What Should You Do During A Hotel Fire?

hotel fire safety


On December 29, 1963, Florida would go in history of having experienced one of the worst hotel fires in the history of the US. At that time, downtown Jacksonville had only two luxury hotels, with Hotel Roosevelt being one of them. During that day, there was a fire due to faulty wires which resulted in the death of 22 people. The call was a wakeup call to Americans as the news necessitated the need to put more concrete measures when it comes to fire management.

This is just one case of the hotel fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across the US responded to a rough estimate of 3,520 structure fires in motels and hotels. The hotels are one of the most vulnerable structures due to their high activity. The leading cause of hotel fires is the kitchen.

As you can see, experiencing a fire in a hotel is a real possibility and it could happen to you, much as this would be a nasty experience. Therefore, you have to be prepared on what to do in the case of a fire. This article will guide you on what to do in the case of a fire in a hotel.

Preparing Yourself for Hotel Fires

Preparing yourself for a hotel fire, and indeed any other type of fire, is a responsible thing to do. One of the most important things to do is to check if the hotel you are going to book is fire resistant and they hired a fire protection consultant to do yearly inspections. This is information that you can get from the hotel itself, the internet, and even from the authorities. Do not compromise your safety by booking a hotel which is not fire resistant as this could lead to harsh repercussions.

When you check in a hotel, be sure to check the hallways and exit plans of the hotel. Careful visitors ask for this information right at the reception (before they check into the hotel). When you do this “research” early, and a fire occurs, you are going to save time when planning an escape. The more familiar you are with the hotel environment, the higher the probability of survival.

In connection to this research, most of the hotels are going to have a written policy about fire. In addition to that, most of the hotels are going to have a fire command center. Most of the employees are going to be aware of these provisions, and therefore, make a point to ask them about these issues.

When you are staying in a hotel room, the best place to place your keys is at the top of the table. Here, you can locate the keys fast. Imagine there is fire, and you cannot locate your room keys? Such a mistake could cost your life. It has been suggested that you should keep crucial documents at the table, and this will help you to grab them as soon as you can.

When you are choosing the hotel room, think about the probability that you could jump from the room. With this argument, then, you need to choose a room which is in the second floor and below. If you are above second floor, jumping could lead to death. If you find yourself above second floor, then the best thing to do is to think about the most feasible alternative for your escape plan.

In most of the American jurisdictions, the hotels are required to complete a fire risk assessment that will evaluate the preparedness of the hotel to a fire. The assessment checks how the hotel clients are going to be evacuated should a fire breaks out. At the end of it, these procedures and processes are going to help you as the hotel client. It should be noted that this is a matter of law, at least in many jurisdictions. This shows the government efforts to protect their consumers and ensure their safety.

It is your responsibility to carry out actions which are going to save lives. You need to evaluate how responsible you are. For example, if you do smoke, ensure that your smoking behavior does not harm the others. Similarly, if you notice that there is a risk to fire in the hotel, then clarify with the management on the issue. A simple action could go a long way in preventing a disaster in the making.

The use of safety boxes comes in handy in the storage of anything valuable. Safety boxes are going to protect you from burglary and fires. When checking in at the hotel make sure that you request to have one.

What Should You Do During A Hotel Fire?

One of the worst decisions that you can make is a decision which is made when one has panicked. Such decisions tend to be myopic, wrong, and in the case of a hotel fire, they could be the line of demarcation between life and death. The fact is that, even in the time of danger, you need to make optimal decisions that will lead to your safety. Therefore, in the case of fire, be composed, or at least try to be composed. Think about the decisions that you are going to make and how they are going to affect you.

One of the first things that you should do is to try to determine the size of the fire. You can know this through checking where the smoke is coming from. Please note that just because there is a fire does not mean that you should jump out of your room. You could be safer in your room than out. Most of the times, the commotion and the hysteria outside will help you know where others are going, but that does not mean that you must follow them.

