Risk Assessment…In case of fire


14th October 2013


Tasked with creating a risk assessment for a documentary about a man murdering his family then setting his house alight. For channel requirements the violence had to be restrained but the producer had asked for abstract scenes to be shot involving relevant props and real fire. Provided details of how crew set up the shots, including details on: Cast and crew requirements, Safety procedures, Define responsibilities, Research and state real resources where possible. A set table was given to record the information required.

Researching gave a focus as to what to film and pinpointed the production of the shoot in detail: Abstract scenes involving real fire shot at Shrewsbury Fire station with Shrewsbury fire crew present to monitor and put out fires and dispose of material appropriately. To create the abstract imagery on a low budget the use of everyday items will be used including a donated couch, curtains, and clothes. The crew will be a min distance of 10meters away, accept the expert that will direct the crew in the safety while items are on fire and up to setting items on fire. Doing a mix of close ups and extreme close ups of items on fire and a bucket discarded further away with fire blurred in the background. 


This task was designed to develop an understanding of creating a successful risk assessment form to be used in any situation for cover during a shoot. This is especially important for health and safety risks of the crew, cast and any specialist service involved.


It began by researching the event using google and youtube of other documentaries made and tabloid news over the incident. After deciding what area to focus and the proposed shots to use, a means to display fire safely was investigated. Realising that local departments such as the fire serive and hospital details should be on the form this was also researched carefully. This meant that the location affected these decisions. The decision was made to shoot in Shewsbury as this was a village near the original incident. Due to the use of fire it was also decided to shoot at Shewsbury’s fire station as the crew would have the necessary equipment immediately available to them and it was the safest environment to control anything and away from the public.

Then a fire specialist service for special affects was found: ‘1st call DDA Fire Safety’ (fire safety for film) at info@dafire.co.uk. There specialist service included:

  • On set fire cover and vehicles
  • Water Tankers for SFX
  • Fire Safety consultancy
  • Health and Safety consultancy
  • RTC crash rescue cover

This is a definite when working with fire on a film set. The crew were also given limitations such as staying a minimum distance away from the fire and all risks assessed by a low to high ratio and who is/was at risk. The a member of the crew is assigned to make sure the precautions are being followed through.


Lecture taken by Paul Ottey


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