Like any building, hotels can be impacted by fire at any time. From cooking fires to faulty electrical equipment, the cause of fires in hotels can often be the same as in other types of buildings.
However, unlike a residence or an office building where the occupants are likely to get to know the building. Hotel guests may only be there for the night. In the event of a fire, they may be disoriented, confused and at higher risk for injury. That’s why hotels need to put a higher emphasis on providing smoke and fire safety throughout the building.
There are regulations and building codes that help ensure that basic protections are in place, but these may not always be enough to protect both your guests and your property in the event of a fire.
Basic Fire Protection
Every hotel should have several components that make up the fire protection plan for the building. This is to ensure the safety of the guests and the employees, as well as to help prevent damage to the building itself.
Every hotel room should have a smoke detector, as well as additional smoke detectors in the hallways, eating areas, kitchens, employee areas and gathering spaces. These should be hardwired and can be tied directly to other fire safety systems as well.
Sprinkler systems are another crucial component of a basic fire protection plan for hotels. They may be connected to the smoke detectors, or they may be programmed to turn on if they detect smoke particles or heat. The placement of the sprinkler heads may vary but should be present in areas of high risk, such as kitchens and storage areas.
Fire Escape Routes
Because guests are not always familiar with the layout of the hotel, and could become disoriented in the event of a fire, there should always be a detailed map of the hotel located on the inside of their door.
Ideally, you would also install lights that may be able to help guide guests to an exit in a smoke-filled corridor for added safety. Well-lit exit signs, as well as emergency lights, can also help assist those exiting their room.
Self Closing Doors
Stairways are one of the biggest conductors of smoke in a building. They’re also often the safest way for occupants to exit the building. Having doors that can shut automatically in the event of a fire, while still allowing for manual opening and passage, can help cut down on the amount of smoke that travels through a building. Doors made of flame retardant or fire blocking materials can help allow people to shelter in place and await help.
Flame Retardant Materials
When it’s new construction, hotels should be built using as many flame retardant materials as possible, including the walls, floors and doors. Retrofits can also include flame retardant doors to help prevent the start and spread of a fire and to help allow occupants to shelter in place until help can arrive.
Additional Steps to Protect Your Guests and Property
In addition to these basic protocols, there are other steps that you can take to help ensure safety and smoke protection for hotel employees and guests.
Have Designated Areas for Sheltering in Place
Guests that have mobility issues and cannot utilize the stairs, or guests that find their exit cut off due to smoke and fire, need a safe place to shelter where they can be easily found and rescued. For some guests, this will mean remaining in their rooms, but for others, it may mean creating areas that can be protected from smoke and fire through the use of things like fire curtains. This can allow the occupants a safe place where they can stay until help arrives.
Block Smoke With Smoke Curtains
Elevators and stairways are two areas that can easily conduct smoke, allowing it to spread throughout the building. Smoke can sometimes travel faster and further than fire, and it can also do significant damage to property and health.
By using smoke curtains installed above the elevators and the entrances to stairways, you can help block the smoke from spreading. This can help contain the smoke to one area of the hotel, minimizing damage and helping to ensure the safety of more guests.