There are numerous steps one can take when planning a business trip or vacation. However, there’s one additional step many haven’t considered prior to making a reservation – Is your hotel/motel fire-safe? The United States Fire Administration (USFA) suggests you “look before you book.” By reviewing FEMA’s Hotel-Motel Master List (http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/applications/hotel/#searchlist) you can check to see if your hotel/motel meets the required fire-safe standards.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (www.nfpa.org), between 2006 – 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 3,700 hotel/motel structure fires (an average of 1 out of every 12 hotels/motels). These fires caused average annual losses of 12 deaths, 143 injuries, and $127 million in property damage each year. Although a small percentage (12%) originated in bedrooms, these fires are associated with causing 72% of the deaths and 31% of the injuries. Reports also indicate that smoking materials (10%) are contributors to the start of these fires resulting in 79% of the deaths.
When traveling, NFPA suggests the following safety tips:
Before Leaving Home
· Contact the hotel/motel and ask if they have smoke alarms and a sprinkler system.
o When sprinklers and working smoke alarms are present, your chances of surviving a fire greatly increase.
· Pack a flashlight with “new” batteries for use as a guide through dark and/or
smoky halls or to signal rescuers.
· Become familiar with your surroundings
o Read the fire evacuation plan posted in your room. If not posted, request one from the front desk.
o Locate two exits from your room.
o Count the number of doors between your room and the exits. This will help should you have to evacuate in an emergency.
o Check the location of the fire alarms on your floor.
o NEVER smoke in bed.
Life Safety Tips
· Fire in Your Room
o Get out quickly. Close the door. Sound the alarm. Notify the front desk.
o ALWAYS use the stairwell. NEVER use the elevator.
· Fire in the Hotel
o If safe – Leave quickly.
§ Take your room key in case fire blocks your escape and you need to re-enter your room.
§ Take your flashlight.
o Before leaving your room -- touch the door with the back of your hand to test the temperature for heat.
§ If your door is cool
· Stay low to the floor and open it slowly. Be ready to close it quickly if there are flames on the other side.
· If there is smoke, crawl low to the nearest exit; the freshest air is near the floor.
§ If your door is hot
· DO NOT open it. Seal the door with wet towels or sheets.
· Turn off the fans and air conditioners.
· Call 911; give them your location. Signal your location from your window.
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue urges you to continue practicing fire prevention when traveling on business or vacation. Most importantly, get your children involved and in the habit of performing fire safety checklists at home and away to ensure your family’s safety.