If you're planning a vacation and your home will be empty, you can go away with a freer mind and less worry if you check your home before leaving.
Here are some prevention tips for your home:
- Check to make sure that all stoves and electrical appliances have been turned off or disconnected.
- Unplug all television sets and radios. Lightning storms or sudden electrical surges could cause a fire in this equipment while you're away.
- When you return from your vacation, check your smoke detector to make sure it is functioning. Batteries could run down or other components could fail while you're away.
Here are some safety tips for hotels and motels:
- When you are traveling away from home and staying in a motel or hotel, it is important to know survival actions in case there is a fire. Many significant fires have occurred in high rise hotels such as the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the hotel fire in Panama.
- Select a hotel or motel that, at a minimum, has a smoke detector installed. It is preferable to select lodging that also has fire sprinkler systems in place. If you must stay in a facility without smoke detectors or sprinklers, request a room on the first or second floor.
- When you first get in your room, read the fire safety information provided. It is usually posted near or on the back of the entry door. Just like in your home, you need to plan your escape ahead of time. Locate the two exits nearest your room.
- Make sure the fire exit doors work and are unlocked. Locate the nearest fire alarm and read the operating instructions. In a real fire, the hallway may become dark with smoke so count the number of doors from your room to each exit. This way you will know where you are in case you get caught in a dark hallway.
- Keep your room key and a flashlight near the bed.
- If you hear the fire alarm sound or suspect a fire in the hotel, investigate, but don't go back to sleep. If you see fire or smoke, call the hotel desk and the fire department immediately.
- Tell the person who answers the phone what room you are in.
- If you hear the fire alarm, check the door with the back of your hand. If it is cool, slowly open the door and exit. If the door is hot or warm, leave it closed and stay in the room.
- Fill the bathtub with water. Place wet towels or sheets into cracks around the door to keep smoke out.
- Call the fire department and tell them you are trapped in your room, and give them the room number.
- If the door is not hot and the hallway is not smoky, go to the closest fire exit.
- Be sure to take your room key with you. You might have to return to your room and want to be sure you can get back in.
- Crawl low under smoke down the hallway to the fire exit. Use a wet cloth over your nose and mouth.
- As you exit, pull the nearest fire alarm to warn other occupants, then leave the building. If you cannot go down, try to go up to the roof. Attract attention so they will know where you are.
- If a fire starts in your room, leave immediately and close the door behind you to confine the fire and smoke to the room. Activate the fire alarm and call the fire department once you are safely out of danger.
- Never use an elevator under fire conditions. Always take the stairs when exiting from a high-rise building. Elevators can malfunction. Many are heat-activated and have been known to stop directly at the fire floor.
(Information provided in part courtesy of the City of Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department© 2013)