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Hotel and Motel Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
While they don't happen often, hotel and motel fires are often newsworthy events because they can be large in scale and affect a number of lives. Unfortunately, far too many of us do not check out the fire safety devices and procedures when we check in to a hotel or motel. This includes whether or not the building has a sprinkler system, if there are fire alarms and smoke detectors in the room, or whether the exits are clearly marked. The good news is that more and more hotels are stepping up to the plate in this area.
Today in the US, it is far safer to stay in a hotel than it is to stay in your home, with hotel fires declining by up to two-thirds over the last two decades. The vast improvements in hotel safety were spawned by a number of serious hotel fires in the early 80s that killed over 100 guests and injured dozens more. These fires were traced to a lack of proper alarms and sprinkler systems.
Today, NFPA safety codes and standards are central to the operations manuals for many of the leading hotel chains in the US, covering the construction of the hotel, the selection of furniture and wall coverings, as well as details like chemical storage and kitchen clean up, designed to take all possible fire prevention methods and put them into play as a part of the everyday operating procedures. Many hotel chains have gone beyond the NFPA requirements, recognizing that doing so makes good business sense.
Most hotels now have smoke detectors and sprinkler systems that are designed to knock down any blaze before it has the chance to spread, in hopes of keeping the fire confined to one room. Employees and service staff are also being trained on proper use of fire extinguishers and other equipment that may help keep a fire in check until the fire department can arrive.
Even many older hotel constructions have retrofitted their locations with sprinklers and other fire prevention devices. Business records indicate that hotels fitted with sprinkler systems see a marked upturn in business as opposed to those who do not take such measures. The public responds overwhelmingly to hotel chains that make customer safety a major part of their mission.
Exits should also be clearly marked and free of obstruction. More than one fire-related injury or fatality has occurred because somebody either could not locate or could not get through an exit.
All hotel employees should be familiar with any fire contingency plans, including evacuation routes, firefighting equipment, and emergency numbers and contacts. Drills should be carried out at least a couple of times a year.
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