Vacation Fire Safety
When you are planning your vacation, plan for your home safety too. Make sure you check that all stoves, ovens and electrical appliances have been turned off or are disconnected. It’s a good idea to unplug television sets, radios, computers, DVD players, etc. when you are away. If lightning storms occur or there are strong electrical surges, they could damage your electronics or start a fire.
Make sure any lamps on timers are using the correct wattage bulb and they are well away from any combustibles.
When you come home from a long vacation, check your smoke alarm as soon as you can. The batteries could run down or it could fail while you were away.
Hotel / Motel Fire Safety
When staying in a hotel or motel, make sure it has smoke alarms installed. It’s more preferable to have a hotel or motel that has a fire sprinkler system in it too. If there is no fire sprinkler system, request a room on the lower floors.
When settled into a room, be sure to read the fire safety information that is usually attached to the back of the entry door. Just like in a home, occupants need to have a plan on how to escape in case there is a fire or emergency. Some hotels even have a video that you can watch on the room TV that tells you what to do in an emergency.
Ensure all occupants know how the doors locks work and if the window opens, as well as how they unlock. Know where the closest fire alarm pull station and fire exit are located on the floor. Because smoke can be very thick and dark, count the doors from your room to the exit if needing to find it in a dark hallway. Keep the room key and cellphone near the bed. The cellphone many times can be used as a flashlight to aid in exiting in the event of an emergency.
The US Fire Administration provides a good handout on Hotel and Motel Fire Safety (PDF).
Evacuating - Door Doesn't Feel Hot
If the fire alarm sounds or there is a threat of a fire in the hotel or motel, investigate it to see if evacuation is necessary. Before opening the door, feel of it with the back of the hand to see if it is hot. If it is cool then exit.
Always take the room key and a cellphone when exiting the room, in the event access is needed again quickly. If smoke is visible, stay low under its level, and use a wet towel to cover mouth and nose to filter the air. If the fire alarm is not sounding, pull the manual fire alarm pull station at the exit as when leaving to warn the other guests. Once outside, located the hotel or motel management to give them information about the fire and inform them of your whereabouts. Do not stand in the fire lanes and do not try to move any cars, as these actions can block or delay the firefighters.
If Door Feels Hot
If the door is hot, do not open it. Escape through a window if possible. If you cannot escape through a window and the door is hot, stay in the room. Place wet towels or sheets into the cracks around and under the door to keep the smoke out. Do everything you can to let the fire department know exactly where you are (call 911).
It is a good idea to travel with some duct tape too. It can be used to seal the door and any common air vents that the smoke could enter through. Duct tape also can spell out words on a window to get help. Make sure to call the fire department and tell them how many occupants are in the room, as well as the room number.
Fire In Your Room
If the fire starts in your room, get out, close the door and activate the fire alarm system. Call the fire department as soon as you are safely out of danger.
Never use the elevator to escape a fire; always use the stairs. Stay to the right side of the stairs to allow firefighters to come up. Also, hold onto the stair handrail to avoid falls.
Click here to view an info-graphic from the National Fire Protection with more vacation safety tips.