Heritage Buildings


Protecting heritage buildings from fire
Durham Castle

If you are the responsible person, manager or owner of a heritage building there are a number of simple steps you can take to help protect the building and its contents from the damaging effects of a fire, in order to:

  • Lower the risk of your building being involved in a fire

  • ​In the event of a fire, limit the damage to your building and its contents

Step 1

Conduct a fire safety risk assessment of your building and its contents and record the findings. This will enable you to identify:

  • The sources of ignition and fuel

  • The potential for fire to spread through the building

  • The adequacy of the fire alarm system

  • The means of access and means of escape

  • If the building is in a rural area, the water supplies and access for fire appliances

  • The valuable contents you would like to prioritise

    Stanhope Castle

Step 2

Make a salvage plan for the building and its contents.

A number of documents are provided here to help you:

It may be necessary to download the appropriate app should you wish to view these documents on your tablet or mobile device.

Step 3

Contact the local District Fire Safety Officer in your area who can:

  • Identify areas of concern

  • Confirm the findings of your risk assessment

  • Provide you with further professional fire safety advice

  • Liaise with the operational crews

Bowes Museum

Further Advice

If you require further advice on heritage buildings, please contact the Fire Safety Department:

The Fire Safety Section
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service HQ
Belmont Business Park

By phone: 0191 916 0217 or 0191 916 0214
By e-mail: firesafety@ddfire.gov.uk

Related Publications

Fires in heritage buildings (Historic Scotland)
Guide for practitioners in Historic buildings (Historic Scotland)
Timber paneled doors and fire (English Heritage 1997)
Fire safety in historic buildings (Alan Parnell/David Ashcroft 1981)
Fire Risk Management in Heritage Properties (FPA 2014)
Heritage under fire, a guide to the protection of heritage buildings (Stewart Kidd 1993)

Elsewhere on the Web

Heritage Protection Guides (English Heritage)
Looking after our heritage (Historic Scotland) 


Our thanks to Hampshire Fire & Rescue for sharing information which helped in producing this webpage.