Premises liability laws require hotel owners to keep hotel premises
in a reasonably safe condition. Hotel owners and business managers must
warn guests of any hazards when they create a dangerous burn or fire
injury situation on hotel premises, or allow an unsafe condition to
During a hotel fire,
a guest can try to prevent injuries by remaining in the room or
going back to the room if in the hallway or other hotel area. Do not
panic. Panic is sudden, overpowering fear. It will make you lost,
disoriented, or unaware of what to do. Panic is almost irreversible:
once it takes over, it will make you do things that can leave you dead.
If you are prepared on what to do, where to go, and how to get there in a
fire, panic will not set in.
When struck with a hotel fire, prevent death and burn injuries by
keeping the hotel room door closed and taking these safety steps.
- Prevent smoke from entering the room by using tape to seal around
the windows, vents, door, and receptacles. Dampen towels and sheets in
the tub or sink, and stuff them into open spaces if tape is
unavailable. If there is smoke, there is not necessarily fire. Smoke,
when warmer, will accumulate at the ceiling and work its way down. Smoke
may irritate the eyes, making the eyes want to close. The fresh air to
breathe is at or near the floor. Get on the hands and knees.
- If a phone is working, call the fire fighters to give them the room
number. Most hotels will not call the Fire Department until they have
verified whether or not there really is a fire and tried to put it out
themselves. Should you call the reception to report a fire, they will
send someone to investigate. Hotels are very reluctant to “disturb”
their guests with fire engines in the streets.
- Fill the tub or sink with water. Turn on the bathroom vent fan to clear smoke.
- Open the window to let out smoke and then close it. Break the
window only if the room has been invaded by smoke and air is required to
survive. Cover the face with a damp cloth to help in breathing.
- Do not jump out of a room. Most are killed or injured in the
process of jumping, unless on the first floor. If you are any higher
than the third floor, the probability is you won’t survive the fall.
Nearby buildings seem closer than they actually are and people have died
trying to jump to a building that looked a few feet away.
A hotel owner’s duty to prevent injuries to guests may include making
hotel occupancy safe by having emergency phone numbers and other
important information on fire tips posted close to a hotel room phone or
in a hotel room. There may be an emergency escape plan like marked
exits in a hallway. A room should have written details in a guest
binder on emergency procedures.
If you've been seriously injured or have a family member who has been severely burned, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.