News / fire safety
So in part 1 of this blog post we looked at practical measures that you can take when travelling to reduce your risk of becoming victim to a hotel or hostel fire. Smoke detectors, fire alarms and sprinkler systems may not be present, or may not work, however there are some steps that you can take to significantly lower your risk.
But what if a fire does break out? What should you do to maximise your chance of escaping?
The key thing to remember is that "Smoke is your enemy!" - avoid it if you can. Generally it is the smoke that kills. Remember, smoke and heat rise, so stay close to the ground and if moving along the corridor towards the exit keep close to the wall so you can count the number of doors (if you don't know why this is important read part 1!). Keeping close to the wall also helps to avoid people who may be panicking.
Another top tip is that if you leave your room you should leave any possessions behind- you need to be able to move unencumbered and getting out alive is the most important thing. However, there is an exception to this- room key. If you go into the corridor and find it filled with smoke or fire, you need to be able to get back into your room. It is therefore always a good idea to know where your key is and keep it easily accessible!
In our previous post we also mentioned the FlareSafe (click to find out more). This portable smoke detector, as well as its alarm function, also has an inbuilt flashlight which will automatically turn on. This allows you to locate the FlareSafe and use it to find your way to safety. It also has a strobe function which can be used to signal distress. We think it is a great piece of travel safety gear and an easy way of minimising your risk when travelling.
Check out the document below from Flarebrands Ltd, the manufacturers of FlareSafe, which gives some other great tips for maximising your chance of getting out alive in the unfortunate case you are caught up in a fire!
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.