vapingOver the past decade the nation’s views toward smoking have changed immeasurably; the introduction of legislation in 2007 prohibiting smoking from enclosed public spaces such as offices, pubs, restaurants and transport stations has contributed to a drop of 1.9 million smokers in the UK and smoking rates being at their lowest since records began.

However, not all of these smokers will have kicked the habit completely with many instead turning toward e-cigarettes and ‘vaping’.  A recent national survey found that there are now 2.9 million vapers in England. So what is vaping and are there any risks for your holiday home?

How does vaping work?

The average e-cigarette is made up of a mouthpiece, a cartridge or tank to hold the liquid (often known as ‘e-juice’), a heating element or atomizer to heat the liquid and a battery to power it. The concept is that flavoured liquid within the cartridge is heated to a temperature at which vapour is produced. This is usually between 100 – 250c. It is this vapour that the user inhales.

Are there fire risks for your holiday home?

Traditional smoking is also one of the main causes of accidental fires around the home. Figures produced by Fire Protection Online show that in 2008 there were around 2,800 fires in the UK caused by smokers’ materials and they accounted for more than a third of fire deaths in non-domestic buildings in 2013–14, making it the most common cause.

So where do e-cigarettes stand in comparison? Fires related to vaping have increased significantly over recent years, rising from only eight in 2012 to 62 during 2014 and accounting for two fatalities.

Experts are mainly concerned about the chargers used to power the devices, which have been shown to heat up to dangerous temperatures if used with the wrong ‘vaping’ kit. In response the fire services have created a number of safety tips for users:

  1. Only use the charger supplied with your e-cigarette kit – other chargers may cause problems with incompatible battery types.
  2. Do not ‘mix and match’ components between kits.
  3. Do not over tighten the battery on to the charger – screw the battery in gently after plugging in the charger first.
  4. Never leave the kit unattended while charging.
  5. Clean the battery’s ‘centre pin’ and charger contact at least once a week.
  6. Once fully charged, removed the battery from the charger.

Communicating your vaping policy to guests

If you don’t allow vaping in your holiday home, it’s important you communicate this to your guests. Whilst people will often be used to seeing no-smoking signs or this being listed on promotional literature, people can often think that vaping falls outside of these parameters as there isn’t actually any ‘smoke’.

Make sure that it’s clear whether or not vaping is allowed within your holiday home, for example:

  • on your website
  • in your booking information
  • in your welcome pack

This will ensure that there’s no confusion over your policy and help prevent negative feedback and guest complaints.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how we can help and support your holiday home business call us on 01237 429444.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency LightingAs the nights get longer the weather is often more unpredictable and the risk of powercuts increase. Emergency lighting in its basic form can be cost efficient and will ensure your holiday home guests are not left in the dark.

In the event of a standard power cut, the provision of torches or alternative lighting sources may well prove to be sufficient. But what if the stakes were much higher? What if the cause of the power being cut were due to a fire? Your guests may be left in a situation where they’re in the dark trying to navigate their way out of a property in which they have little understanding of the layout; an impossible and potentially deadly task. Have you considered emergency lighting in your fire risk assessment?

So do holiday homes require emergency lighting, furthermore what are your options?

Can you utilise ‘borrowed lighting’?

Are you familiar with the term, ‘borrowed lighting’? It refers to lighting from nearby areas and sources; this could be from adjacent streetlights or signage, or anything that would keep the interior of your cottage lit to a level that would allow a guest to exit it without problem should there be a fire at night. Sufficient borrowed lighting may in some cases negate your need for emergency lighting within your holiday let, although this is of course a judgement call (remember guests may well have all of the curtains drawn and what about that powercut?).

Providing torches

A holiday cottage in the countryside, away from borrowed lighting will require an alternative emergency light source. This can be as simple as providing rechargeable torches. A number of options are available and if you are going down this route it is recommended that you have one in each of the bedrooms within your property. When it comes to safety measures within a holiday home communication is always key; therefore ensure they’re clearly visible within the room and not just tucked away in a drawer. Regularly check they are working so you’re aware of any faults before they become an issue.

3 in 1 night light, torch and emergency lighting

These handy 3 in 1 emergency lights are fast becoming the preferred option for holiday cottage owners. When placed on landings and in hallways they can provide an economical emergency lighting solution. Holiday homeowners can purchase these online, there are many available on the market. We have linked to a few of the popular models available:

  1. 3 in 1 Rechargeable Torch

You may recognise this very affordable product from TV’s Dragons Den. It has three useful features; a rechargeable torch, automatic night light & emergency power cut light. The powerful LED’s come on automatically is the power fails and will safeguard your guests with 4 hours of light. It has also an A++ Energy Efficiency rating therefore appealing to your eco-conscious guests.

