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Does a church have to give fire safety announcements?

Guest GarthWar

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Guest GarthWar

May I ask your advice on Fire Announcements. Are they needed? How should they be presented?

Our situation is that we are a Church (The Salvation Army). We have Sunday meetings with about 200 regular people worshipping in a single session. We also have concerts by our own band & choir - at Christmas our Carol Services attract about 1,000 people from the local area over 3 services i.e. about 350 at each. We also hire the hall to third parties - local choirs, rotary etc who generally "put on" musical evenings.

We have during "concert" events as opposed to worship services made an announcement of the fire exits etc. & have recently transcribed this into a Power Point presentation that last for about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Is this really needed?

We are presently developing our Fire Safety Procedures, many of which are common sense - risk assessments, fire marshalls, etc. - & readily understandable but I cannot find any definitive advice re Fire Announcement procedures so any direct or indirect guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation

Take care


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Hi Garth, you are right it can be confusing, I would suggest the following approach:

When your church is used as a church or any event where the public is gathered (including staff) you will need a fire management plan, does not have to be complicated just a simple management document that states the arrangements, roles & responsibilities.

The responsible person for the building has a duty to be able to successfully evacuate all "relevant persons" (any person who is within the premises), this can be managed by giving persons instructions for evacuation at the start of an assembly or may be that there are nominated persons (stewards, marshals) who would act accordingly directing/assisting persons in the event of an evacuation.

So if you had a church hall/service/meeting then you would have one or the other, however be clear that you must have a plan that will successfully evacuate the premises!

Just as a footnote if you hire a facility to third parties ensure that your hire agreement states that the hirer must understand that they are likely to also be deemed as a "responsible person" (& therefore must make necessary arrangements for evacuation) as they will also have control of the premises during their hire period/occupancy.

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Not only are you required to provide information and training to your staff you are required to consider relevant persons in your premises i.e. the congregation/audience. The guide for Small and Medium Places of Assembly says, "All other relevant persons should be given information about the fire safety arrangements as soon as possible. Information should be available for the public, e.g. fire action notices". You have chosen an announcement I would think is a good way to provide that information in your case but you are not required to do it that way, however I think it is an excellent method.

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Check out page 106 of the above guide and there is information relevant to this situation, it states,

At the start of the event or function you should notify all those present about:
• the smoking policy;
• the emergency warning signal;
• who is supervising and how to identify them;
• location of exits and escape routes;
• taking only valuables immediately to hand but not to go to collect other belongings;
• the location of muster points; and
• what will happen after that (e.g. re-entry to the building).
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There needs to be an agreed procedure between those playing and whoever is leading the service/concert as to how music will be stopped in the event of an emergency so that an appropriate announcement to leave the premises can be made. This should have been picked up in the Fire Risk Assessment. And indeed how the leader is informed in the first place by stewards or other participants!

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  • 7 years later...
Guest Phil MacInnes

Do the chairs need to link? Acc cording to current guidance more than 50 they do; but in a building setting 1,000?! What about more than 50 but seated around tables? Also hotel function rooms - for weddings etc, 250 unlinked?

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