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Hotel fire alarm—how I reacted

The furries may be gone, but the excitement never stops at the hotel arsenal in delft Netherlands. 😀

The hotel fire alarm just went off and this is what I did: Got out of bed. Turned lights on. Put on my glasses. Put on my money belt, sweat pants, fleece, hotel slippers. Grabbed my phone and hotel key card. Took out my retainer and night guard. Then stepped out to see what was going on.

Luckily it was a false alarm.

I hope that if I smelled smoke or heard shouting I would have skipped a few of the above steps. The hotel also had a power outage this am. So I think that’s another reason i didn’t just run out.

Thought this was important enough to post separate from my upcoming trip report. Doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to think about what you might do in the same situation. Although what you think you’d do and what you actually do might be completely different. I would have never guessed I’d put on my money belt as opposed to maybe just grabbing it. I’m just so used to wearing it every time I leave the hotel. Taking out of mouth gear was a little odd too. But that’s what I did.

Be prepared and be safe.

Posted by
2679 posts

Maybe because I’ve probably been through a couple of dozen hotel fire alarms i don’t move real fast when I hear one

Posted by
501 posts

I felt that way ^^^ until I smelled smoke. That has happened twice - Indianapolis and Auckland, NZ. Both times, high rise up-scale hotels which required descending many flights of stairs. In Indy, the temperature outside was below zero.

I now keep everything of value in my purse (not the hotel safe) right by my bed.

The last midnight alarm was less than a year ago. I can remember at least 8 additional alarms that were "false" in the US and Europe. Interestingly, none in Asia where I have traveled quite extensively.

Posted by
13215 posts

Carrie! Well, this is turning out to be quite the adventure!

On another thread, Wray posted that she also points her shoes toward the door before she goes to bed.

Sorry, but I laughed about taking out your retainer. I used to wear a bite splint and I'd have taken that out so I was not drooly and slurry if I had to talk to anyone for emergency information!

Posted by
4265 posts

My fire chief travel friend used to tell me to count the number of door openings from your hotel room to the stairwell door.

He also said, in case of smoke ....

  • door handles may be hot, so don't use your bare hands to see if you've reached a stairwell door, bring a bathroom towel
  • bring a wet towel to cover your mouth and nose
Posted by
2060 posts

I've put no thought into this before so I think I'd be a frantic mess if/when this happens to me. My husband will have the sense to grab phones/wallets/money belt/my purse...and I'll probably be putting clothes on backwards and running back and forth. 😬

Posted by
1204 posts

Wow Carrie, quite the adventure. Who knew Delft would be so full of surprises? CWSocial, thank you for those suggestions. I had never really thought about what I would do. A friend once had to evacuate his hotel in the middle of winter. He was smart enough to bring his car keys so he could wait in his car. That was the only thing I ever considered.

Posted by
513 posts

CWSocial, when I board a plane I always count the number of rows from my seat to the emergency exit for this same reason! It's kind of my flying superstition--I have to do it. Now I need to branch out to hotels...

Posted by
4081 posts

I've adopted Wrays suggestion about my shoes after the other recent thread.

...And never grab your room door handle with your bare hand, as it could be red hot if the fire is right outside. And, yes, memorise escape routes in case of smoke logging.
All fine theory. It's remembering to do them in a real event which is much harder.

Did the hotel do a proper roll call?

The problem is that if people take their time to exit, then the first responding firefighters have to commit resources to searching for "persons reported", rather than fighting the fire, potentially risking their lives.

Posted by
511 posts

Checked into hotel in Edinburg in 2013 for three nights. The hotel fire alarm was malfunctioning upon arrival and throughout the next day. At 5:00 AM on the day of checkout the alarm went off. I got up look around the hallways (all was quiet). Assuming that it was a malfunction I went back to bed. About 10 minutes later there was lots of activity in the hallway. Sure enough this was the real deal - a fire. We were paraded down the street and around the corner to a sister hotel to awake the extinguishing (about 1 & 1/2 hours). I now always identify and walk down the exit staircase after checking in to know what to expect in case of emergency. Had been doing it before but not consistently. All essential items are positioned in a small backpack that’s easy to grab - passport, wallet, money, eyeglasses, etc.

Posted by
2251 posts

Thanks, everyone for the great suggestions. They certainly make sense! I must admit this isn’t something I’ve really given much thought but I certainly will now. I plan to put some of these ideas into practice in a couple of weeks when I get to Italy.

