Statistical Analysis of Hospitality Industry Fire Experience
By their very nature as transient properties, the hospitality industry brings a large number of people together in unfamiliar surroundings. In this report, data collected by the New Zealand Fire Service were used to identify the trends for hospitality industry fire experience. Overall, the hospitality industry stands not only for a high percentage of national economic development but also builds the reputation of New Zealand. A severe fire incident may cause job losses for an indefinite period of time, tradesmen and suppliers may lose a large and regular source of income, the town may lose one of its greatest assets and New Zealand's reputation might be damaged and tourism discouraged. Generally the number of fire incidents in the New Zealand hospitality industry has decreased since 1997. It was found that over the 15 years analysed, careless action was the most common cause, followed by suspicious, but these were not the most hazardous. The most hazardous fires were shown to be bedroom fires originating in soft furnishings. Almost all the fatal fire incidents could be associated with accommodation type properties, and most of them occurred at night-time when occupants were still asleep. Since the highest percentage of fire incidents occurred in wintertime, it was suspected that more frequent usage of heating appliances was the main cause. As opposed to fatal incidents, most incidents that lead to an injury originated in kitchens where the injured occupants were attempting to control the fire. Heat sources were mainly from cooking appliances with cooking material being ignited, and incidents mainly occurred at night-time but not during sleeping hours. Restaurant/Cafe/Diner as a subcategory of the hospitality industry stands out with the highest incidents with injury or incidents as a total. It is therefore essential to improve the current fire protection system of the hospitality industry. Fire detection and suppression systems are urged to be installed, as well as suitable law enforcement. Regular inspection and maintenance are also required together with public education, staff training, good housekeeping, and increased security. These would go far toward reducing the number of hospitality fire incidents and, consequently, the life hazards they involve.