Hotel/ Motel Fire safety Report
The information about HELP training project placed at the university billboard immediately caught my attention. Being a foreign student from Hong Kong and studying hospitality facility management and design at the university, I understand to the very degree how modern technology shapes our society and business. In today’s global economy, technology plays a critical role in determining how effectively manufacturers produce product, while other businesses deliver their services to the marketplace.
Indeed, with little operational redundancy or event in today’s service facilities, one breakdown can cause immediate interruption to operations and loss of profit or even clientele. From the critical point of view, the mentioned tendencies put significant attention in terms of functions and expectations to Risk Management, the area I am particularly interested in. Critically, specific area of risk analysis, which is often overlooked in planning, building and operating the facilities, is fire. The dangers of even a small fire can send ripples throughout a company.
Not only can fires damage company assets, production equipment, building structures and work in progress, but the loss in service pr production capacities cannot be made up. However, it can be prevented by the implementation of adequate risk management strategy. From this critical point of
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The best fire suppression is still accomplished by the simplest of all fire-protection systems. Automatic sprinkler protection, which has not changed in over a century, is still the most reliable and effective means of controlling or extinguishing a fire. Developments in automatic-sprinkler system design and equipment in the past two decades have improved the effectiveness of these important systems. A better understanding of fire behavior has also led to water application. Advances have improved everything from droplet size to the response time lag inherent in any sprinkler.
Despite these advances, many high-tech industries maintain skepticism or outright dislike for automatic sprinkler systems, only accepting them either as a code requirement or an insurance mandate (Rittenhouse, 21). As a result, manufacturers in the high-tech sector develop systems to delay a sprinkler system’s operation until it is certain there is an outbreak of fire. The reason is that water contamination from a sprinkler system will substantially damage environments, such as a cleanroom.
Facility operators, however, often do not appreciate or understand that any delayed application of water on most fires will allow the fire to grow in size, often rapidly. When water is finally introduced, more damage and contamination is usually the result (Wass, 74). In fact, if activation of the sprinkler system is delayed long enough, it may not even be able to control the fire. The use of pre-action sprinkler systems, where application of water may be delayed by 60 seconds, requires the designer to calculate a fire area that is up to at least 30 percent larger than a wet-pipe system.
This equates to the application of 30 percent more water on a fire that is 30 percent larger (Wass, 76). Should a larger fire prove uncontrollable by the sprinkler system, the local fire department is required to take significant action to control and extinguish the fire in order to keep it from spreading to other areas of the building. Sprinklers are classified by several sets of criteria, including installation positioning, environmental applications and response time. Quick-response sprinklers have gained popularity in recent years.
These sprinklers activate in the same temperature range as standard-response sprinklers. However, by their design and material selection, there is a significant reduction in the delay by which the sprinkler will operate once the air temperature around the head reaches its operating temperature. Quick response sprinklers also have less of a “thermal lag” than standard response sprinklers. For storage applications, large drop sprinklers are more apt to penetrate the rising heat plume from a fire.
The larger water droplet generated by the orifice and deflector design, in combination with available water pressure, allows the droplet to penetrate rather than be carried aside, by a large fire plume characteristic of storage fires. Combining fast-response designs with the larger droplet concepts have produced early-suppression, fast response sprinklers. Full-scale fire tests and fire experience has shown that these sprinklers are effective in detecting fires in rack-and-bulk storage arrays and suppressing these fires without the need for in-rack sprinkler systems (Wass, 78).
From 1994 to 1998, there were 152 deaths from fires in hotels and motels, but none of those occurred in hotels with sprinkler systems (Adams, 32). Electronic equipment once assembled and packaged for shipment to customers, is still sensitive to excessive heat, smoke and water damage. By limiting the size of the fire, ESFR systems reduce the amount of heat and smoke generated, reducing the need for large fire hose streams to control the fire. Fire Extinguishers Fire-protection system alternates for automatic-sprinkler systems do exist.
