Two-thirds of Estonian hotels found infringing basic fire safety rules ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The Rescue Board's (Päästeamet) Tagne Tähe.
The Rescue Board's (Päästeamet) Tagne Tähe. Source: Rescue Board

Two-thirds of hotels in Estonia inspected by the Rescue Board (Päästeamet) recently failed to meet fire safety requirements.

The spot checks, held over the course of last week, unannounced, by the Rescue Board, revealed that a third of the hotels inspected were in compliance with fire safety requirements, head of the board's safety supervision department Tagne Tähe told ERR on Monday.

''The largest number of violations concerned compromised fire doors,'' according to Tähe, speaking to ERR's Indrek Kiisler.

''In other words, those doors which, in the event of fire, are designed to increase the length of time people have to escape from a building, by keeping the fire, smoke and heat contained, were often found to be detached or wedged open,'' she continued.

She added that in about 30 percent of cases, fire alarm systems were not up to requirements, with some either being turned off or poorly maintained.

''Unfortunately, we also found a lot of violations which we have not seen in other recent checks at different types of premises, notably blocked evacuation routes or locked escape doors. Even this was present in some hotels,'' she said.

Mostly quick fixes

Tähe went on to note that most of the violations were quick fixes and need not be costly, sometimes involving changes to work organization, employee training, or simply moving objects blocking escape routes.

''In this sense, the situation is a bit more positive. Certainly, if you draw attention to such concerns, they can be remedied very easily,'' she said.

The infringements have not been met just by a general reprimand, however.

The board initiated 33 misdemeanor proceedings and 57 administrative proceedings as a follow up to the spot checks.

''Every guest is coming on a holiday or work trip on the good faith that his or her safety is guaranteed in the premises. It is unacceptable that some elementary fire safety breaches could endanger human lives," Tähe noted subsequently, in a press release.

The Rescue Board also noted it has a zero tolerance for the violation of evacuation requirements, and any activities of building owners or occupiers which could endanger those in the building is unacceptable, it says.

According to figures from Statistics Estonia, 3.6 million guests, both domestic and foregin, stated in Estonian accomodation establishments in 2018. A little under 1,000 such facilities were available, comprising a total of 20,000 rooms and 45,000 beds, the agency says.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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