Getting ready to go out of town? Holidays and the summer months are not the time to take a vacation from fire safety. Be sure to check your home before leaving to minimize the risk of fire while you are away and review these important safety tips:
- All stoves and electrical appliances should be turned off or disconnected.
- Unplug all television sets, computers and radios. Lightning storms or sudden electrical surges can damage or even cause a fire in these types of equipment.
- When you return, check to make sure all smoke alarms are working.
- Tell a trusted neighbor your departure and return dates. Supply an itinerary with phone numbers where you can be reached in the event of an emergency.
When you are traveling away from home and staying in a hotel or motel, it is important to know what actions to take in the event of a fire. While hotel fires account for only a small number of fire fatalities, they present a unique fire risk. Fire can spread quickly in hotels and guests are typically in unfamiliar surroundings. While sprinklers, smoke alarms and fire walls are required in many parts of the world, do not assume that all hotels will have the same safety features you may be accustomed to. The more you know in advance about dealing with a fire emergency, the better your chances for survival.
- Select a hotel/motel that, at a minimum, has smoke alarms installed. It is recommended to select lodging that also has a fire sprinkler system installed. If you must stay in a hotel/motel without alarms or sprinklers, or have mobility limitations, request a room on the first or second floor.
- When you arrive, review the fire safety information provided. It is typically posted near or on the back of the entry door. Just like in your home, you need to plan your escape ahead of time. Locate the two exits nearest your room. Walk the potential escape routes, counting the number of doors between your room and the exit. Make sure that the fire exit doors work and are unlocked. In a real fire, the hallway may become dark with smoke making it hard to see.
- Put your room key, flashlight, cell phone, eyeglasses and shoes, near the bed. You don't want to waste any time looking for things during a fire and keeping everything together can make your escape easier.
- Learn what number to call in the event of an emergency - not all locations use 9-1-1.
If the alarm does sound:
- If you feel conditions in the hallway are safe, go to your nearest exit and proceed downstairs to the first floor and exit the building. Make sure to close all doors behind you as you exit.
- Be sure to take your room key. In some cases, your room may end up being the safest place to be and you may need to return if your exit is blocked.
- If there is any smoke in the hallway, crawl low - under smoke - to the fire exit and safety.
- If a fire starts in your room, leave immediately and close the door behind you to confine the fire and smoke to the room. Activate the fire alarm and call the fire department once you are safely out of danger.
- NEVER use an elevator under fire conditions. Elevators may malfunction, cables could melt, the elevator car may heat up to lethal temperatures or open on the floor where the fire is. Always take the stairs when exiting from a high-rise building.
Every fire is different. While these guidelines may help you survive a fire, there are situations where you will need to do things differently. Taking the time to prepare in advance can save your life.