These systems must be tailored to specific hazards, usually in a closed environment, and they are intended to suppress a fire in a piece of equipment while the fire is small. Using fast-detection technology, these systems can stop a fire in a very early stage. Automatic-sprinkler systems are also provided as a precaution in the event that the alternate system is unable to extinguish the fire or limit its spread beyond its origin. These alternate systems provide protection for equipment and work in process while the sprinkler system will provide protection for the building and adjacent spaces. The most popular agent has been fire extinguisher.
While they have been phased out in new equipment, a significant amount of fire extinguishers remains in use in the world; replacement agents are in high demand, some of which work in the same manner as fire extinguishers, and others which are similar to carbon dioxide. From the contemporary point of view, traditional fire extinguishers such as Halon 1211 were recently replaced with the Halotron I, an extinguisher which provides an environmentally acceptable substitution for Halon 1211, an ozone-depleting compound, which was banned in 1994 by developed countries under the Montreal Protocol (McMillan, 41).
Practically, the availability of fire extinguishers with a non-halon extinguishing material such as Halotron I gives hotel owners the dual advantage of transitioning to an environmentally acceptable product as well as a product that can be used for full training in hotel/motel fire safety (Day, 11). Halotron I is described as a “clean agent” in streaming applications, which means that it is an electrically nonconducting or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation. It is discharged as a liquid that rapidly evaporates (i.
e. , it is volatile). As manufactured by APC, the product is a proprietary three-component chemical blend based on HCFC-123 that is approved by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (Day, 13) under its Significant New Alternatives Policy program for commercial/industrial, military and maritime use in streaming applications as a substitute for Halon 1211. Fire Hose Typically, fire departments are located three to five minutes away from the fire origin. In these cases, there can be up to a 15-minute wait for fire response.
Those passive, waiting minutes give hotel occupants time to defend in place with standpipe fire hose stations, once the fire department is called and everyone is safe. The standpipe fire hose station typically is mounted on the wall for use in office buildings, dormitories, schools, airports, hotels, hospitals, retail malls, and other commercial structures. These stations are hung in high traffic areas and house the fire extinguisher, fire hose, reel, and rack. Personnel responsible for fire safety of the hotel/motel facility should make sure the cabinets are intact and the hose is neatly assembled on the hose rack.
If a fire hose is left loose on the floor or a cabinet has been broken or tampered with, fire department personnel should be notified immediately. For high-rise hotels, the number of hose stations in each section of the building subdivided by fire walls should be such that all portions of each story are within 30 feet (9 meters) of a nozzle attached to not more than 100 feet (30 m) of hose. Both 2-? inch (64 mm) and 1-? inch (38 mm) hose connections are needed on every floor (Goodnight, 46).
The minimum water supply to any given floor should be able to fulfill the demand of the sprinkler system plus the hose requirements. The most desirable supply of water is through a public water system that can meet pressure and discharge capacity requirements. As a quick primer, there are three classes of standpipe stations. 1) Vertical pipes running up hotels with hose connections on each floor; 2) Occupant hose on a reel located in a standpipe station; and 3) A combination of 1 and 2 above, the difference being that hose connections are different sizes (Goodnight, 47).
The following instructions of how to use fire hoses should be delivered to hotel/motel personnel, as well as sufficient training should be provided in the following procedures: 1) Turn to open valve completely. 2) Pull hose entirely off rack. 3) Water will flow when hose is free and nozzle is open. 4) Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. PART TWO Hotel/Motel Fire Safety Rapid changes in technology are providing engineers and business owners with an advantage in designing and employing respectively more effective fire-protection systems.
The development of more reliable methods of fire detection and more efficient, dependable means to control or suppress a fire, coupled with an improved understanding of fire behavior, is providing hotel risk management with more options than ever for planning fire-protection systems. From the critical point of view, the goal when choosing a fire-protection system has shifted from putting out the fire as quickly as possible to reducing property damage and limiting the impact on service delivery. Once a fire starts, the first step is to detect the fire.
