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Fire Safety at Outdoor Events

In 2008 the attendance at festivals across the UK and the number of events in the open once again increased. But in 2008 festival organisers were faced with some of the biggest challenges involving fire for a number of years.

In 2008 the attendance at festivals across the UK and the number of events in the open once again increased. But in 2008 festival organisers were faced with some of the biggest challenges involving fire for a number of years.

The incident of fires within camp sites continues to be on the increase as well as becoming part of the scene within a minority of festivals. The serious fire within the parking area at Reading in 2008 was an escalation of the camp fires and proved to be a tremendous drain on resources for the festival and the local authority alike with knock on affects on the environment. The trend for fire and the introduction of gas cylinders however small is putting festival attendees, festival staff and organisers at significant risk of injury through direct contact or projectile hazards.

The on-going escalation has a great deal of potential to result in death, injury and could ultimately bring an end to the festival as we currently know it, which is not what anyone would want.

Any Event fire and Rescue have put together some general house keeping advice which we hope will be helpful to both professional organising an event and festival goers attending.

Advice for Organisers

• Label fire lanes and exits clearly, keep them clear of vehicles and other objects at all times
• Keep rubbish containers/bins as empty as possible.
• Do not let combustible rubbish materials be stored besides catering units, stage areas or sleeping areas.
• Do not allow BBQs or gas cooking in car park areas.
• Provide specific areas for open fires if you decide to allow them.
• Do not allow BBQs or open fires within camping areas of medium to high density camping.
• Work with the local fire and rescue authority from the beginning.
• Provide training to fire marshals and appropriate equipment.
• Have methods of raising the alarm for event and festival attendees
• Be proactive in fire prevention, have a visible presence for monitoring fire and where there is a history of fire respond quickly and effectively at an early stage.
• Identify risk areas and remove or reduce the risk early.
• Ensure the marshals, security staff and Event fire marshals are trained, respond together and work as a team should an incident arise, pre plan.

Advice for Attendees

Outdoor events and festivals are busy places with lots going on, take time to read any information and notices provided as this can prove vital in an emergency

• Familiarise yourself with the site, know where to get help if you need it.
• A tent fire is an unknown risk, if a tent is on fire walk away at least 100 metres and raise the alarm.
• If you are aware a gas cylinder has been put on a fire get at least 100 metres away, a cylinder can become a missile.
• Be sensible, do not cook on BBQs or open fires in windy conditions or in close proximity to tents or cars.
• Do not block emergency paths or exits; it could be you that needs the help.

• Emergency staff are there to assist in making the/your environment a safer place, they prevent accidents where possible and deal with them when they occur, they are not trying to stop your enjoyment just maintain enjoyment for everyone.

Advice to Colleagues

• Do your home work, pre plan do not wait for an incident to occur be proactive in fire prevention and planning.
• Work together, Medical Providers, security, health and safety and event organisers need to work together in the planning and during the event.
• Be polite to the event attendee’s, work with them to resolve issues.
• Do not be a hero; we all know the risks, if it to dangerous await the correct equipment and resources before committing personnel. Follow the dynamic risk assessment protocol.
• Enjoy the event.

About Any Event Fire and Rescue

Any Event Fire and Rescue are a privately run Fire and rescue service who provide fire prevention advice and respond to fire related incidents at outdoor events and festivals across the UK. Our aim is to prevent and if need be respond quickly and effectively to manage fire and rescue incidents whilst causing the minimal disruption to the event.

We proactively work with the organisers in the planning stages and all concerned parties during the running of the event to identify and minimise health and safety risks and fire safety issues alike through proactively monitoring. The organisation and crews have vast experience in the field of fire intervention and prevention which is drawn on at every event attended.

The On-going aim of Any Event Fire and Rescue is to provide advice to organisers and attendees alike in reducing the likelihood of fire and preventing escalation. As always this requires careful thought from the very beginning of planning in liaison with local fire and rescue services as well as any on Event fire advisors. Festivals need to ensure they remain proactive in fire prevention throughout the festival in recognising the risk, removal if possible and reduction of risk.

Any Event Fire And Rescue Website

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David Washington
26th January 2009
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Fire Safety at Outdoor Events
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