Since the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel fire back in 1980 where 87 people were tragically killed, there has been a push to require sprinkler and alarm systems in all hotel and motels across the country. However every year, there are close to 3,900 hotel fires reported; tragically killing 15 and injuring 150 individuals. Additionally, The National Fire Protection Association, NFPA concludes that it costs businesses $76 million in property loss.
The fire that killed four college students in a Days Inn Motel early this year highlights the little known fact that most travelers are unaware of-older motel and hotels are not required to have sprinklers or alarms like newly built ones.
Hotels built or remodeled within the last 10 years are required to install alarms and sprinkler systems. However, older units are not required, unless building codes and local ordinances require them to under the law. In most cases, older buildings do not implement the changes due to excessive costs.
Las Vegas has long been a favorite holiday destination for many Californians and in the past 15 years, there has not been a high rise fire fatality, due in part to tough city ordinances requiring sprinklers in all high-rise hotels. There have been fires, but sprinklers quickly contain the fire and thus less people are injured or killed.
If you are traveling this summer and know you are staying in hotel, check out the NFPA’s website to see the hotels and motels in your region that are approved with safety devices. http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/applications/hotel/
One in 12 hotels reports a fire each year, so your risk of experiencing a fire or emergency is somewhat elevated. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, the NFPA has some safety guidelines to keep your hotel visit safe:
• Choose a motel/hotel with both fire sprinkler system and smoke alarms • Once you are settle in your room, review the emergency exits and escape plan • If the alarm sounds, leave your room immediately, take your key card and stay low to avoid smoke inhalation.
• Always take the stairs and avoid elevators If you are in the unfortunate circumstance to not be able to leave your room, these four tips could save your life:
• Stuff wet towels in the cracks of the door • Shut off the air conditioner and fans • If you can place a call with your cell phone, let the fire department know your location • If you have a flashlight, wait by the window, so you can signal any emergency personnel.
Have a safe vacation this summer!
James Ballidis is a California personal injury attorney specializing in accident claims.