A Guide to Fire Safety in Entertainment Venues

Jun 6, 2024

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Fire safety is vital, especially within entertainment venues. In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 every person, attending or working such events, must be aware of and provide fire safety. There are many factors that affect fire safety. This guide to fire safety in entertainment venues will clearly demonstrate fire safety risks and how to combat these to keep entertainment venues safe.  

Entertainment Venues and Fire Risk Assessments

Fire risk assessments for entertainment venues are a legal requirement in accordance with the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. They play a vital role in maintaining fire safety in entertainment venues. 

Fire Risk Assessments engineerFire risk assessments help scope out potential dangers and ensure every person involved understands the hazards and fire safety measures in place. These assessments allow those who are managing the fire safety of entertainment events to have greater control. They also let the management team know if they have all the correct fire safety equipment and allow them to take safely measures ahead of time. 

It is important to have a fire risk assessment for each event as any change can pose new risks that must be assessed. The biggest change that could occur is using the entertainment venue for different types of events. 

Each type of use of the venue will pose different fire risks. For example, using hazers at events can obscure visibility and need to be properly monitored throughout. Alternatively, open air events and venues will impact fire safety differently as the weather will then need to be considered.

The surrounding environment (whether the event takes place inside or outside) will also need to be fire risk assessed. Shrubbery and trees will pose severe fire safety risks if not handles correctly. Obstacles inside and electric fuses will offer their own fire safety risks. These issues can be safely managed through a fire risk assessment and actioning the resulting precautions and recommendations.

Unusual Risks to Fire Safety in Entertainment Venues  

Entertainment events take place in various locations – cinemas, theatres, and music venues to name a few. Each pose potential risks to fire safety if not handled carefully. All three locations will have multiple sources of ignition through the electrical and heating equipment. These would include lighting, speakers, projectors, smoking, and catering. All these things could become potential fire risks if not correctly monitored.

Bonfire Safety Fire Sparklers

Risk – Sudden fire risk with little time to react 

Solution – Installing fire alarm systems and smoke and heat sensors will alert people of any fire safety threat in good time. Adequate emergency lighting and signage to ensure a swift evacuation is possible, especially with so many people in a confined space. 

Risk – Evacuating from danger without causing further harm 

Solution – Installing automatic extinguishers such as sprinklers to protect people and allow them to evacuate safely. Ensure there are adequate fire marshals, who all have the correct and up-to-date training, to enable a safe evacuation. 

Risk – Confusion and panic during a fire preventing people from evacuating 

Solution – Clear signage and lighting to make people aware of fire exits and fire safety equipment in case of an emergency 

Risk – Obstructions around fire exits 

Solution – Obstructions around fire exits, such as food kiosks and stalls, must be removed and placed safely 

Risk – Fire safety equipment not correctly serviced for use 

Solution – being aware of fire safety protocol. Fire curtains and sprinklers need separate servicing 

Entertainment venue spaces may be dimly lit. Problems that may occur in a fire emergency could be: 

    • Tripping 
    • Not knowing where to evacuate  
    • Potential trampling in chaos 

Fire safety measures put in place to combat darkness are:  

    • Having exit signs light up. This allows people to think more clearly and exit from the danger calmly 
    • Having emergency equipment pointed out before an event an emergency to reduce panic 
    • Taking into consideration the more robust nature of these exits and signs compared to an office 

Other entertainment events may take place in smaller spaces like projector rooms or cabinets, or sound booths. Fire safety equipment should be altered depending on the size of the entertainment venue and should be chosen to suit the event. In the case of a fire emergency different preventative actions should be taken. 

    • Having the correct fire extinguisher to fight the risks of the environment is critical. 
    • Alternatively, an automatic extinguisher should be used for a small space such as a projector room or electrical cupboard.

Fire Safety Accessibility for Entertainment Venues

Fire Safety in Entertainment VenuesFire safety for entertainment venues must accommodate and include ever user including those who are less abled, deaf, blind or a wheelchair user. There are a range of fire safety products available that can help with this.

Entertainment venues must have adequate signage and alert systems to cater for every type of person. Having auditory and visual cues to provide fire safety information will enable fire safety to be understood by all. This would include announcements for those who are blind and visual aids, such as flashing lights, for the deaf.

For wheelchair users having easy escape access – ramps, 900mm wide exits to fit wheelchairs, evacuation chairs and stairlifts – will ensure the fire safety of every person within an entertainment venue. A ‘Blue Route’ must also be accessible for emergency vehicle access and must be made aware of. The public should also be given clear instructions on these exits to allow every person to leave the danger quickly and safely.

Fire Warden and Fire safety training for Entertainment Venues  

Fire safety and fire warden training is critical. Entertainment venues hold lots of people and therefore take ownership and responsibility for the safety of those involved. Different people will have different needs to be considered. Therefore, being able to ensure the safety of every person is only possible through fire safety training 

Problems that can occur from lack of fire safety training include: 

    • Staff getting overwhelmed 
    • People panicking  
    • Lack of organisation resulting in a loss of control over a potentially dangerous situation 
    • Miscommunication of roles 
    • Lack of information to the management team and the public 

The first two questions that should be asked to combat these problems are: is there enough staff for an emergency and have they got appropriate training?  

To start, creating a list of the key members of the organising team will ensure roles can be delegated.  

    • Staff must understand how to help others whilst protecting their own fire safety 
    • Fire exit routes should be made clear to staff so that in the event of an emergency people can be guided safely 
    • Members of the team must also be properly trained to handle fire safety equipment 
    • There should be an event evacuation strategy already in place, prior to the event, for the evacuation of people with health conditions 

Correct fire safety training allows people to be aided quickly, calmly, and safely. It can and will save lives and allows the entertainment venues to be enjoyed as a safe space.  

Summary 

Fire safety in entertainment venues can be a complicated matter. However, it doesn’t need to be! Performing fire risk assessments, taking all the recommended actions, considering accessibility, and ensuring fire warden and fire safety training is given to all members of the team will enable everyone involved to be kept safe.  

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