occupants in potentially greater danger.

A fire door that’s wedged (or propped) open is likely to remain open when evacuating a building. Fire doors are designed to hold fire back for a minimum of 30 minutes when closed. Fire doors should also be installed with fire-rated hinges and rebated with intumescent strips and cold smoke seals. In general, a fire door should be installed to comply with Building and Fire Regulations. There are, however, suitable devices available that will hold a fire door open whilst still allowing it to close automatically in the event of a fire alarm activation.

Printers operate at extremely hot temperatures. If paper jams inside the machine and catches fire, any combustible items placed alongside are also likely to catch fire; again placing employees in danger.

A fire risk assessment carried out by a professional company such as DB Fire Safety will highlight any of the above issues and will provide suitable resolutions.

Law on smoking in residential care homes

In today’s blog, DB Fire Safety Ltd. would like to bring you up-to-date in respect of how the law affects residents who want to smoke in residential care Care Homeshomes.  As may already know, it is an individual’s right to continue to smoke when in care.

According to the law, residential care homes are exempt from the smoke-free legislation. Although it is not a legal requirement, designated indoor smoking rooms and/or bedrooms can be made available for use by those residents wishing to smoke indoors.  It is, however, not a legal requirement to provide a bedroom.

If a residential care home designates such a smoking room, the following requirements must be met.

  1. The manager/owner has to designate a room where smoking is permitted.
  2. The room must be completely enclosed apart, of course, from the doors and windows.
  3. The ventilation of the room should preferably be outside of the care home or to other designated ‘smoking rooms’ which have external ventilation.
  4. The doors must close either mechanically or with closers to prevent smoke drifting to smoke free rooms or corridors.
  5. The room should be clearly marked as a room where smoking is permitted.

There does, however, remain a ban on staff smoking within the Care Home and, therefore, a suitable outdoor area should be designated for staff and any visitors, wishing to smoke.

Fire risk assessments take precedence over the rights of a smoker and a risk assessment will have to be taken to ensure the safety of all the residents, care workers and visitors.

If you are unsure of the legislation, then please feel free to contact Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety Limited to arrange a free consultation – call 0800 772 0559


How Does A Fire Spread?

To enable DB Fire Safety to evaluate the risk to people in your premises, I thought you would be interested to hear the way fire can spread.

There are three ways this can happen; convention, conduction and radiation.


First of all, let’s cover convection which is the most dangerous and causes the most deaths and injuries. When a fireHouse Firestarts in an enclosed space. such as, for instance, a residential care home, the smoke rises and is trapped by the ceiling.  The smoke has to go somewhere and will spread in all directions.  An ever-deepening layer will form and eventually cover the entire room space. Smoke will pass through any holes or gaps in the walls, ceiling and floor leaching out into other parts of the building. As you can imagine, the heat from the fire then gets trapped in the building and the temperature rises.


Secondly, conduction. Certain materials are perfect conductors of heat.  Metal shutters and ducting, can absorb heat and transmit this heat to adjoining rooms and corridors.  There is the possibility that combustible items in contact with the heated material will also catch fire.


Last of all, we have radiation. Radiation heats the air very much in the same way as an electric bar heater heats a room.  Any close combustible material will absorb the heat, it will then start to smoulder and eventually burn.

Fire ExitAs a result of a building fire, we hear that the casualties have been taken to hospital because of smoke inhalation. You might be thinking that this isn’t so bad.  But this isn’t the case because smoke contains toxic gases which are injurious to people. A building with modern fittings and materials generates smoke that is thick and black.  The smoke will obscure vision and will cause great difficulty in breathing.

With vision impaired, it will be very difficult for people to find the escape routes.  For this reason, it’s essential that the means of escape, together with other fire precautions, are adequate to ensure that everyone can escape to a place of total safety before the fire and its effects take hold and trap them inside the building.

DB Fire Safety Contact

To arrange a fire risk assessment, please contact Peterborough based DB Fire Safety Limited

Residential Care Home Owners Fined £380k

As regular reader of the DB Fire Safety blog, you will be aware of the necessity to comply with the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005…..particularly if you are an owner of a residential care home.

