Cockpit Theatre

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into effect in October 2006 places the responsibility of fire precaution, fire suppression and detection onto the premises responsible person. The definition of a responsible person is; any person who has to any extent control of the premises.

The Cockpit Theatre was built in the 1970s with a steel frame and concrete with brick infill. Solid floor to ground, suspended plank to first floor. Roof is largely of flat construction with felt over stramite boarding. Windows are single glazed with a mixture of timber and metal frame. Main stair to upper floors is of cantilevered terrazzo. Doors to common areas are 30min fire type.

The building is used for rehearsing and the production of plays and other public entertainment. As well as productions by the City of Westminster College outside production companies hire the Theatre on occasions. They are required to submit their risk assessments and their manager and electrician are given a briefing and handed copies of the Theatre procedures etc.

The Order requires the implementation of control methods that as far as is reasonably possible reduces risks to an acceptable level for employees, non-employees and those affected by their activities.

Fire hazards assessed were:

Possible sources of ignition.              Sources of fuel.                                  Who is at risk?                                                  Means of detecting a fire.                                Means of giving a warning.                Means of escape.                               Means of fire fighting.                                       Mandatory signage.

Persons at Risk

These are CWC staff, visitors, contractors and anyone else on the premises.  Consideration should be given to seating persons with mobility disabilities in an area they would not be overwhelmed by a rush to leave the Theatre. It is vital that staff practice evacuations and for helping disabled persons too quickly and safely leave the premises during an emergency evacuation.

Means of Automatic Detection

Automatic heat/smoke detectors are situated throughout the Centre and the existing automatic fire detecting system are audible only. Consideration should be given to upgrading this with a link to a monitoring centre as a fire during the night may cause considerable damage before an alarm is raised. The current system is tested once a week by a member of staff and a record retained.

Means of Warning

The alarm sounds at 65 decibels and audible in every room throughout the Theatre. Appropriate instructions on what to do in the event of a fire is given at staff inductions and fire training. This is reinforced with posters on the inside of all rooms’, including; dressing rooms, work areas and office doors. Additionally a copy of evacuation procedures is handed to visitors when they attend the Reception/Booking Office. A briefing on fire evacuation routes is given to audiences before performances.

Means of Fire Fighting

A programme for training fire wardens is in place. The instructions are: discovering a fire; raise the alarm by activating a fire call point and warning persons nearby. Only then and providing the person does not place themselves in undue risk should the fire be tackled using the fire fighting equipment provided.

Means of Escape

In assessing the means of escape, the following factors have been taken into account;

Level of protection from fire spread on escape routes                                                            Numbers of people using the route

Mobility of persons using the route                                                                                          Width and capacity of escape routes*

Time/distance to reach a place of (reasonable) safety                                                            Internal or external location of escape route    

Doors on escape routes                                                                                                          Emergency lighting


The Safety Signs and Signals Regulations require approved signage, and are at the following locations;

Manually operated emergency call points.                                       All fire-fighting equipment.

Emergency evacuation routes.                                                          Rooms have an evacuation plan on the inside of the door.

Emergency evacuation exits.


The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Risk Assessment

Centre....Cockpit Theatre....... Carried out by.... David Wybrow, Debby Jones and Anthony Moore,...........Date...Tuesday 12th July 2010

Sources of Ignition


Action/Control measure

Battery charging, electrical switchgear

Battery Room

Regular maintenance and good housekeeping to remove rubbish and other combustibles. Warning signs displayed.

Electrical switch gear and/or fuse board

Workshop, Ground floor intake room and corridor

Continue regular maintenance. Electric isolator to be identified to all visiting production company’s electricians. Warning signs displayed.

Large amounts of electrical equipment

Control Room. Battery switch gear

Replace any equipment or leads which show signs of wear or damage. PAT testing to be carried out in accordance with the prescribed schedule of testing.  Trip barriers to be in place to prevent overloading. Redundant leads to be isolated and removed or boxed in

Musical equipment and some costumes.

Store Room for

Studio 1

A water and CO2 fire extinguishers are to be placed in the room as per attached plan. The smoking ban must be enforced by staff or persons hiring rooms.

Large amount of cabling

Technicians Room

 A regular check by the Technician is to be carried out to reduce the likelihood of a build-up of heat in coiled cable’s which may lead onto a fire.

Sources of Fuel


Action/Control measure

Wood, props, paint etc.