  1. Xtralite Nitesafe

This option has an LED bulb of up to 60 lumens which is super bright, just what you need in case of emergency. Incidently it still uses around 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Additionally it also has a built in nightlight and motion sensor.

  1. Plug In PIR Motion Sensor LED Night Light & Emergency Torch

Slightly more expensive per unit and can last up to 6 hours. It has a plug-in magnetic cradle, inductive charging, 18 LEDs, and a built-in 500mAH rechargeable battery. Plus, the detachable torch function gives you two hours of full-beam usage to go anywhere in the home with ease.

Do you have a larger holiday home?

Owners of larger holiday homes may want to consider a dedicated emergency lighting system. The good news is that these are not as expensive as they used to be – just be sure to do your research, purchase your system from a reputable supplier and always have it installed by a professional electrician.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, call us on 01237 429444

Please note this article only gives an overview of Emergency Lighting options for Holiday Let owners hence we suggest you take advice from a qualified fire safety professional before making any decisions in this area if you do not feel you are competent to make these decisions yourself.

Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting

Fire Safety Law for Holiday LettingThere are many different ways in which a fire could start in your holiday home. Having an understanding of the risks that fire poses to your property and your guests is vital to ensuring a safe stay in your cottage and complying with Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting.

Complying with Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting and completing a fire risk assessment

What is Fire Safety Law?

Fire Safety Law (known as Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) was introduced in 2006 and makes holiday homeowners responsible for taking measures to protect guests from the risks of fire.

Does it apply to you?

Fire Safety Law will apply to all tourism accommodation providers including holiday homeowners; if anyone pays to stay in your property, other than to live as a permanent home, you will need to comply.

What do you need to do?

There are three core areas to Fire Safety Law compliance:

  1. Conduct a fire risk assessment
  2. Improve your fire safety measures as a result of issues highlighted in the assessment
  3. Keep the risks and measures under review

How do you conduct a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment is a thorough review of the risks of fire within your holiday home, the people that will be visiting your property and the measures you need to put in place to keep them as safe as possible.

It should broadly incorporate five parts:

  1. What are the fire hazards in your holiday home?

This should highlight any area of your holiday home in which a fire could begin. The most common causes of fire in holiday homes include kitchens and cooking, electrical appliances, candles, smoking and chimneys.

Our example:

If you have candles in your holiday home the naked flame from these could be a potential fire risk.

  1. Who is at risk?

Consider who is at risk as a result of each potential hazard; do you have young families staying in your holiday home? Older guests? Disabled guests?

Think carefully about the specific risks they may face.

Our example:

Candles are of particular risk to young children who could knock them over or be tempted to play with the flame.

  1. What is your plan to keep people safe?

Having considered the potential hazard and which of your visitors is at risk, how are you going to make sure they stay safe? What can you put in place to either mitigate or minimise the risk to your guest?

Our example:

Candles will be kept out of the reach of children and placed in holders that shield the naked flame.

  1. Record, train and plan

Make a note of the hazard and any measures you have put in place to minimise the risk. These measures should be communicated to anyone that will be involved in implementing or maintaining your fire safety plan.

Our example:

It was decided that candles would now only be positioned in areas of the holiday home that children couldn’t reach and be placed inside holders.

The holiday home cleaners were instructed of the changes and asked to ensure candles were only placed in those areas and that any broken holders were replaced within 2 days.  The candle would be removed until a replacement holder was available.

  1. Maintaining your fire risk assessment

Your assessment should include regular reviews of its effectiveness. This will also allow you to identify and highlight any potential issues that have arisen since you last put your plan in place.

Our example:

When initially conducting the assessment it was decided another full review would be conducted in two months time.

The review indicated that the steps to minimise the risk of candle fire and accident had been successful, but also highlighted a new barbeque had been added for the beginning of summer; steps would be put in place to address this new potential hazard.

With many guests booked in over the coming month a review would be completed in one month rather than two.

These documents will assist you with the Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting as a holiday home owner to comply with your obligations under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Click the links below to find out more:

Holiday Home Fire Safety in England and Wales:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Scotland, the Scottish Government has produced the following:

For Self-Catering holiday cottage owners in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has produced the following PDF guide:

You may also find the following posts for holiday home owners of interest:

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.

Please note that this article gives only an overview of Fire Safety Law for Holiday Letting and we suggest you take advice from a qualified professional before making any decisions in this area if you are not confident of using the above guidance.