A safety drive to reduce the number of fires and fire-related deaths and injuries from candles in public venues starts in Newcastle this week.
Teams of specialist fire safety staff and operational crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting 330 pubs, clubs and restaurants in the Newcastle area to carry out safety inspections. They'll also provide information to owners about the potential dangers of candles and other naked flames and advise them how to keep their staff, customers and visitors safe.
This includes carrying out regular fire risk assessments, ensuring there are adequate fire exits and that there is a suitable fire alarm system.
The safety drive has been instigated following the successful prosecution brought by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service of Ultimate Leisure Limited, owners of Sea Nightclub in Newcastle, for breaches of fire safety law in September this year. The prosecution was the result of an incident where Andrew Reilly, 29, a physiotherapist from Low Fell in Gateshead, suffered serious burns on a night out at the nightclub on 23 June 2007. Ultimate Leisure Limited was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £975 in costs after admitting two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The nightclub's risk assessment made no mention of the use of tea light candles and staff had not been given any training on how to deal with an incident involving naked flames.
Paul Anderson, group manager, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “The owners of public venues like restaurants and bars have a duty to their staff and visitors to keep them safe from fire - and it's our duty to enforce the legislation they have to follow. We'll be working with businesses to advise them wherever we can, however where there is a serious threat to the safety of the public we will take appropriate enforcement action.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service provides information and advice to business. Anyone who requires information should visit www.twfire.gov.uk/firesafety/business.