Carry out a regular check to remove excess stock and to maintain a minimum stock of flammable materials.  Store flammable materials in fire proof metal cupboards.  Maintain no smoking and no naked flames rules. Any hot work to have a written risk assessment and the approval of the Theatre Manager.

Timber props

Basement stores

Remove unnecessary items before they become a hazard..


Studio 1

Deploy water extinguisher as per plan

Hydrogen gas being produced during charging batteries

Battery room

Ventilation bricks to be kept free of obstructions, monitoring and maintenance of charger. Team Q to carry out tests and any remedial action required.

Persons at Risk


Action/Control measure

Staff, visitors and contractors

All areas

Include fire safety procedures and rules in staff Inductions.

Familiarise all occupants with procedures, including practice emergency evacuations.

Provide visitors and contractors with safety information and audiences’ with a safety briefing prior to the performance.

No more than four wheelchair bound persons to be permitted on site during any performance.

Safety literature sent to visiting companies with the contact for signature.

Staff, visitors and contractors

Staff rooms, toilets, dressing room, workshop, auditorium, practice areas and teaching rooms.

Members of the public & visiting performers

Toilets, dressing rooms, auditorium, and seating area.

Means of Detection


Action/Control measure

  1. Automatic Fire Alarm System

Audible only

Only effective when the Theatre has persons on site. Recommended that that the system is extended to a 24 hour alarm centre.

  1. Rooms within rooms

  • Bar
  • Office
  • Control box

Maintain visibility through shutter

Maintain visibility through vision panel

Visible through panels

  1. rooms where a fire may remain undetected for some time

  • Basement
  • Tank room
  • Battery room.
  • Technicians Room

Automatic fire detection to be installed at these locations.

View panel to be installed into the door of the Technicians Room..

  1. Areas where dust may be produced*


Dust extraction systems to be activated whenever work that produces dust is undertaken within the Workshop. This system needs to be tested to ensure the safe removal of airborne particulates.

Every technician who works in a dust laden atmosphere must complete an Industrial Asthma self assessment form every 12 months.

Means of Warning



Audible warning

All areas

The system is to be checked each week by a member of the staff and a record kept. The visual emergency alert in the “Sound Box” is to be tested at the same time.

Means of Fire Fighting


Action/Control measure

Fire extinguishers

See attached plans).

To be visually checked each week by a member of staff and a record kept, and to be checked every 12 months by a fire engineer.

Means of Escape



      Emergency Exit                                      Width

Action/Control measure

Listed on the floor plan all the doorways on the routes.

  1. Downstage left exit from auditorium                       1.25m
  2. Push bar exit to car park                       1.2m
  3. Boiler room doors
  4. Workshop exit to car park                       1.1m
  5. Backstage corridor - dressing rooms                       1.1m
  6. Backstage corridor - workshop/car park                       1.1m
  7. Backstage corridor - Foyer                       1.1m
  8. From basement via male dressing room                    1.1m
  9. from basement via female dressing room          1.1m  
  10. downstage right exit                        1.1m

11downstage right exit to foyer                                1.2m

  1. From auditorium to foyer                       1.5m
  2. Auditorium to Foyer                       1.5m
  3. Bottom of front stairwell                                        1.5m
  4. Front Entrance                        1.4m
  5.  Gantry entrance                       0.8m
  6. Front roof exit                       0.8m
  7. East Roof exit                       0.8m
  8. Racks Room roof exit                       0.8m
  9. Corridor to front roof exit                       0.8m
  10. Landing to front stairs                       0.8m

List doors on escape routes that do not open in the direction of travel

Door 10

Doors 17 and 18 (roof) when being used for escape from the west side of the building

This route needs to be signed as an alternate emergency exit

Means of Escape (continued)


Action/Control measure

List internal doors on escape routes that do not have smoke seals or intumescent strips

Doors 1, 5, 10, 15

Fit smoke seals

List any holes or gaps in walls, ceilings and floors, e.g. where cables or pipes go through them

Doors 6, 9, 10

Put fire-stopping material in gaps around pipes and cables.

Escape routes across roofs.  

Escape routes across the Roof slippery in wet or icy weather.

A non slip surface to be provided along the roof escape route.



Action/Control measure

Fire Door keep closed.

Most fire doors do not the appropriate signs

Obtain and put up signs.

Management Action Plan


Anthony Moore.   Health and Safety Advisor                                      Signed                                           12th July 2011

Debby Jones.      Theatre Technician                                          Signed

Head of Department

David Wybrow.    Theatre Manager                                                        Signed