Editorial: Make sure lodging you book is safe, follows codes before choosing it

Jun. 02, 2013 @ 11:04 PM

As the school year closes, many Tennesseans are turning their attention to vacation plans. The State Fire Marshal’s Office suggests fire safety be made part of those plans.

“Hotels and motels become a home away from home for travelers, so it is important to become familiar with new surroundings and to have a plan in place should an emergency arise,” said State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak.

Here are her suggestions:

  • Choose a hotel that is equipped with both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers — these often are searchable features on travel websites.
  • When you check in, ask the desk clerk what the fire alarm sounds like. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, ask for a room equipped with a smoke alarm and accessories that will awaken you, or for a portable smoke alarm made specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to place in your room. You may want to consider buying one for travel, if you need, and bringing it with you.
  • Read the escape plan posted in your room. These often can be found on your hotel room’s door.
  • Count the number of doors between your room and the nearest two fire exits. Open the exit doors to be sure they are unlocked.
  • Bring a flashlight; keep it near your bed.
  • Also keep your room key by your bed, and take it with you if there’s a fire. If you cannot escape, you may have to return to your room.
  • If you hear an alarm, leave immediately, closing all doors behind you.
  • Use the stairs – never use elevators during a fire.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • If all escape routes are blocked, return to your room. Shut off fans and air conditioners. Stuff wet towels or bedding in the cracks around the doors and vents. Call the fire department to let them know your location. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or light-colored cloth.

Make this a fun and safe vacation and summer. Following these helpful suggestions can go a long way in ensuring that.