Major hotels well prepared for emergency

K. Satyamurty

BANGALORE: All the major hotels in this city are heavily booked right through the year. Their capacity to deal with a fire becomes a question in the wake of a fire in Paris that claimed more than 20 lives Friday.

The reassuring thing is that almost all star hotels are well prepared to deal with emergencies like a fire breaking out. They have their internal systems in place that may have started dealing with the calamity before the fire brigade arrives, if that become necessary.

At Leela Palace, there are mobile fire stations stationed around the property which can be taken to the site of a fire. Says Security Head Mir Ziauddin (Col. Zia to the staff) "these are equipped with all basic equipment ranging from extinguishers to axes to break open a door or window, helmets, masks and other protective gear."

Fire drills

There are monthly fire drills and separate programmes for staff of different departments at this hotel. "We have common assembly points where all have to meet and be accounted for in case of a fire. We make sure nobody is trapped inside. The staff at all levels have cards with instructions to follow immediately after a fire is noticed. Our responsibility is both to our staff and our guests,"' says Col. Zia. It is assumed that all guests may not be familiar with the layout of the hotel and all emergency exits even though each room and every corridor has floor plans and directional signs.

Fire Service Week

The Windsor Sheraton is going through the Fire Service Week with five days of programmes focused on basics of fire safety for its staff and fire-fighting demonstrations. This hotel has issued instruction cards and fire manuals in English and Kannada to all its staff and impressed on the need to carefully store all inflammable material and to regularly check fire-fighting equipment.

In all major hotels, the cards issued to the staff ask them to first raise the alarm systems, inform the telephone operators and security staff and to follow the fire drills. The evacuation procedure is clearly spelt out and the emergency exits and safe assembly points indicated. Guests are advised to first move to safety and not waste time on trying to collect their belongings.

The instruction cards issued to the staff of Windsor Sheraton lists the classes of fire according to the material involved and the best way to control such fires. Col. Zia makes it a point to instruct the staff that they may have to literally crawl across floors since carbon monoxide from fires is invariably higher up and may suffocate them.

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