In December 7, 1946, Winecoff Hotel experienced the harsh reality of a hotel fire. Guests and employees working on third floor and upwards were trapped in the building. Some of the guests panicked and started jumping out of the window, falling to their death. The event received a lot of media attention.
Though the management had stated that the hotel was fireproof, at least some parts of the building were combustible. The stair arrangement made it difficult to fight the fire. The following are the statistics from the Winecoff Hotel fire:
– 109 deaths
-120 rescued uninjured
In the UK, The Chumleigh Lodge Hotel, London, went through a fire safety trial. This was due to a fire that took place on 18th May 2008. The fire started from a guest room in first floor, and spread to second floor. The hotel was slapped with a fine of at least £210,000. The following mistakes were identified:
-The hotel had no smoke alarms
-The fire escape routes of the hotel were obstructed
-The fire doors were defective
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that in every year, there are 3700 fires in hotels and motels. The majority of the hotel fires are caused by heating equipment, clothing dryers and washers, smoking materials, and cooking equipment.
As you can see, the threat of fire to a hotel is real and it could affect you and your business. There are many cases in the world about the impact of fire on hotels. The information on hotel fire safety is not easily available, and it is a very important piece of information. This article will guide you on the threats to fire, and the best ways of managing fire.
The Impact of Fires in Hotels
The most serious impact of fires in hotels is the death of guests. In the case a person dies in your premises, you will have a long case to answer both to the government and the family. In short, just avoid such cases as they are not going to be easy to handle and you might waste a lot of time and resources managing such cases.
Besides possible death, you could face a situation of injuries due to fire. Such injuries could affect you, the employees, or the clients. It should be noted that some injuries could have far-reaching consequences on the lives of the affected people. For example, one could face permanent incapacitation. This could then translate to loss of jobs and physical pain.
The reputation of your hotel could be severely damage due to a fire. Often times, the hotel is accused of laxity in safety measures. This may be an unfair accusation, but it is one of the worst accusations that a hotel may face.
NFPA states that the fires in the US have a big impact including the following observations:
-$127 million in damage to property
There have been cases where affected people were traumatized due to fire. The most affected people are the survivors of a fire. As a hotel owner or manager, you need to think about the emotional health of other people. The best thing is protection from a fire incidence.
Why You Should Invest in Fire Protection
If you invest in fire protection, you are going to avoid a possible lawsuit should you be affected by fire. Hiring a fire protection e engineering consultant will help you avoid cases which could lead you on the wrong side of the authorities. Court cases can take a long time to manage and can take a long time to be settled. This is precious time which could be used in other business activities. It should be noted that cases of a lawsuit can cripple a hotel financially to an extent that it can ran out of business.
By investing in fire protection engineering, you are going to save property. A fire protection engineering consultant is going to help you lay the concrete measures required in order to ensure that property is not destroyed in the case a fire breaks out. The property of a hotel takes long to fill, and it is advisable that one protects it as much as possible.
Fire protection in hotels is a matter of law and not necessarily your choice. To state the obvious, a hotel records many guests, all located in one place. In such an environment, the fire is going to spread quickly. Authorities are not going to allow you to put the lives of others at risk.
The Importance of Fire Engineering Protection Consultant
Perhaps, the most pronounced thing that the hotel owner or manager can do is to carry out a comprehensive fire risk assessment. You could find that this is mandatory and a requirement for the operation of the hotel. In addition to that, the buildings have to be inspected regularly for fire safety compliance. In case there is a barrier to an escape route, it must be removed, a blocked escape route for instance. A risk assessment should not be a tick-box exercise, but rather, a regular exercise.
You need to invest in certain equipment in order to effectively do fire protection. Common fire protection equipment includes the following: fire doors, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and fire alarms. With the advancement of technology, other fire safety solutions are being pumped into the market. It is worth evaluating them, and thereby make an informed decisions on what is going to work in your hotel.
