Maximum occupancy for all event halls to be identified

National 1 minute, 49 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Fire and Rescue Department is currently inspecting event halls across the sultanate to identify their maximum occupancy in order to strengthen fire safety, especially in commercial buildings.

According to the department’s head of Fire Prevention and Enforcement, Taib Hj Kahar, they have successfully identified the maximum occupancy of about 10 event halls in the Brunei-Muara district.

This, he said, includes the International Convention Centre (ICC).

He said that this is a crucial step in light of the rising trend of event halls being rented out for wedding ceremonies and conventions.

He added that some event halls tend to maximise their occupancy well beyond fire safety regulations.

“When halls accommodate beyond the permitted number of occupants, it can be detrimental to the department’s efforts in evacuating the vicinity (in the event of an emergency),” he said.

He also said that some business premises and halls are found with obstructed fire exits.

“This can be dangerous, especially during an evacuation,” said Taib.

He went on to say that once the Fire and Rescue Department has completed its inspection of an event hall, a letter will be issued to the owner stating the hall’s maximum occupancy when set up with tables and chairs, with chairs only as well as when the hall is used on for standing.

Taib said that the department will also issue a sign stating the maximum occupancy that will be placed at the halls inspected where it can be seen by members of the public, adding that the removal, defacement and the destruction of the sign is prohibited under the Fire Safety Order 2016.

“If hall owners refuse to adhere to the maximum occupancy set by the department, they do so at their own risk as it will be referred to for any fire damage insurance cases,” he said.

Branches of the Fire and Rescue Department across all four districts in the sultanate are actively conducting maximum occupancy inspections of all the nations’ event halls, he said.

Taib added that should any event hall owner wish to have their hall’s maximum occupancy identified, especially those that are in obscure locations, they can contact the department directly.

The Brunei Times