Every year there are almost 4,000 hotel and motel fires reported to U.S. fire departments, resulting in $76 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Almost 50 percent of these fires are started by cooking. Since I started in the fire prevention business years ago, many positive changes have been made to make hotel and motel kitchens safer, but fires still do happen.
Here are five tips travelers can take to protect themselves:
- Make sure that you confirm that the hotel or motel is equipped with automatic sprinklers and fire alarms before you travel – this is especially important for trips outside the country as the strict U.S. standards may not apply.
- Pack a small flashlight.
- Review the evacuation map posted on the floor where you are staying.
- If there is a fire, always use a stairwell and not an elevator.
- If there is a fire, feel the door of your room. If it is hot, keep it closed and seal it with wet towels. Call 911 and let the operator know which room in the hotel you are staying, and signal from your window. Break it if you have to.
Hotels and motels can protect travelers by installing our Guardian Solution, a system designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and at the same time prevent re-ignition. Once it detects heat at a pre-determined temperature, a signal is sent to release the extinguishing agent to suppress the fire and to shut off the gas or electric supply to the stove in order to prevent reigniting (see video). It should be installed in any new construction and can be retrofitted as well. It is imperative to minimize damage and injury to travelers and employees alike.
Paul Rouse is the administrative officer with Guardian Safety Solutions International, Inc. and fire suppression educator and expert In Dallas, TX. Visit www.GuardianSSI.com, on Fabebook and follow on Twitter @GuardianSSI.