Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Email:, Blog: or

Sep 05 2012

WW: Hotel Doors

Category: FDAI,Fire Doors,Wordless WednesdayLori @ 1:25 am Comments (6)

How is it possible that hotels almost always have fire and egress door issues?  It seems like they would get it right once, then duplicate those good applications across the chain and make sure that they’re maintained.  Yet hotels have been a great source of Doors Gone Wrong.

Here are some hotel doors from Zeke Wolfskehl.  I can’t help but wonder how his wife Karen reacts to him taking door photos on vacation.  I guess she’s probably used to it by now.  My husband tries to get as far away from me and my camera as possible, in case I get busted.

These doors don’t look so bad at first…I wouldn’t specify a mullion here but it’s not necessarily *wrong* (although possibly inconvenient for luggage and carts).  The exit sign placement is nice, the doors are held open on magnetic holders which I’m assuming will release and allow the doors to closer upon fire alarm.  I see a sprinkler head, a fire alarm pull station, a fire extinguisher, the fire exit hardware is present…

Ahhh…here we go.  I wonder what happened to the filler plate.  And what’s underneath all that paint.


And from the hotel restaurant, some egress instructions that will likely not be readable in a fire situation.  I recently had a little “cooking incident” and I’ll tell you what…the top half of my first floor filled with smoke in a minute.  It’s a good thing the kids and the dog are short.  A piece of paper taped on the top half of a door – even with highlighting and arrows, will not be visible when the room fills with smoke.

I think hotels should be near the top of the list for which facilities are most in need of an annual fire door inspection.  They’re filled with people who are not familiar with the egress routes and spend a large percentage of their time in the building asleep, most have multiple floors and many are high-rise buildings, and they have a fairly high incidence of fire.

According to the NFPA, there were an average of 3,700 hotel fires per year between 2006 and 2010 – in an average year, 1 of every 12 hotels or motels reported a structure fire.  These fires resulted in an average of 12 civilian deaths and 143 injuries, with $127 million in property damage.  A fire door inspection would not completely solve the problem, but it could help.

If you’re thinking, “This is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday and she rambled on for 427 words,” you’re right.  I’m making up for the long weekend without any contact with my door peeps.

Previous Post: | Next Post:

6 Responses to “WW: Hotel Doors”

  1. Jeff Tock says:

    As one who spends too much time in hotels, I agree with you about their lack of concern about fire doors. My preference is first floor, and if that isn’t possible, no matter what floor I am on, I walk down all available staircases after I check in. You’d be surprised what you find under the stairs in a lot of hotels.

  2. Rita Jones says:

    Lori, I agree, the hotel where I spent my holiday weekend had replaced the latching hardware on the stair tower with pulls.

  3. cda says:

    I take the ice bucket out for a fill up, and go snap pictures, so the wife does not get thrown out of the hotel also!!!

    I hate those pisky security cameras in the corridors!!!!!!!!

  4. Brad Keyes says:


    You ask how is it possible that hotels always seem to have egress issues? The obvious answer is the lack of proper inspection, maintenance and the lack of knowledge of applicable codes and standards. But I pin the main problem on the lack of inspections that have ‘teeth’ by the local authorities responsible for enforcement.

    I know the building owner is responsible for proper maintenance and operation of the egress components, but let’s get real… It’s human nature to put your effort into those tasks which are perceived as most important. Unfortunately, other tasks (such as inspections and maintenance) are often overlooked because they may be considered less important or because nobody is holding the building owner (or his/her representative) accountable. I see the responsibility to hold the hotels accountable, falls squarely upon the shoulders of the local inspector for fire safety. I can imagine there isn’t enough money to have enough educated, trained inspectors to inspect hotels, but is that an acceptable answer… that there isn’t enough money?

    Oprah Winfrey once said “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

    That’s why hotels, theaters, and other public assemblies have problems with egress… the lack of integrity and accountability. If the owners and operators of these institutions do not have the integrity to hold themselves accountable, who is going to do it for them?

  5. Brad Keyes says:

    Oh… By the way… Great post!

  6. Ken says:

    127 MILLION, is just not enough for the insurance company to do anything, add a Billion. Then they would require inspections to be done from an outside company, and a copy of the report be sent directly to them. Premiums going way up or no insurance would change their ways, at least a little.

Leave a Reply