Fire Safe on the Road

The U.S. Fire Administration sent a reminder this week that fire safety is a prime concern for guests in hotels and motels. Two of the most famous and most deadly hotel fires were the MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas in 1980, which began in a restaurant and killed 85 people, and the DuPont Plaza Hotel fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico, an arson fire that killed 97 people in 1986.

The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 requires USFA to maintain a list of motels and hotels that meet the life safety requirements of the act. While federal employees on travel must stay in a listed property, the list is available online so the general public can search it.

According to USFA, an estimated 3,900 hotel and motel fires are reported to U.S. fire departments annually and result in 15 deaths, 150 injuries, and $76 million in property loss on average.

Its tips include asking when making reservations whether the facility has smoke alarms and an automatic fire sprinkler system. Additional tips include these:

  • When traveling, take a flashlight with you.
  • Read the fire evacuation plan carefully. If one is not posted in your room, request one from the front desk.
  • Locate the two exits nearest your room.
  • Count the number of doors between your room and the exits. This will assist you in the need of an emergency evacuation.
  • Locate the fire alarms on your floor.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • If the fire is in your room, get out quickly. Close the door, sound the alarm, and notify the front desk.
  • Always use a stairwell, never an elevator. The elevator could stop at the floor of the fire.
  • If the fire is not in your room, leave if it is safe to do so. Be sure to take your room key with you in case fire blocks your escape and you need to re-enter your room.
  • To check the hallway for fire, touch the door with the back of your hand to test the temperature. If the door is cool, get low to the floor, brace your shoulder against the door, and open it slowly. Be ready to close it quickly if there are flames on the other side. Crawl low in the smoke to the nearest exit; the freshest air is near the floor.
  • If your room door is hot, do not open it. Instead, seal the door with wet towels or sheets. Turn off the fan, heater, and air conditioner. Call the fire department to give your location. Signal from your window.

The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990's life safety requirements are hard-wired, single-station smoke alarms in each guestroom in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association standard 72 and an automatic fire sprinkler system with a sprinkler head in each guest room in compliance with NFPA standard 13 or 13R. Properties four stories or higher must have an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Posted by Jerry Laws on Jun 29, 2012


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