The Occurrences of Hotel and Motel Fires

When you stay at a hotel for the night – or several nights- while it’s not quite the same as being in your own bed, it’s still signals something out of the norm, a break from everyday life. As a hotel guest, we don’t usually think about what’s involved in making a comfortable stay – that’s the job of the hotel owner or manager. A concern that’s of significant importance to them is the safety of the guests, specifically, protection from fire. If a fire occurred in a hotel, especially during the night hours while guests are asleep, the results could be absolutely catastrophic. Today, we can be better protected from hotel fires by looking at some trends in their causes.

The NFPA published a report looking at hotel and motel fires between 2009 -2013. Included in hotel and motel classification are occupancies that are seasonal or year-round and may also function as meeting rooms, banquet halls, restaurants, etc.

During those years (2009 -2013), there were 3,500 hotel or motel fires every year, accounting for only 1% of the total fires reported for that year. As for losses, 9 people were killed yearly in fires of these kinds, and 120 people were injured. There was also $84 million in property damages annually.

Most of the fires that broke out in hotels or motels (41%) began in the kitchen, and cooking equipment was attributed as the cause of them half the time. However, the impacts of these fires were fairly low – accounting for 8% of the deaths from hotel fires, 25% of the injuries and 8% of property damage.

Guest bedroom fires were fewer in occurrence (12% of the total of hotel fires), but resulted in $14 million in damage( whereas kitchen fires resulted in $6 million), more than double.

What can hotel property owners and managers take away from this information? While bedroom fires occur less frequently, they cause much more damage – and therefore, greater precautions should be taken. Decorative materials and objects in a guest bedroom are often highly combustible – items such as drapes, curtains, carpets, upholstered furniture, decorative hangings, etc.

And for this reason, it’s imperative that these objects be treated with fire retardants. In the event of a fire, they will no longer contribute to the spread and severity of a fire, and it allows more time for occupants to safely evacuate.

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