Protecting Your Hotel Guests From Smoke and Fire Threats


Like any building, hotels can be impacted by fire at any time. From cooking fires to faulty electrical equipment, the cause of fires in hotels can often be the same as in other types of buildings.

However, unlike a residence or an office building where the occupants are likely to get to know the building, its layout and what safety protocols are in place, hotel guests may only be there for the night. In the event of a fire, they may be disoriented, confused and at higher risk for injury. That’s why hotels need to put a higher emphasis on providing smoke and fire safety throughout the building. 

There are regulations and building codes that help ensure that basic protections are in place, but these may not always be enough to protect both your guests and your property in the event of a fire.

Basic Fire Protection

Every hotel should have several components that make up the fire protection plan for the building. This is to ensure the safety of the guests and the employees, as well as to help prevent damage to the building itself.

Smoke Detectors

Every hotel room should have a smoke detector, as well as additional smoke detectors in the hallways, eating areas, kitchens, employee areas and gathering spaces. These should be hardwired and can be tied directly to other fire safety systems as well.

Sprinkler System

Sprinkler systems are another crucial component of a basic fire protection plan for hotels. They may be connected to the smoke detectors, or they may be programmed to turn on if they detect smoke particles or heat. The placement of the sprinkler heads may vary but should be present in areas of high risk, such as kitchens and storage areas. 

Fire Escape Routes

Because guests are not always familiar with the layout of the hotel, and could become disoriented in the event of a fire, there should always be a detailed map of the hotel located on the inside of their door. 

Ideally, you would also install lights that may be able to help guide guests to an exit in a smoke-filled corridor for added safety. Well-lit exit signs, as well as emergency lights, can also help assist those exiting their room. 

Self Closing Doors

Stairways are one of the biggest conductors of smoke in a building. They’re also often the safest way for occupants to exit the building. Having doors that can shut automatically in the event of a fire, while still allowing for manual opening and passage, can help cut down on the amount of smoke that travels through a building. Doors made of flame retardant or fire blocking materials can help allow people to shelter in place and await help. 

Flame Retardant Materials

When it’s new construction, hotels should be built using as many flame retardant materials as possible, including the walls, floors and doors. Retrofits can also include flame retardant doors to help prevent the start and spread of a fire and to help allow occupants to shelter in place until help can arrive. 

Additional Steps to Protect Your Guests and Property

In addition to these basic protocols, there are other steps that you can take to help ensure safety and smoke protection for hotel employees and guests.  

Have Designated Areas for Sheltering in Place


Guests that have mobility issues and cannot utilize the stairs, or guests that find their exit cut off due to smoke and fire, need a safe place to shelter where they can be easily found and rescued. For some guests, this will mean remaining in their rooms, but for others, it may mean creating areas that can be protected from smoke and fire through the use of things like fire curtains. This can allow the occupants a safe place where they can stay until help arrives. 

Block Smoke With Smoke Curtains


Elevators and stairways are two areas that can easily conduct smoke, allowing it to spread throughout the building. Smoke can sometimes travel faster and further than fire, and it can also do significant damage to property and health. 

By using smoke curtains installed above the elevators and the entrances to stairways, you can help block the smoke from spreading. This can help contain the smoke to one area of the hotel, minimizing damage and helping to ensure the safety of more guests. 

Protect Large Areas


Hotel lobbies and reception areas are often large, spacious areas with high ceilings. A fire near this area could quickly spread smoke to the rest of the hotel. 

By designing the area to include smoke curtains that deploy in the event of a fire, shutting off this area from the rest of the hotel, you can control the spread of smoke better. 

ADA and Universal Design Considerations

Hotels may have guests of all abilities staying with them. This may include guests who have hearing, mobility or visual impairments. While it can be difficult to foresee and accommodate the needs of every guest, by including some universal design features in your hotel smoke and fire protection plan, you can help to ensure that more guests are able to stay safe in the event of a fire. 

This may include making sure that smoke alarms have a flashing light for guests with hearing impairments, making sure that the exit map is available in braille, and that any signs or arrows directing the way to safety are either raised or in braille as well. 

For those with mobility impairments, make sure that they know where the best place to shelter in place is and how to get there in the event of a fire, so that they don’t become trapped. 

Protect Your Guests

Fire and smoke safety needs to be one of the first considerations that any building that caters to the public makes. This is particularly important for hotels, which may have guests that are unfamiliar with the building and its available exits. 

By helping to control smoke and fire with smoke curtains, making sure that guests have well-planned exit routes and ensuring that the needs of your vulnerable guests are met, you can help ensure the safety of everyone in the event of a fire.

For more information on hotel smoke protection, contact an expert at Smoke Guard today.