This is the time of year when many of us are travelling on leave and staying in hotels. I have just returned from three weeks in Europe with my family, and it occurred to me after a conversation with my kids that when I stay in hotels I take into account things that most people don’t even think about. So, instead of my usual nonsense, I would like for this issue to share with you some simple fire safety measures that you might like to think about when you choose and use hotels, things that might just help you to return to Jakarta safe and sound for the next issue of Indonesia Expat in August. See you then!
“Check it out before you check in.” Before you book a hotel, search the Internet for information and guest comments. Look at photographs to judge the standard of housekeeping. Check the hotel’s website for information on safety and security standards. You can probably judge this book by its cover.
“Low floor near the door.” Ask for a room on the lowest floor possible, as close to the lift lobby as possible. This will give you a choice of the fire exit near the lift or the fire exit at the end of the corridor if you need to leave.
“Know your way out.” Make a mental note of where the nearest fire exits are and check if the window is an optional escape route. Count the number of room doors between your room and the exits and note which side they are so you have a choice of ways out even if you can’t see. For example, remember “right four left” if you turn right for the exit and it is four doors down on the left, or “left two right” if you turn left for the exit and it is two doors down on the right. Close your eyes and make a mental image of the routes in your mind. Try to use the stairs to reach the lobby at least once so you are familiar with that route if the lifts are disabled.
“If in doubt, get out.” If you hear, smell or see anything unusual, get out via the nearest fire exit if safe to do so and alert hotel staff to your concerns.
“Look before you leap.” Check there is no fire in the corridor outside your room or outside the window before you try to exit that way.
“Raise the alarm.” Let hotel staff and the authorities know as soon as possible that you believe there is a dangerous situation by whatever means possible – don’t be shy and don’t assume somebody else has done it.
“Poise and noise.” If it is not safe to leave your room, remain calm and make sure everybody knows you are there. Use your mobile phone to call for help and to call as many people as possible to make sure you are not left stranded. Shout out of the window, put the lights on if they are working and flash them to attract attention.
“Mind the gaps.” If there is smoke in the corridor, block the gaps under and around your door with wet towels. Open the window if safe to do so to allow fresh air into the room.
“Fight back.” Fill the bath with water to use for fire fighting if the flames get too close. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel to filter and cool the air as much as possible.
“Stay low and go!” If you are forced to leave your room when there are signs of fire outside, stay as close as possible to the floor where you will find the cleanest air, keep your nose and mouth covered with a wet towel and head towards your safest memorised exit as quickly as possible. Do not take belongings with you – they will only slow you down.