Readers' Responses on Hotel Fire Safety

We received responses to a reader's questions on hotel fire safety. Al Stump asked: "What are some tips if you can not escape from your hotel room?"

One reader suggested to write "help -- trapped here" on a window with a bar of soap.

Below are other comments:

Lanny Reding, president, All Tech Convergent Security, LLC, writes:

As an old Army pilot, it was drilled into us to stay away from plastic materials when flying. They burn and melt into your skin. Good idea if you are trying to preserve yourself in a fire. Get rid of any nylon, elastic and rubber in your clothing; try to wear only cotton clothing and leather shoes.

1. Run water in the bathtub as soon as you can. It might not be available for long.

2. Find all cotton towels and sheets, moisten and wrap yourself in these.

3. Drapes can be nylon and the smoke can kill you. Makes sense to take these down, wet them.

4. Make sure you are ready to get out quickly when help arrives.

5. Protect your airway. Make sure you are filtering the air; even if there is no smoke, there might still be chemicals in the air.

6. Stuff wet towels, etc., under doorways of course, or any other "vents" you can see that need to be plugged.

7. Best to prepare. When you check in, make sure you know where the exits are and plan your escape. Remember, everyone else is trying to get out too. Prepare for a panic situation.

8. Help others if you can. Stay together. Responders will have less work to do if everyone is together.

Charlie Morgan writes:

Perhaps the first thing to do would be to wet several towels and place them at the bottom of your door. This will help prevent smoke from entering your room. Next take the ice bucket and wet the area around the door and the door itself if you feel it is warm or hot. This may prolong the fire period to burn through. Keep in touch with the phone or your cell phone; make sure someone knows you are stuck in the room with no exit. Keep extra wash cloths wet to be used to breathe through if smoke begins to enter the room and keep low to the floor. At a last resort check the windows; if you are a short distance from the ground, use a chair to break the window if it will not unlatch and exit. Best of all, let's hope you never have to experience this problem.

Robert Harter writes:

Some of the ways you can increase your chances of survival are:

1. Place wet towels or sheets at the bottom of the door to retard the entrance of smoke and fire. Also wet down the door if wooden.

2. You can get breathable air by breathing the air from the bathroom sink drain pipe which is vented outside.

3. You can hang a white sheet or towel outside the room to signal fireman of occupancy

4. If you have a cell phone, you can call 911 and alert them to which room you are in.

5. You also can fill the tub with water in case the water supply is shut off and no other water is available.

Jeff Weslow writes:

1. Open window if possible.

2. Wet towel and place at base of door.

3. Contact fire officials and let them know where you are.

4. Contact relatives to let them know you are in the building and where.

5. Don't panic.

6. Fill tub with water to use to cool down if room heats up.

If you have any comments or suggestions to add, please respond to [email protected] (please put hotel fire safety in the subject line). Responses will be posted in a future E-news. Please include your name, title, company name, city and state with your submission. Due to security concerns, we are unable to accept responses sent in the form of an e-mail attachment.

Also feel free to continue the discussion on hotel fire safety on the forums page ( of

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