If you’ve recently experienced a fire at your hotel, you might be wondering what to do now that the fire has been extinguished and you’re left with the aftermath of the flames.
At ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we frequently perform restorative services for hotels that have faced fire damage in the downtown Chicago area, so we know how devastating they can be.
We also know how important it is to open your doors again and get back to business, so we put together this helpful guide on how to deal with the consequences of a fire at your hotel.
Let’s get started.
5 Startling Hotel Fire Statistics You Should Know About
How often do hotel fires happen?
Unfortunately, they are more common than many people realize.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), hotels make up approximately 3,520 cases annually of structural fires.
From this staggering statistic, cooking fires account for around half of the causes of hotel fire damage. Most hotel fires happen between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm, roughly around the hours when people are preparing dinner.
Though cooking fires are smaller and more easily contained, electrical fires, fires caused by careless actions, and those resulting from the misuse of equipment quickly spread and often result in broader damage.
Fires that occur in hotels come at a considerable cost, totaling over $84 million in property damage each year.
Hotel fires also lead to approximately 130 individuals suffering from injuries or death each year. Structural damage plays a significant part in those losses as well.
What is the Most Common Cause of Hotel Fires?
Fires in hotels happen more often than you think, although many of them are preventable.
Knowing some of the more common causes can help you and your staff be aware of potentially hazardous situations.
Some of the reasons hotel fires start are:
- Unattended cooking/improper use of cooking equipment
- Careless smoking
- Electrical appliances
- Faulty electrical wiring
Let’s explore each one in more detail.
Improper cleaning of kitchen utensils, appliances, and associated ductwork can allow grease to build up, increasing the chances of a fire.
Grease fires can start easily and spread quickly to surrounding areas. These types of fires also require alternative methods for extinguishing as you cannot use water, making them more challenging to control in a hotel room.
In addition, leaving food cooking unattended is an accident waiting to happen.
Although the number of individuals who smoke continues to decline overall, smoking still remains a major contributing factor to hotel fire damage.
When guests smoke inside their room, in some cases they might fall asleep or not safely extinguish their cigarette or pipe.
In addition, hotel rooms are compact and have many flammable items, including bedding and curtains that can catch fire quickly and spread to adjacent rooms.
Even if your guests smoke in designated smoke areas, if they leave their cigarettes burning in an ashtray, outdoor conditions can increase the chances of a fire spreading to nearby garbage cans, green areas, or the building itself.
Appliances within hotel rooms, including mini-fridges, cooktops, and air conditioners, eventually wear out and break down.
If these electrical appliances have faulty wires or improper plug connectors, it can cause sparks and voltage shortages which will subsequently lead to a fire breaking out.
Faulty Electrical Wiring
The wiring within a hotel gets old after time and can be a potential issue.
Electrical outlets that are hot to the touch or have signs of charring indicate that there is an issue with the electrical wiring in the hotel, and this issue should be addressed as soon as possible by a licensed electrician.
Sometimes small rodents can also cause electrical faults within a hotel. For example, chewed wires or nests can create potential fire hazards within crawl spaces or hotel walls.
How to Deal With Fire Damage at Your Hotel
If you face hotel fire damage, you must take the necessary steps to rectify the situation and get your business back up and running as soon as you can.
The longer the hotel is not operational, the more potential losses your business will have.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. Use Professional Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Services
Destruction from a fire results in lingering effects such as smoke and water damage. These consequences could delay you from reopening your business and providing quality service to your guests.
Contact a professional fire damage restoration specialist in your area, such as ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, to ensure that your property is thoroughly checked, restored, and cleaned up so you can open your doors as quickly as possible and provide guests with a top of the line experience.
2. File a Commercial Fire Damage Claim
After a fire, it’s important to file an insurance claim quickly so that you can recoup your losses and cover the costs of restoring and rebuilding the damaged areas of your hotel.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when filing a commercial fire damage claim:
- Keep a record of all critical information for the adjusters and insurance company, including taking pictures of the damage.
- Contact your commercial insurance company and report the incident.
- Hire a restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago, IL that will restore your hotel, and also handle insurance claims for you.
- Have the accounting department help prepare any loss calculations during claims investigations.
- Ensure the insurance company or adjusters can contact you off-site if they have any questions or follow-up.
- Follow proper restoration procedures that adhere to building safety codes before reopening your business to the public.
12 Important Hotel Fire Safety Tips for Your Guests & Staff
The best way to deal with a hotel fire is to prevent one from starting in the first place. Keep the following fire safety tips in mind.
- Perform regular checks of fire extinguishers, alarm systems, emergency lights, and sprinklers.
- Ensure routine maintenance and care of all necessary preventive equipment, including extinguishers, alarms, lights, and sprinklers.
- Regularly check the building structure, interior fire doors, and exterior for any potential fire hazards.
- Have escape routes clearly marked and visible to the public.
- Train staff with emergency and preventative fire procedures, and designate one or more fire wardens to take the lead in the event of a fire. Hosting regular fire drills is also good practice.
- Equip the building with an adequate number of suitable fire extinguishers, which should be dependent on location and Class use.
- Enter dates and times of all routine checks, drills, and training into the fire safety logbook.
- Perform annual or bi-annual fire safety inspections with a third-party company.
- Determine safe location assembly points outside of the building that is clearly marked and visible and are far enough away to prevent harm from falling debris, backdrafts, or radiated heat.
- Enforce emergency action plans that will successfully vacate the building safely in instances of fire.
- Post clear fire action notices in a clear and visible location next to telephones and on bedroom doors for all guests that outline the steps to follow during a fire.
- Ensure hallways and doorways remain uncluttered.
By following the precautions above, you can lower the risk of a fire occurring in your hotel that could result in extensive property damage.
Dealing With Hotel Fire Damage in the Chicago, IL Area? We Can Help!
If your Chicago hotel has experienced structural losses after a fire, the IICRC-certified fire damage experts at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore are here to help get you back up and running again.
We can ensure that your hotel is cleaned-up and restored to its utmost potential following a fire so that you can open your doors with confidence.
Whether you are in the Gold Coast, Magnificent Mile, River North, or surrounding areas, we’ve got you covered with 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, emergency fire damage restoration services.
Contact us today to see how we can help restore your hotel to pre-loss condition after a fire: 312-707-8597