The fire protection engineering consultant will help you to train the kitchen staff on the best ways of managing fires. Indeed, the kitchen is a source of many fires in both commercial and residential properties. The following tips could help in reducing the probability of starting a fire from the kitchen:
-Food should not be left unattended as they can lead to a fire when the food burns
-The kitchen staff should wear tight fitting clothes, and as far as possible, short sleeves (loose clothes easily catch fire)
-The kitchen staff should know where the fire extinguishers are, and learn how to use them
-There should be reserved baking soda and salt which can help in managing the fire
-One should not smoke in the kitchen as it increases the risk of a fire
-The safe use of the oven
The best person to lead the mandate of fire protection is a Responsible person. This could be a manager of the hotel. Needless to stay, the person leading the fire protection efforts should be a permanent member of staff (and not a casual employee). In other words, it should be a person who has shown a commitment to the company in the long run. This is because such a person is going to hold critical information about the safety of the hotel, information that could save a life. Your fire protection engineering consultant will help you in training the Responsible Person for the purpose of fire safety.
It is critical that you seek customized fire services for your hotel. This is because each property has its own unique needs and preferences. The experts are going to inform you of any possible risk that could face your hotel. Therefore, there is no one-size fits all solution.
Investing in fire protection does not come cheap. Therefore, you need to invest in this and you need to do this at the right time. It should be noted that you need to train your employees about fires. Your employees do not need to be experts in the field, but at least, they should have the basic knowledge that can help them manage the situation as the hotel waits for assistance.
Do not leave the issues of fire protection on the guests. In most cases, the guests are not familiar with the hotel in question, they only come to visit and leave. As a hotel owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that you prepare the guest for any eventuality.
That notwithstanding, there are a number of things that the guests can do in order to prepare for fire protection, and the fire protection engineering consultant can help in guiding the guests on this. Such measures include the following:
-The hotel guests should make an effort to read the evacuation plans
-The hotel guests should be aware of the exit routes that are available in the hotel
-During a fire, one should never use an elevator. A staircase is safer, and it makes it easier for rescue efforts
The Fire Engineering Protection Consultant is going to look at the size of your hotel and the number of floors, and thereby give you the appropriate fire safety protection. Other factors to consider include the number of employees that are working in a certain hotel. If a hotel is big, it is worth considering having a heli-pad. In such a case, the helicopter can land, and thus, aid in the rescue efforts. It is easier for trapped people to go up the building than down the stairs.
A Fire Engineering Protection Consultant is going to help you in carrying out a test of the fire safety equipment in the hotel. Testing ensures that they equipment is ready when need be. In addition to that, the consultant is going to identify possible weaknesses in the hotel as far as fire safety is concerned.
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Fire Engineering Consultant
There are several factors that you should consider when hiring a fire protection engineering consultant for your hotel. It is important that your fire engineering consultant has worked in a hotel. If the professional has worked in other places but not in hotels, then that is an option that you need to drop. This is because
There are some companies which appreciate the role of technology in fire protection. For example, they do make use of cloud solutions in order to offer optimal fire services. Such companies have attained a competitive edge in the market and will be worth checking out.
The fire protection engineering consultant should not be too far away from the premises. Issues of fire require someone to be near. The consultant should be accessible in a short time.
You should evaluate the reputation of the consultant in order to understand his past work and how successful he was. This will enable one to make an informed decision on the reliability of the professional or lack of it therefore. If there are a number of negative ratings, you should not work with such a professional.
In a field such as fire safety, you cannot afford to hire a professional who is not licensed or a professional who is not certified. If you make such a mistake, you are going to incur losses, and the work on fire safety is going to be compromised.
What to do in the case of a fire
However careful you are about fires, a fire could occur. It is therefore important you understand the best action in the case your hotel catches fire. The sooner you call the fire department, the better. As you wait, it is important that you do a few things, for example, you could be calling anyone inside the building stating that their lives are in danger.
Whatever you do in the case of fire, inform your fire engineering protection consultant about what happened so that he or she can advise you on how best to prevent such a case in the future. In addition to that, both of you can learn vital lessons on what could have been prevented.
The importance of fire protection engineering in the hotel industry cannot be underestimated. Therefore, this is an area that you should be committed to. You need to evaluate how safe your hotel is, and how prepared you are in the case of fire. You need to do this early enough in order to avoid damage to hotel property and possible loss of lives. Overall, fire safety measures in your hotel carry a lot of benefits in both the short term and the long term.