On April 1st, the Flemish Government implemented a new Decree (Accommodation Decree) on fire safety for B&Bs and hotels. This Decree also contains the requirements for fire extinguishers.
You can find the complete Accommodation Decree on the website of Tourism Flanders.
The decree divides accommodation into three main categories:
- Room-related accommodation with less than 6 rental units and less than 13 sleeping accommodations. This includes most B&Bs, and some small hotels.
- Room-related accommodation with more than 5 rental units or with more than 12 sleeping accommodations. This includes larger hotels and lodgings.
- Terrain-related accommodation. This mainly includes campsites.
Small room-related accommodation
The regulation for small accommodations (less than 6 rental units, less than 13 beds) is fortunately also the simplest. They must follow the standard regulation. More specifically, they must provide at least one 6-litre foam or 6-kg powder fire extinguisher per floor and per 150 m². Those fire extinguishers count as 1 extinguishing unit. We recommend foam fire extinguishers for accommodations, because they cause far less collateral damage than powder fire extinguishers. Powder itself is also much harder to clean up than foam.
The placement of the extinguishing units is largely up to you. They must be placed either in the accommodations itself or in its immediate vicinity. Preferably, fire extinguishers should be installed on the escape route, so that you can make one attempt to put out the fire during your flight. The fire extinguishers must always be hung on the wall and their location must be indicated by a pictogram. They must also comply with the EN3 standard and have a BENOR label.
Don't forget that all fire extinguishers have to be checked annually by a specialised company!
As a B&B you also need to provide sufficient escape routes: at least 2 for each accommodation. This will pose few practical problems: the first escape route is the standard exit, and the second could be a window/balcony that can be reached by a firefighter ladder. So, except for very tall buildings, you shouldn't have any problems here. However, the escape route must always be clearly indicated with pictograms and emergency lighting: any change of direction must be indicated with an pictogram.
Finally, all accommodation must also be equipped with smoke detectors: one in each bedroom and an extra detector in each room on the escape route (up to the entrance door). There should be at least 1 smoke detector per floor. The smoke detectors should have a built-in non-replaceable battery that lasts for at least 5 years.
Large room-related accommodations
The regulation for large accommodations (more than 5 rental units, more than 12 beds) is much more complex and requires a case-by-case approach. The higher the building, the more complex and stricter the regulations.
There are additional requirements in terms of escape routes (which often need to be built or already present during the construction of the building), emergency lighting, fire alarms and the number of fire extinguishers and fire reels. Contact your local fire brigade for a personalised audit.
On campsites, there must be enough so-called fire stations: at least 1 per group of 100 places. One fire station contains at least 2 frost-resistant foam extinguishers of 9 l or 2 powder extinguishers of 9 kg, or 3 frost-resistant foam extinguishers of 6 l or 3 powder extinguishers of 6 kg, each with a BENOR label. The extinguishers must be concealed/protected against corrosion (e.g. in plastic fire extinguishers cases).
Furthermore, you must also meet one of both conditions:
- Either each extinguishing station also has a 50 litre foam extinguishing trolley or a 50 kg powder extinguishing trolley. In that case, you will also have to provide a separate water supply of at least 50m³. This could also be a nearby pond or canal (up to 200 metres away).
- Or you can install fire hydrants (1 per extinguishing station) that are connected to the water supply network all over the site.