The time to plan your escape from a hotel fire is before you get caught in one. Here are tips that will help you plan ahead and deal with such an emergency.
When making reservations, ask if the hotel or motel has smoke detectors and fire sprinklers.
When checking into your room, familiarize yourself with the locations of the fire exits nearest your room. These are generally shown on a map posted on the back of the room door or in a closet. Use the map to locate the two exits nearest your room. Take a trip to the nearest exit and count the number of doorways you pass to get there. Make sure the stairway door is opened and that the stairs are unobstructed. Locate fire alarms and fire fighting equipment.
Figure out how to turn off the fan that delivers air into my room. Find the location of both the entry and return air vents and make a mental note of how to seal them if you were trapped in my room during a hotel fire.
Practice unlocking and opening the windows in your room. Look outside to see if you could escape without injury.
If you suspect fire, call the hotel operator immediately. Give your name, room number, and a brief description of the situation.
Having a small flashlight in your suitcase may prove invaluable as there are no guarantees that lighting will always work.
Never use an elevator as a fire exit. Elevator mechanisms can easily malfunction during a fire, causing persons to be transported to the exact location of the fire.
Leaving Your Room
Feel the door with the back of your hand if you use your palm it could get burnt and make using it difficult. If the door or knob is warm, do not open it. If the door is not warm, drop to your knees and slowly open the door, but be ready to slam it should a cloud of smoke roll in.
If the hallway is clear, head for the exit, not the elevator.
Close your door behind you. Take your key with you, if you encounter trouble you may have to return to your room. If you have a plastic key card and the power has failed the card may not work.
Do not stand upright, but crawl or keep low to the floor to avoid smoke and odorless carbon monoxide.
Stay on the same side of the hall as your exit, counting the number of doors to the exit.
When you reach the exit, walk quickly, but cautiously down the stairs, and hold on to the handrail as you go, it will prevent you from being knocked down from behind.
Smoke will sometimes get into an exit stairwell. If you encounter smoke, do not try to run through it. Turn around and walk up. Proceed to a smoke free corridor and cross the building to an alternate exit.
Staying in Your Room
If you are unable to leave your room, make every effort to notify someone that you are in your room. If you cannot reach the hotel operator, call the local fire department and identify your exact location. Signal to them by hanging a bed sheet from your window. If there is smoke in your room, open the window. Do not break the glass unless it is absolutely necessary because heavier smoke may begin to enter from outside.
Fill the bathtub with water. Wet towels and sheets and stuff them around the door and vent which is allowing smoke to enter the room.
If the door and walls are hot, bail water on them with your ice bucket to keep them cool. Place the mattress up against the door and hold it in place with the dresser. Keep it wet. Keep everything wet.
A wet towel tied around your nose and mouth will help filter out smoke if you fold it into a triangle and put the corner in your mouth.
If there is a fire outside of the window, pull down the drapes and move everything that is flammable away from the window.
You can avoid panic by having a specific plan of action to employ should you be involved in a fire.