Only recently, the owner of a residential care home in Washington, Tyne & Wear was sentenced following five breaches of Residential Care Homefire safety regulations.

The fire destroyed a bedroom and also caused damage to a corridor and smoke damage to other bedrooms and the laundry room.

It was reported that the fire started in a bedoom, but because the fire door had been wedged open, this resulted in the smoke and heat spreading to the communal corridor.  Another bedroom door had also been wedged open and the smoke and heat travelled into this bedroom too.

Because fires can spread extremely quickly (within minutes), the staff had trouble in sourcing where the fire had started.  An elderly lady, where the fire started, became trapped in her room.  Firefighters were, however, able to enter the building wearing breathing apparatus to rescue her safely through a first floor window.

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service uncovered the following breaches of the Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, as follows:

  • Two fire doors had been wedged open, when they should always be kept closed.
  • Almost half of the fire extinguishers had been condemned by the company’s appointed contractor.
  • The company failed to comply and carry out a number of requirements identifed in a fire risk assessment.  These requirements included installing electronic devices which would allow fire doors to be wedged open but, in the event of a fire, enabling them to close quickly in an emergency.

Fire can kill, and this particular residential care home owner was fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed. The £380k penalty is signficant but it sends out an important message in respect of the value of carrying out fire risk assessments and to comply with Fire Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

Residential Care Homes – Identifying People At Risk From Fire

As part of the Fire Risk Assessments carried out by DB Fire Safety, it’s important to identify the people in the Residential Care Home who may be at risk.

First of all, DB Fire Safety will identify where the residents’ rooms are situated, where the residents spend their days and where they eat their meals.  It’s also important to find out where the staff spend their time working within the Residential Care Home.  Last, but by no means least, where visitors and contractors are likely to be located within the building in the event of a fire.

Particular risk assessment attention is taken of:Residential Care Home

  • Employees who work alone in, say an office, or contractors who may be working in the roof space, etc.
  • Employees, for instance, care workers, cleaners, maintenance and security staff, all of which could be working during the night.
  • Particular attention is required regarding temporary or agency staff who might have no experience or understanding of the Residential Care Home’s layout or procedures.
  • Attention also needs to be taken into account of people visiting the Residential Care Home, for instance, relatives, doctors, hairdressers, chiropodists and entertainers.
  • But the most of all at risk are the residents.  These people may be unable to escape unaided and will not be able to vacate the premises quickly.
  • Something else that requires consideration is people who may well panic.  It may be advisable to put a plan in place for individual fire risk safety requirements for these individuals (PEEPS) for example, the resident’s medical conditions, sensory awareness and mobility.

It’s important to carry out a fire risk assessment in a systematic way and allocate enough time to carry out the assessment properly.Arrange A Free Consultation

Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will visit your Residential Care Home and take the whole of the building into account  including the outdoors.



Identifying Fire Sources Of Ignition in Residential Care Homes

There are three things required for a fire to start.  Residential Care Homes

  1. A source of ignition
  2. Fuel
  3. Oxygen

In this blog, Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety will concentrate on identifying the potential sources of ignition.  During a fire risk assessment in a Residential Care Home, the assessor will be looking for possible sources of heat which could get hot enough to ignite material found in these premises.

The ignition sources could well include:

• smoking materials, e.g. cigarettes, matches and lighters;
• naked flames, e.g. candles or gas or liquid-fuelled open-flame equipment;
• electrical, gas or oil-fired heaters (fixed or portable);
• cooking equipment;
• faulty or misused electrical equipment;
• lighting equipment;
• equipment owned or used by residents;
• hot surfaces and obstruction of equipment ventilation, for example, photocopiers;
• hot processes, for example, welding by contractors;
• arson, deliberate ignition, vandalism etc..

It is also important to be aware that a resident could deliberately start a fire (with or without intent). Care should, therefore, always be taken to monitor and control access to matches and lighters. Special attention should also be given to residents that might smoke in their bedrooms.

