Some of us like a very relaxing vacation destination, while others like to see as many of the sights that we can squeeze into the vacation time frame. Whether you fit one of those examples, or fall somewhere in between, you must spend a few minutes planning for the safety of your family as you prepare to head out and enjoy your vacation.
When you book your hotel rooms, consider choosing those that are protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system. No doubt about it, having both of those safety items in your hotel gives you the best chances of survival if a fire should break out.
When you enter your room, review the escape plan posted in your room. It makes great sense to take the few minutes necessary to do this. Most of us orient ourselves from our room to the elevator. In a fire, the elevators will go down to the lobby level and stay there. Make sure you know the directions for the exits on your floor and actually visit them and look inside. The doors should open easily, self-close and remain unlocked and should identify the floor you are on.
Keep your room key by your bed and be sure to take it with you if there is a fire. If you find your outside hallway blocked by heat, smoke and/or fire, your best action may be to go back into your room to seek refuge. Without your key, that may be impossible to re-enter your room. If you must escape through heat and smoke, crawl low to the floor.
If you must stay in your room and cannot escape, shut off the fans or air conditions in the room to avoid circulating air that may be contaminated. You may have heard people say to stuff wet towels around the cracks around the door to your room. That is good advice. Once that is done, call the fire department from your room or cell phone so that they are aware of your situation.
Wait at the window to your room. If it is dark outside, consider signaling with a flashlight or light-colored clothing to rescuers outside. This may make it easier to spot you. Keep in mind, we may not immediately try to rescue occupants. In many cases, putting the fire out quickly saves more lives. If your situation changes and you are in danger due to smoke and/or heat conditions, call us back and let us know about the change so we can adjust our plan accordingly.
Summer is a great time for family vacations. We would just like you to take safety on vacation with you so everyone returns home safely.
Tom Kiurski is training coordinator for the Livonia Fire Department.