To protect against the threat of damage, injury and lost business, Cintas recommends hoteliers take the following steps to safeguard against a fire:
• Have an emergency action plan (EAP) in place and practice it. Perform unannounced fire alarm drills with employees so everyone is aware of the exit strategy in the event of a fire. Identify a safe meeting area outside the building where a headcount can be performed. Drills should be performed at least twice a year with all departments and shifts.
• Develop a building layout diagram. Make sure the building layout is posted on every floor with exits clearly marked. Staff should be required to review the layout and know the location of the nearest exits and be able to help direct guests if an emergency evacuation is needed.
• Identify the exits. In addition to knowing the nearest exit from the daily work area, staff should know at least two ways out no matter where they are in the building. Exits should be regularly checked for obstruction. In addition, exit signage should be monitored to ensure all lights are working properly.
• Conduct routine inspections. Make sure fire extinguishers and emergency backup lights are checked and tested on a regular basis by a trained fire prevention expert. Fire extinguishers should be installed on each floor, near exits. As a part of the EAP, workers should be trained by a professional on the proper use a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire.
• Inspect smoke alarms and sprinkler systems. Make sure smoke alarms have been professionally inspected and tested to give proper warning in the event of a fire. Should a fire occur, a sprinkler system is one way to immediately contain the fire, so these systems should also be regularly checked and in working order.
• Test and inspect the fire suppression system. Many hotel fires start in the kitchen. A fire suppression system is one easy way to quickly contain a fire and limit damage once it starts. The fire suppression system should be checked on a regular basis to ensure it is properly working.
• Train employees. OSHA standards require employers to review parts of the fire prevention plan with employees that are necessary for self-protection. Training programs can include fire extinguisher training and education on the different types of fires. Training should occur annually and upon hire.