You need to take a shower with your clothes on. With wet clothes, a fire would take more time to reach the skin. With such an advantage, you are going to buy more time that can help you seek help or reach the evacuation team. Before you dash out of your room, wet a towel and use it more so on your face. The more wet you are, the higher the strength of deterrence that you are going to have as far as protecting yourself against fire is concerned.

You need to check if there is a fire alarm near you. If there is one, then, most often, it is going to show instructions on how to use it. The alarm could also work in your favor if somebody else rings the alarm. The advantage with an alarm is that help is going to reach you as soon as possible.

The decision to go upstairs or downstairs is based on the depends on where you see the smoke. If the smoke is moving from the down up, then the best thing to do is to walk up the stairs. If you see the smoke above, then the most prudent thing to do is to walk down the stairs.

You should never use the elevator in order to escape a hotel fire. One of the reasons for this is that it is easy for the elevator to be crowded thereby endangering lives. Another threat with using the elevator is that you could be trapped in the elevator due to a power outage. Again, the elevator could take you down right to where the fire is.

Most of the cases of fire arise from smoke inhalation and not necessarily the fire itself. Smoke contains irritants, asphyxiation for instance. Therefore, find a creative way of avoiding inhaling the smoke as it could be fatal. If you can take a short time holding your breath, then that is good for your survivor.

A mistake that many people make is to try to save their bags, or their personal belongings. There is nothing wrong with you grabbing a bag if you can, but if you cannot, then it is time to move. The fact is that property is not worth life. Even crucial documents such as school certificates and the passport can be replaced. After all, when you are seeking such a replacement, you can easily give evidence that a fire destroyed crucial documents. The priority is the ability to save your life, the other things can follow later.

If you are trapped in the room, and you feel it is not safe to go out, try to communicate with the rescuers on the ground. You can do this through opening the window and shouting as much as you can to ask for help. You can even throw a toilet roll on the ground in order to seek attention from the rescuers.

Trying to get outside the room could be dangerous. Particularly, if the knob is hot, then the fire could be right outside the door. Be sure to carry out an educated assessment of the situation outside the room, and make an informed decision. In short, only get out of your room when you are sure that it is safe to do so.

The decision to call for help will depend on if the phone is working or not, and if there is somebody to answer your call. But it is worth trying to make such a call. You may call and find that the management has managed to call the firefighters and volunteer. In addition to that, the management may guide you on how you can make an emergency exit or what you should not do.

When walking out, do not run. Rather, walk down low. The lower you walk, the better it is. Walking down low is going to ensure that you breathe as much air as you can. Now that the smoke rises up, it means that going down low will help you have some chances of breathing. Inhaling less smoke will mean inhaling less carbon monoxide which can be dangerous and could lead to death.

When Abroad

Many of the hotel fires in the US have invested in ensuring that the structures and the materials are fire resistant. However, when you travel abroad, this may not be the case. Again, you could be staying in a country or an area that does not have a highly developed infrastructure, and by extension, the buildings may not be safe.

When you go abroad, try to choose the safest hotels among all the options given. Avoid staying in a hotel which has flammable materials. If you are going on a vacation, some managements of certain hotels would allow you to pitch a tent in the open. This is far much safer than staying in a hotel which is not safe. As a matter of fact, staying in a tent would optimize your travel experience as you gaze at the stars at night, and at the same time, eliminate fire risk concerns.

When you go abroad, be sure to register with the embassy or consulate on where you are and how long you are likely to be. This will come in handy should you be in need of emergency help. Whereas the American government may not take direct action on your condition, it could intervene on your behalf in order to assist you in the best way possible.

If you have travelled abroad with friends, discuss with them on what you can do in the case of danger. Working as a team helps you to prepare yourself for any possible dangers that could affect your travel, and will further increase the chances of survival.


As you can see, there are tested methods which can play a critical role in helping you to prepare for a hotel fire. All you need is to familiarize yourself with such methods in order to make informed decisions. Overall, it is very important that you prepare yourself in the case of a fire, and it is also very important that you act responsibly in the case a fire breaks out in a hotel.