I don’t stay in flea-bag motels – I really don’t.  That’s why it amazes me that almost every hotel I stay in has extreme issues with their fire doors.  I’m on a short vacation with my family, and as you can see from the graphic on the right, the resort consists of several connected 2-story buildings with a total of 256 guest rooms.  The only rooms that are equipped with sprinklers are the rooms that have fireplaces – if I had known that I might have sprung for the upgrade.

Although they’re not shown on the floor plan, there are fire-rated doors at the ends of each guest room corridor, with a cross-corridor door in the center.  I noticed on the way in that the fire door adjacent to our room was propped open, and the latch had been removed.  As I have looked around the resort, every single one of these fire doors has been rendered completely useless because ALL of the latches have been removed and ALL of the doors are propped open with wedges.  Many of the doors are in terrible condition, as shown in the close-up of the hinge.  Most of the cross-corridor doors in the center of each guest room corridor are aluminum storefront.  All of them are propped open, except for the ones that have been removed completely.

It’s absolutely amazing to me that there is no protection at all from one building to the next, and no separation between the sleeping units and the other occupancy types – particularly Assembly.  There’s a hockey tournament in town and many families are leaving their guest room doors open while they socialize in the corridor or in their friends’ rooms.  If there is a fire, the smoke and flames will be allowed to spread unchecked from one building to the next.  Our room is on the first floor and the slider opens to an enclosed courtyard.  I haven’t investigated the night-time courtyard egress – the doors are unlocked during the day.  I feel relatively sure that we would be able to exit in an emergency, but I’m shocked that the hotel, their insurance company, and the local fire marshal are not concerned (or maybe not aware?) of this situation.

If you’re wondering whether the threat of fire in hotels is worth losing sleep over, check out the NFPA statistics.

US Federal Government employees are required to stay in fire-safe hotels when on official travel.  Check the list before your next hotel stay.

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