Vacation Fire Safety

Home Preparations

When you are planning your vacation, plan for your home safety, too. Check that all stoves, ovens and electrical appliances have been turned off or are disconnected. It’s a good idea to unplug television sets, radios, computers, DVD players, etc. when you are away. If lightning storms occur, or there are strong electrical surges, they could damage your electronics or start a fire. It is also a great idea to have all electronics plugged into a power strip that has a built-in surge protector. 

Make sure any lamps on timers are using the correct wattage bulb and are well away from any combustibles.

When you come home from a long vacation, check your smoke alarm as soon as you can. The batteries could run down or it could fail while you were away.

FEMA & USFA Stay fire-safe when you travel. Choose a hotel protected by smoke alarms and sprinklers.US Fire Administration Hotel and Motel Fire Safety (PDF)

US Fire Administration Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Spanish (PDF)

Hotel/Motel Fire Safety


When staying in a hotel or motel, make sure it has smoke alarms installed. It’s more preferable to have a hotel or motel that has a fire sprinkler system in it, too. If there is no fire sprinkler system, request a room on the lower floors.

Once settled into a room, be sure to read the fire safety information that is usually attached to the back of the room's door. Just like in a home, occupants need to have a plan on how to escape in case there is a fire or emergency. Some hotels even have a video that you can watch on the room TV that tells you what to do in an emergency.

Ensure all occupants know how the door locks work and if the window opens and how they unlock. Know where the closest fire alarm pull station and fire exit are located on the floor. Because smoke can be very thick and dark, count the doors from your room to the exit. Keep the room key and your cellphone near the bed. Your cellphone can be used as a flashlight to aid in exiting in the event of an emergency.

Evacuating - If the door does not feel hot

If the fire alarm sounds or there is a threat of a fire in the hotel or motel, investigate to see if evacuation is necessary. Before opening the door, feel it with the back of the hand to see if it is hot. If it is cool then exit.

Always take the room key and a cellphone when exiting the room, in the event access is needed again quickly. If smoke is visible, stay low under its level, and use a wet towel to cover your mouth and nose to filter the air. If you do not hear a fire alarm, pull the manual alarm at the pull station near the exit as you are leaving to warn the other guests. Once outside, locate the hotel or motel management to give them information about the fire and inform them of your whereabouts. Do not stand in the fire lanes and do not try to move any cars, as these actions can block or delay the firefighters.

Evacuating - If the door feels hot

If the door is hot, do not open it. Stay in the room. Fill the bathtub with water. Place wet towels or sheets into the cracks around and under the door to keep the smoke out.

It is a good idea to travel with some duct tape, too. It can be used to seal the door and any common air vents that the smoke could enter through. Duct tape also can spell out words on a window to get help. Make sure to call the fire department and tell them how many occupants are in the room, as well as the room number.

Fire in your room

If the fire starts in your room, get out, close the door and activate the fire alarm system. Call the fire department as soon as you are safely out of danger.

Never use the elevator to escape a fire; always use the stairs. Stay to the right side of the stairs to allow firefighters to come up. Also, hold onto the stair handrail to avoid falls.