As with 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 be similar to those in other 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 a night. In the event of a fire, they may be disoriented, confused and at higher risk for injury. That’s why hotels need greater emphasis in providing smoke and fire safety throughout the building.
There are regulations and building codes that ensure basic protections are in place, but these may not be enough to protect both your guests and your property in the event of a fire.
Basic Fire Protection
Hotels should have several components contributing toward their fire protection plan for the building. This is to ensure safety of the guests and employees alike. It will also aid in preventing 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.
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 sprinkler heads may vary but should be present in areas of high risk, such as kitchens and storage areas.
Fire Escape Routes
Guests are not always familiar with the layout of their 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, lights that guide guests toward an exit in a smoke-filled corridor should be installed for added safety. Well-lit exit signs, as well as emergency lights assist those exiting their rooms.
Self Closing Doors
Stairways are one of the greatest conductors of smoke in buildings. They’re often the safest way for occupants to exit a building safely. Installing doors that close automatically in the event of a fire, whilst allowing for manual opening and passage to stairwells, aid in safe egress whilst remediating smoke travel. Doors constructed of flame retardant or fire blocking materials allow people to shelter in place and await help.
Flame Retardant Materials
In new construction, hotels must be built using as many flame retardant materials as possible, including the walls, floors and doors. Retrofits can also include flame retardant doors to prevent the start and spread of fire and allow occupants to shelter in place until help arrives.
Additional Steps to Protect Your Guests and Property
In addition to these basic protocols, there are other steps you must take to ensure safety and smoke protection for hotel employees and guests.
Have Designated Areas for Sheltering in Place
Guests with mobility issues who 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 technologies like fire curtains. These allow 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 block the smoke from spreading. This can help contain the smoke to one area of the hotel, minimizing damage and ensuring the safety of more guests.