If you own or manage a hotel, you know that fire safety is of the utmost importance. While all areas of the hotel need vigilance, there are certain locations that require extra attention when it comes to preventing and handling fires. Here are tips for four vulnerable areas.
Laundry rooms have always been a dangerous area for non-confined hotel fires. There is a high concentration of heat-producing, energy-consuming appliances there and fabrics that may be contaminated with flammable materials (cooking and spa oils, for example).
Hotel laundries also process a large amount of lint-producing material with their towels and linens. If dryer vents aren't kept perfectly clean, they offer another place for high fire risk.
Tips for laundry room safety incude
- Separate flammable fabrics from those that are not.
- Utilize a state-of-the art fire detection and suppression system, with suppressants designed to work with electrical fires.
- Provide several points of emergency egress.
- Educate staff about fire safety, making sure to deal with language barriers.
- Schedule routine inspection of appliances and cleaning of all dryer exhausts. Because of the high lint build-up, dryer exhausts should be cleaned more frequently than residential machines.
Physical plants with their wealth of HVAC equipment and electrical wires are especially dangerous potential sources of fire. A fire in a plant room can be a disaster to a hotel, both in the damage it can cause and the velocity with which it can spread.
To prevent fires in plant rooms
- Make sure all equipment and wiring is up to code.
- Inspect equipment regularly, and use a service technician that is familiar with the equipment and your HVAC system (such as Clearzone Services).
- Limit the number of people who have access to the rooms.
- Provide adequate airflow around all equipment.
- Consider using equipment panels or cover grids to prevent accidents.
- Use an aggressive fire suppression system in conjunction with alarms.
- Link hotel management via Internet to all alarm systems for immediate knowledge of any problems.
- Assign a security guard to the plant room for constant human surveillance.
Kitchens are probably the first place most people think of as potential fire sources. Grease traps, flammable liquids, open flames, crowded work conditions, and often inadequate ventilation contribute to fire danger there.
In addition to employing some of the tips listed above, kitchen protocols should be reviewed by the head chef to create an orderly and less risky work area. Cooking stations need to be adequately ventilated, and all exhausts must be cleaned regularly, along with grease traps.
Guest rooms have a potential risk of guest mortality in a fire, because people are often asleep there when fires break out. To help assure your guests have a healthy stay
- Engage in memorable guest fire safety education, beyond the obligatory escape map on the back of the door. Consider offering a video on the hotel's channel or giving small prizes for guests who complete safety quizzes with check-in.
- Make sure guests don't tamper with fire alarms or sprinkler systems (check between guests).
- Limit guest access to HVAC systems that can easily cause fires, e.g., use remote controls and wall forced air ducts in the walls, rather than individual heater units.
- Use flame retardant fabrics.
- Enforce smoking regulations.
Hotel fire safety is more about prevention than anything else. If a fire does break out, your guests and staff should know how to handle it, but your main goal should be to eliminate that contingency altogether.