Posted by
3960 posts

Carrie, thanks for another thought-provoking post. You are a natural for starting discussions. Hope things are on an upward trend!

Posted by
2863 posts

Yikes, Carrie…..never a dull moment, and all in one hotel!
I’m glad it was a false alarm.
Always good to have a plan for a quick exit whenever you are staying in an unfamiliar place.

Now…… automatically took your mouth guard out and put on your moneybelt.
Do you think the furry folk stopped and put on their outfits before they went out during the alarm?!

Posted by
278 posts

Some years ago I started keeping everything (passport, credit cards, money etc) in my purse on the bed with me at night with the thought that you grab it, stuff your feet into shoes and GO if you hear the alarm. I’ve never had it happen however. When my husband finally did a trip with me I told him to bring something to sleep in that you could wear out into the street in case of a fire alarm. The wet towel is probably a good idea too.

Thanks for the refresher, Carrie. Hope things get a tad less exciting for you.

Posted by
4265 posts

bring something to sleep in that you could wear out into the street in case of a fire alarm

You've just confirmed a packing decision for which I was just this evening weighing options. (And it wasn't that much of a weight difference.)

Posted by
426 posts

I was staying in an aparthotel in London in a tiny narrow lane near Monument when someone in another apartment decided to make toast at 2am and set off the alarm.

Luckily I always wear a nightgown in hotels. Grabbed coat, pulled on Skechers, picked up phone and went downstairs. There was fun and games when the fire engine tried to get down the street and wouldn’t fit, and so the fire crew had to get out and walk to check it out.

The worst bit: I was on the top floor, the lifts were out of action due to fire alarm, and they hadn’t cone back into action when we were allowed back. A choice between standing out in the cold street for an indeterminate length of time until the lifts came back on, or climbing multiple flights of stairs (six maybe). I went for the stairs.

Posted by
632 posts

Carrie, as our 5-week European trip draws to a close, I’m thankful that the alarm never went off in any of our hotels.
I’m usually a “just in-case” person, but I/we would be so ill-prepared to leave the hotel in the middle of the night.
My security wallet + my purse + phone are in 2 different places. Who knows where a jacket or other covering would be.
One thing i do bring is my “camping headlamp,” which is by my nightstand. It allows my hands to be free, if necessary.
Thanks for sharing so people like me can be more prepared.
One other thing: We’ve been to Delft, but we didn’t come close to experiencing what you’ve experienced thus far.

Posted by
2560 posts

This just happened to me when I was in Edinburgh—first night, just fell into an exhausted jet-lagged sleep and off goes the fire alarm…I was wearing a nightie that looks like a dress, put on my slippers, took the curlers out of my hair, and got my purse…it quickly became obvious nothing was actually on fire and all the annoyed people in the hallway went back to their rooms. Put curlers back on, got back in bed…alarm went off several more times before stopping, thankfully.

Posted by
2443 posts

Thanks everyone for making me think about fire safety. It just hadn’t occurred to me. Next trip I will organize my grab-and-go essentials better and have clothes close at hand.
I do count plane rows to know where the exit row is. As if that matters if the plane is diving into the ocean. But it makes me feel safer.

Posted by
3134 posts

There are a lot of good ideas here. Another one is to make sure your room key is with your necessary stuff, for 2 potential issues:
1. If the fire turns out to be close and you can't get out, you want to be able to get back into your room, and not locked in the smoky hallway (some hotel doors automatically lock when closed). You have more life saving options in your room...if you can't get out.
2. If it is a false alarm or a tiny fire that is put out, you need to be able to get back into your room for sleep in a timely manner, rather than waiting for someone to let you in.

Also, I notice I said point your shoes toward the door. I meant in the direction of the exit door, not the hotel door, so you know which way to turn down the hallway without thinking. I also count all the doors incase it is too smoky in the hallway to see comfortably. You can get to the exit door by feel. (Same for the airplane seats, as someone above mentioned).

Posted by
739 posts

I have been involved in three hotel fire alarms over the years.

One was a false alarm pulled by a drunk.
One I never found out what happened but it was false as well.
The Last was in Gary Indiana (for work) in January or February during a damn blizzard.
That one I got into the hall and the hallway was hotter than a sauna. We were rushed out into the blizzard. We sat in the rental for an hour or so. Turns out a furnace ran out of control and triggered the alarm.

Now I ALWAYS sleep in shorts or sweatpants and a t shirt with my glasses keys and wallet in reach and shoes next to the bed.