There are few more serious events that can befall a hospitality business than fire. Even a small blaze can cause extensive smoke damage and leave a business struggling to fulfil customer demand. A big one can leave a business completely devastated, lead to lengthy wranglings with insurance companies and, worst of all, casualties.
Luckily for the owners of the Falmouth Beach hotel in Cornwall, a 120-bedroom Best Western property which burned down last week, no one was hurt and all the guests were accounted for.
It is far too early to say what caused the blaze (although a tar heater is suspected) but what is certain is that it was a disaster for the business and for the town, which is due to host the Finn Cup sailing competition and is one of the towns to welcome the Olympic Torch on the first day of its relay throughout the UK.
There are plenty of different ways a fire can start, and while it may well prove that there was nothing the management of the Falmouth Beach hotel could do to stop the one which gutted their property, many others are preventable with a little forward planning and maintenance.
So this week, we have compiled industry advice and experience to help you make sure you are up to speed with best practice on fire prevention. It offers not only practical guidance on how to make sure you can do all you can to avoid the worst happening, but also tips from those operators who have been unfortunate enough to have had a fire at their business and survive the experience.
All operators must be fully aware of their responsibilities, the price of ignorance is just too high.
By Neil Gerrard
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