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June 5, 2014

TN Fire Marshal’s Office urges “Be fire smart this summer”



As the school year comes to a close, many Tennesseans are turning their attention to family vacation plans. The State Fire Marshal’s Office asks that you remember to incorporate fire safety into travel plans before hitting the road for your summer vacation. 

“Hotels and motels become a home away from home for travelers, so it is important to become familiar with new surroundings and to have a plan in place should an emergency arise,” says State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. 

Being mindful of the following safety points will help ensure that your upcoming vacation is as safe as it is fun! 

Choose a hotel or vacation rental that is equipped with both smoke alarms and fire sprinklers.* 

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, ask for a room equipped with a smoke alarm and accessories that will awaken you, or for a portable smoke alarm made specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to place in your room. You may want to consider buying one for travel, if you need, and bringing it with you. 

Read the escape plan posted in your room. These often can be found on your hotel room’s door. If one is not posted in your room, request one from the front desk. 

Count the number of doors between your room and the nearest two fire exits. This will assist you in the need of an emergency evacuation through smoke. 

Bring a flashlight; keep it near your bed. 

Never smoke in bed. 

Keep your room key by your bed, and take it with you if there’s a fire. If you cannot escape, you may have to return to your room.

If you hear an alarm, leave immediately, closing all doors behind you. 

Use the stairs – never use elevators during a fire. 

To check the hallway for fire, touch the door with the back of your hand to test the temperature. If the door is cool, get low to the floor, brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Be ready to close it quickly if there are flames on the other side.

Crawl low in the smoke to the nearest exit; the freshest air is near the floor. 

If all escape routes are blocked, return to your room. Shut off fans and air conditioners. Stuff wet towels or bedding in the cracks around the doors and vents. Call the fire department to let them know your location. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or light-colored cloth. 

If the fire is in your room, get out quickly. Close the door, sound the alarm and notify the front desk. 

While these tips are for travelers, don’t forget to make fire safety in your home a priority. For information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist ( 

*The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 was enacted by Congress to save lives and protect property by promoting fire and life safety in hotels, motels and other places of public accommodation.  

Fire safety  in places of public accommodation is encouraged through creation of a National Master List (NML) of  hotel and motel properties that voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Act. The U.S. Fire Administration encourages the traveling public to use the list when making reservations for lodging accommodations, be they for business or pleasure. To search the list, go to

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  


About the Author

News Staff Ed.


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