If you want to organize an event, you have to have a few things in mind. One important point that should not be underestimated is fire protection. In this article, we want to explain what this topic involves, what you need to pay attention to, and why you should not rely on the idea that "nothing will happen".
Fire protection includes all measures that
- prevent fires or their spread
- save people and animals in case of fire
- Make putting the fire out as easy as possible.
One also speaks of preventive fire protection, which is intended to prevent fires in advance, and of defensive fire protection, which should make evacuation and extinguishing as simple and quick as possible. All fire protection-related measures are laid down in the fire protection regulations, which differ depending on the location and type of event.
A fire protection regulation regulates the behaviour in case of fire. These fire protection regulations differ depending on the company, location, number of guests and type of event. The fire protection regulations have approximately the same value as house rules. Therefore, there is no generally valid template. An accepted structure and design of a fire protection regulation is DIN 14096. The legal basis for the structural conditions in terms of fire protection is provided by the ordinance on places of assembly. If you would like to find out more, read our article on fire protection in event locations (German only).
The fire protection regulations must be reviewed every two years and must always be up to date - this is especially important if the location has been rebuilt, for example. A fire protection regulation consists of three parts:
Part A is aimed at the guests of your event. It briefly presents the most important rules of conduct in the event of a fire with easy understandable pictograms. This includes the following points:
- keep calm
- report fire (emergency call 112)
- get yourself to safety.
- attempt to extinguish the fire.
As a rule, it cannot cover more than one page and will be displayed at various locations in the location in a clearly visible manner.
Part B will be handed out in writing to all employees who are on site during the event. It contains all important information on preventing the spread of fire and smoke, keeping escape and rescue routes clear, and all rules concerning specific conduct in the event of fire.
Part C is aimed at employees who have special fire protection duties. These include, for example, fire protection assistants, evacuation assistants, safety officers, fire protection officers, etc. This part describes all preventive and defensive measures as well as the evacuation procedure (also called evacuation concept) for the group of persons with special fire protection tasks. In addition, you need an escape and rescue plan according to ISO 23601, which clearly shows the shortest way out of the building.
Usually the location where your event takes place will have a fire safety officer who is specially trained in this area. If not, you can hire an external fire safety officer. The primary task of the fire safety officer is fire prevention, i.e. he or she identifies and eliminates possible fire sources in advance so that a fire does not occur in the first place. In addition, the fire safety officer is responsible for the creation or updating of fire protection regulations for the event location, checks fire protection equipment such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems and eliminates possible defects. The aim is to keep the probability of a fire during the event as low as possible and, in the event that something does happen, to guide guests and employees in the best possible way so that nobody gets hurt and the danger can be averted quickly.
The Meeting Place Ordinance also applies to open air events, especially if the open air location
- offers space for more than 1,000 visitors
- has scenery areas or stages or sports facilities with grandstands
- does not consist of flying (i.e. erectable and dismantlable) structures
Please take a look at the above-mentioned points and § 7 of the Ordinance on Places of Assembly. This regulates the dimensioning of escape routes. There it says among other things: The width of the escape routes must be dimensioned according to the largest possible number of people. This width must be at least 1.20 m. For outdoor meeting places and sports stadiums: 1.20 m per 600 persons.
As you can see, there is a whole series of rules and regulations regarding fire protection that you must observe. Normally, the place of assembly, i.e. your event location, should be well prepared for them. Nevertheless, you as the organizer should also know and observe the regulations and ask for their observance again and again so that everyone is well prepared in case of an emergency. After all, you don't leave your guest list, admission and program to chance - nor should you do so for the safety of your guests. As early as 30 years ago, a ruling by the Higher Administrative Court of Münster on the subject of fire protection stated: "The fact that no fire breaks out in many buildings for decades does not prove that there is no danger, but is a stroke of luck, the end of which must be expected at any time."
It is better not to challenge this stroke of luck. For further information, we recommend that you contact a fire protection expert directly. If you would like to train yourself further on the subject of fire protection at events, you can contact the TÜV, for example, which offers seminars on the subject regularly and throughout Germany.
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