Fire safety may not be the most exciting of subjects, but the recent fire at the famous Itegue Taitu Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is yet another reminder that travellers need to take the subject seriously.
Fire safety standards are not always as stringent as they are here in the UK; in some parts of the world functioning smoke detectors and fire alarms are not as common as we would like them to be, and sprinkler systems can be a rarity. This makes a fire in the middle of the night a really dangerous proposition.
There are plenty of practical steps that travellers can take.
For example, what floor do you want to stay on? From a fire safety point of view we would recommend avoiding anything above the third floor. If you are forced to jump (and we stress that this should always be a last resort), the chances of surviving from above this height are unlikely and in some parts of the world fire ladders may not reach above the fourth floor.
It is also worth working out 2 escape routes from your room (in case one of them is blocked). Once you have identified the fire exit, walk the route from your room, counting the number of doors you pass. In the event of a fire and limited visibility due to smoke this will enable you to find your way easily by counting the doors. This is especially important given that smoke rises and exit signs are nearly always placed at ceiling level and therefore may not be visible.
We would also recommend carrying a portable smoke detector with you when you travel. The FlareSafe is a small, portable device that fits easily in your bag- it may just save your life!
Check it out here: FlareSafe Portable Smoke Detector
For more top fire safety tips check out the 7 key steps from Flarebrands Ltd, manufacturers of the FlareSafe, below.
In part 2 will look at key steps to take in the event of a fire.