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Tips To Be Safe On Vacation

John Beatty
Fire and Life Safety Educator III
Maine Fire Training and Education
Southern Maine Community College

In the next couple of days many people in Maine will be going on vacation either to the Caribbean or to some place warm in the United States. Just because you’re going away and will be staying in a hotel or motel, doesn’t mean that you should forget about fire and life safety. In recent years, many hotels and motels have done a lot to keep guest safe from fire. Fires can happen in any building. You can increase your chances of surviving a hotel or motel fire by being prepared and doing the right thing in an emergency. Take the time to become familiar with your surroundings and to plan your escape in the event of fire. If a fire starts, follow the tips in this letter and, above all, stay calm.

1.      Know your hotel or motel’s fire safety system.

When you make your reservation, ask about smoke detectors, sprinklers systems and stay only at motel and hotels that have these systems. Upon arrival, read the fire-safety and escape information posted in your room or public area.

2.      Find the two exits nearest your room.

Count the number of doors that lead to the exits. This will help you find them in the dark or in smoke.

3.      Be sure you can find and unlock your room in the dark.

Keep your room keys close to your bed. In the event of an emergency, close the door as you evacuate and take the room keys so that you can return to your room if the exits are blocked. Do not stop to take anything else.

4.      Find the fire alarm on your floor.

If you discover a fire on your floor sound the alarm, leave the building and call the fire department from outside the building.

5.      If a fire starts in your room get out.

Once you’re out of your room sound the alarm, notify management and call the fire department.

6.      If you hear the fire alarm, evacuate, don’t investigate.

If possible, leave the building immediately and stay out of the way of the firefighters

7.      Test all doors before you open them.

Check the door with the back of your hand to feel, if it is hot. If the door is cool, open it cautiously and continue your escape.

8.      If the door is hot don’t open it.

Call the fire department to report the fire and let them know you are trapped and what room you’re in. Shut off all fans and air conditioners. Stuff the cracks around your doors between you and the fire.

9.      Crawl low under the smoke.

Smoke rises, so clean air will be near the floor. If you must exit through the smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keep your head no more than 12 to 16 inches from the floor.

10.  Never use elevators during a fire.

An elevator might stop at the floor where the fire is or may have a malfunction as a result of the fire. Always use the stairs.

Please remember that if you are vacationing outside the continental United States, that fire and life safety laws are not always the same as living in America. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, as well as emergency plans that you find behind your door showing directions on how to evacuate your room safely might not be there.

Please take it upon yourself to check your escape route, as well as maybe taking a smoke detector with you on vacation just in case your vacation resort does not have them.

Before you leave you’re home to go on vacation though please make sure that someone will pick up your mail, cancele the newspaper and lower the heat. If you lower the heat to about 58 degree’s make sure you open the water cabinet doors so your water pipes will not freeze.

Other web sites that might help you make an informed decision on your vacation safety are:


·         www.businesstravel.about.com

·         www.meetingsnet.com

·         www.safechild.org