Fire Risk Assessors will also check out any Indications of ‘near-misses’, such as scorch marks on furniture or fittings, discoloured and/or charred electrical plugs and sockets, cigarette burns etc.

Fire kills and fire costs money.  There are strict penaltes for not complying with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Fire safety training is a service Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety offers to assist Residential Care Home owners to  DB Fire Safety Contactcomply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

If, however, you would like more information, please visit –

Fire Awareness Training

Fire safety training for staff is a requirement of not only Fire Safety but also Health & Safety legislation.Training

It is an absolute requirement that all staff receive instruction in respect of how to raise a fire alarm and the evacuation procedures, including the location of all fire exits and the Safe Assembly Point.

It is generally recommended by Health & Safety, as well as Fire Safety Legislation, that all staff receive training in at the very least general fire safety awareness.

There may also be a requirement for some staff to be appointed as Fire Marshalls/Wardens, who, in turn, will be given particular responsibilities in the event of a fire emergency.

Fire safety training is a service Peterborough-based DB Fire Safety offers to assist business owners to comply with the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Employees could be fined up to £5,000 for minor penalities and for the more major penalities there could be unlimited fines or even a custodial sentence.

DB Fire Safety fire awareness training helps business owners to avoid falling victim of fires in the first place and to help them meet their legal obligations.

The training will make employees aware of the causes and the consequences of a fire to safeguard their workplace premises, their stock and, of course, their staff.

According to the Department For Communities & Local Government fire statistics:  “In 2013-14, there were 22,200 fires recorded in buildings that were not dwellings.  These fires have declined by more than half compared to that in 2003-04. The majority of these occurred in non -residential buildings (e.g. retails units, pubs, wine bars, cafés, take aways, private garage, private garden sheds and industrial manufacturing plants)” – for more information, please visit –

It’s of paramount importance that employees take into account the fire risk that may be present in their organisations and to make sure that their employees are aware of the causes and consequences.

DB Safety Limited’s training courses are usually held on client’s own premises in Peterborough, Northampton, Cambridge, Leicester and Bedford.

DB Fire Safety also offers e-learning courses that can be undertaken by staff at their leisure. See our website for details…

The courses include training in:Arrange A Free Consultation

  •     fire safety legislation
  •     what is fire
  •     fire precautions
  •     fire extinguishers and how to use them
  •     specific courses designed for Care Homes





Fire Risk Assessments for Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs)

It was reported recently that a property landlord in Nottingham was fined over £3,000 because he was negligent in protecting his tenants from the risk of fire.  The amount of the fine is sending out a strong message to landlords the importance of protecting their tenants from these risks.

You may be thinking that the law is only in place for people runnng a business and renting out several properties.  You will be wrong in this assumption. The law also applies to private individuals looking to rent out their properties – all landlords have a duty of care to their Court Gaveltenants.

If you are a private individual looking to rent out a property, it can be helpful to employ a lettings agent.  Please be aware that even if you employ a lettings agent the responsibility still lies with you, the owner of the property, to comply with fire safety regulations.  You, as a landlord, must rely on your own understanding of the law because you will be leaving yourself wide open to prosecution if your chosen lettings agent is not fully up to speed and there is a fire in the property.

To comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, you as a landlord will be responsible for:

  • Making provision for an adequate means of escape.
  • For all properties build after June 1992, mains operated smoke alarms should be fitted on every floor
  • For older properties, battery-operated smoke alarms should be fitted on every floor
  • Furnishings, made after 1950 should meet fire resistance regulations.
  • All dangerous appliances should be removed.

If you are privately renting out just one property, then you will have to adhere to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order which came into effect in October 2006   This law is not to “catch you out” but to protect your tenants.  The advice is not to put your profits above your tenants’ safety because all landlords have a duty of care to their tenants.

Remember, if you rent out your property as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) or as a block of flats, you will require a fire risk assessment.

DB Fire Safety specialises in helping landlords meet their responsibilities under the Order aDB Fire Safety Contactnd carrying out fire risk assessments; serving Peterborough, Northampton, Cambridge, Leicester and Bedford.

To arrange a free consultation, please call David Black on 0800 772 0559