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Fire Damage in Hotels and Motels
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Hotels fires are fairly common occurrences in the news, and when they happen, they are usually serious. As is often the case with apartment fires, any time you have that many people living together under one roof, it only takes one person's mistake to displace every occupant in the building.
How Hotel Fires Start
Fire damage in hotels may come from any number of sources. Kitchens are one of the usual culprits, with electrical appliances overloading or short circuiting, or stoves and ovens overheating and causing an unexpected blaze. Many hotels also have kitchenettes in the individual rooms, which effectively increases the likelihood for a cooking related accident almost exponentially.
Practices and habits of hotel room occupants are also leading causes of hotel fire damage. One person falls asleep in bed with a lit cigarette and a fire can start, usually with deadly consequences. Sometimes guests may use too many appliances, overloading wall outlets or power strips and sparking a fire.
Hotel fires also tend to be quite serious because of a number of mitigating circumstances, namely the number of people present in the building at the time of the blaze, their unfamiliarity with the building, as well as exit doors that may be inadvertently locked or blocked.
Creating a Fire Escape Plan
It is highly recommended for every hotel to have a fire plan in place and every employee properly trained on that plan. Make sure the facility is properly equipped with fire extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, and exit doors with signs that are clearly illuminated. Also, a voice alarm system should be in place, designed to allow employees to warn guests verbally if there is a fire in the building and giving them appropriate instructions.
When an alarm sounds, it should be treated as a real emergency, even if you donít know the source of the alarm. Carry out the proper evacuation procedures and call the fire department. They will be able to determine if the threat is real. Yes, there are times you will have to deal with pranksters who think it is amusing to pull fire alarms, but if you assume the alarm is a "cry wolf" scenario, and it turns out to be a real fire, then the damage to property and life could be severe. You may also be criminally liable for your action (or inaction).
Elevators should not be used in the event of a fire, and fire extinguishers should be kept ready and up to date on their inspections at all times. You don't want one failing at a critical moment.
Conduct regular inspections of the hotel grounds for any potential fire damage threat. If exit signs are burned out, replace the bulb. If fire doors are locked, make sure they are unlocked. If there are areas of clutter or garbage that may help accelerate a fire, take the appropriate steps to clean it up and put everything in its place.
Finally, in the event of a fire, have the contact information for your local fire damage restoration professional. It is important to begin the cleanup process as soon as possible following a fire, both to prevent further damage to the structure, as well as keeping business loss to a minimum.