Detection systems have equally evolved along with advances in the communications and electronics industries. At first, fire detection devices were limited to detecting elevated temperature levels or a rapid rise in temperature in a given space. Unfortunately, by the time temperatures in the vicinity of 165F were detected at the ceiling of a room, the majority of sensitive production equipment, such as those found in the semiconductor manufacturing industry or data processing centers, had already suffered serious loss of data, loss of work in process or irreparable damage to the equipment itself (Mulvihill, 101-102).
Early smoke detection improved response times by providing notification long before substantial heat build up. Improvements in smoke detector technology have made significant steps over the past decade. For example, the sensitivity of smoke detectors now varies over time. Older smoke detectors were unable to do this, resulting in devices that failed to operate or would repeatedly report false alarms sometimes just as bad and more disruptive to business. Modern smoke detectors have the capability to adjust their automatic sensitivity.
This ability also allows them to differentiate between smoke and nuisance alarms caused by dust or other airborne particles. A reduction in nuisance alarms gives owners/hotel managers greater confidence levels. An increase in confidence also means that a facility operator will respond to alarms with a greater interest and not shrug them off as noise in busy environment. The same research of fire behavior that has helped smoke detectors distinguish smoke from dust has also improved flame-detection technology (Barry & Stone, 70). The infrared and ultraviolet radiation given off by each fire is unique.
A welder’s arc is not the same as an alcohol fire or a paper fire. Highly sensitive areas, where known combustible or flammable materials present a specific hazard, can be monitored by such discriminating detection devices. Chemical storage and cleaning rooms at a hotel facility, maintenance sectors and places where highly combustible materials are stored often require rapid detection and suppression systems in order to protect life and property. Given a known, specific hazard in the area, flame-detection systems can provide an alarm in fast time frames, some measured in microseconds for use with explosion suppression systems.
The extensive use of hazardous materials also calls for special detection devices. The use of hydrogen gas or chemicals with hydrogen as a carrier gas in semiconductors poses one such specific hazard. Hydrogen is notorious for developing leaks in piping systems, particularly at fittings and connections. Hydrogen detectors in the vicinity of equipment and indoor storage facilities are necessary to alert facility operators of any developing problems long before a flammable concentration exists (Mulvihill, 107).
Similarly, the monitoring of hazardous and toxic materials tailored to the materials on hand or being synthesized, is necessary in semiconductor and other related industries. Advances in communication and data-processing systems have also improved overall fire-alarm systems. The head-end equipment in a fire alarm system is able to communicate with individually addressed devices and control individual output functions. As a result, through the software of a fire-alarm system’s processor, functions beyond notification can be performed automatically upon receipt of a fire-alarm signal.
For example, an emergency ventilation system can be initiated upon the detection of a hydrogen or chemical leak. Such smoke-control systems, which use exhaust fans to help limit the spread of smoke from its point of origin, are most effective if initiated while the fire is small and controllable. Advanced fire-alarm systems can also provide more detailed and descriptive information, down even to a specific smoke detector or sprinkler water flow switch in a central control center. Local emergency response teams and fire departments in turn, can use this information to plan and coordinate strategies for dealing with the emergency.
Graphic annunciation display and control panels may offer a full site plan without emergency personnel having to pour through an endless series of panels with row upon row of zone lamps that only identify circuits or areas of the facility, not specific devices (Mulvihill, 108). Notifying occupants, the local emergency response team and the public fire department, however, is only the first step in dealing with a fire, however, early detection and reaction to the fire case is the most vital way to avoid infamous consequences in property damage, victims, lawsuits and subsequent loss of customers.
From this critical standpoint, any manager, especially from the risk management department, at the motel/hotel facility must know how to establish fire safety, what methods are used prevention of consequences, and basically how to utilize new technology advancements in order to make hotel/motel facilities safe and profitable business.