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Tips to surviving a hotel fire

To protect yourself in the event of a hotel fire, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Here are a few tips.
/ Source: TODAY

To protect yourself in the event of a hotel fire, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In a fire emergency the KEY life safety factors are: EARLY WARNING, PROMPT REACTION and EFFECTIVE RESPONSE.

Regardless of hotel brand or room cost, it is important that consumers ask questions to determine if your hotel considers safety to be as important as you do. Here are some sample questions to ask when booking a hotel stay.

Ask the following questions when booking your hotel:

  • Is the building protected throughout with an automatic fire sprinkler system?
  • Is every guest room equipped with smoke detectors?
  • Does the building have an emergency communications (fire alarm) system and what does the evacuation signal sound like?
  • Is there a well-trained staff on site 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies?
  • Does the hotel have ongoing staff fire and emergency management training?
  • Is the hotel SafePlace® Accredited? If yes, you know that specific security, fire protection, health and life safety features are present and have been independently verified.

To escape a hotel fire:

  • Listen carefully for instructions over the building emergency communications (fire alarm) system.
  • Check closed doors for heat before you open them.
  • If you are escaping through a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame before you open it. Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat - burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., crawling, handrails and ladders).
  • Evacuate immediately, quickly and calmly, following posted evacuation instructions and emergency communications (fire alarm) system messages.
  • Take your room key along with your personal Lifelines™ Map already prepared. (See for more information about preparing a personal Lifelines™ Map.)
  • Place a Retreat Target™, something unique to you like your suitcase or piece of clothing, outside your door as you exit your room to aid you in quickly finding your room should you need to go back.
  • Move directly to the nearest exit stairwell that is free of fire and smoke. If the nearest stairwell is obstructed by smoke or fire, use your alternate personal Lifelines™ Map escape route. Be aware that the only available exit route may contain limited amounts of smoke or fire.
  • Crawl low under smoke to breathe cleaner air if there is a fire.
  • Avoid using elevators when evacuating a burning building.
  • Never reenter the building unless directed by authorities.