Hotel & Motel Safety Tips

Hotels and motels are safer than ever before, thanks to modern construction, fire - resistive materials, and strict fire codes, but a fire can start in any building. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) between the years 2000 - 2005 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,900 structure fire fires in hotels and motels. One of every 12 hotels/motels reported a structure fire each year. The leading cause of these fires was due to cooking equipment. Approximately 10% of the reported fires began in the bedrooms, but these fires caused almost three quarters of the civilian deaths. Automatic fire sprinkler systems where present in 41% of the hotel/motel fires, and none of the fire deaths occurred in these buildings.

As the holiday season approaches many of us will be traveling to other cities to be with our families and friends, so here are some hotel/motel safety tips:

  • Choose a hotel that’s protected by both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers.
  • When you check in, ask the desk clerk what the fire alarm sounds like.
  • Read the escape plan posted in your room.
  • Locate the fire alarms on your floor.
  • Count the doors between your room and the nearest two fire exits, and open the exit doors to be sure they’re unlocked. Don’t hesitate to report locked doors to the management.
  • Keep your room key by your bed and take them with you if there’s a fire. If you can not escape the building you may need to return to your room.
  • If you travel with a flashlight, keep it near your bed.

What to Do in Case of a Fire

  • If you discover a fire, sound the alarm, then leave the building.
  • If you hear the fire alarm, leave immediately, closing all doors behind you.
  • Test doorknobs and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If the door is cool, open it slowly but be prepared to slam it shut should smoke begin to pour in.
  • Use the stairs, never use elevators.
  • If you need to escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke.
  • If all escape routes are blocked return to your room.

If You’re Trapped

If you can’t escape and there is no fire in your room, stay put. Call 9-1-1 and let them know exactly where you are at, and that you are trapped. Remember that the hotel/motel service personnel may have left their work stations, or have been assigned other duties during the fire.

  • Shut off all fans and air conditioners as they may draw smoke into your room.
  • Stuff wet towels or bedding in the crack around the doors.
  • If possible open a window, but if smoke enters, close the window quickly. Do not break the window.
  • Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or light-colored cloth.