Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide - Gapyear.com

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Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide - Gapyear.com

Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide 1.0- 1 -Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide… if you can’t get out of the building, you’ll die. Simple as that. Would youknow what to do?It’s 3am. You’re sleeping off a few beers and great party in a hostel.Suddenly you’re woken by terrifying screams, panic, flames, no lights(electricity has gone), thick smoke and everyone shouting in foreignlanguages (backpackers panic in their own language, not English!)You have no idea how to get out - you checked in, dumped yourstuff and within five minutes you were sipping beers with your friendsin a local bar - the hostel layout is a mystery. Window security barsstop a jump, anyway you’re too high. The corridor is half full withsmoke. People run by in both directions, stooping below the smoke,screaming. You are terrified. You need to choose left or right.Unbelievable panic sets in as you think you’ll never see your familyagain.In the next two minutes you will either survive or die. Simple as that.Would you know what to do?Hostel Fires: Why Should I Care? Every year over 1,000 people areinvolved in hostel/hotel fires on theirtravels 50-100 die, almost all from smokeinhalation (not from the flames, whichwe all fear)Many die trying to ‘beat the smoke’i.e. they try to run through it, but gettrapped in it (unknown to most youreyes slam shut in smoke and will notopen again, so they get lost, panic andthen have to breathe in)It can only take two deep inhalationsand 10 seconds to die of smokeinhalationThe bottom line: If you know roughlywhat to do you are likely to survive ahostel/hotel fire


Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide 1.0- 2 -What to do in a fire…STEP 1STEP 2Don’t panic! Take two seconds to think. You’re going tobe shit scared, but you need to stay calm to get outalive.Feel the wall / door with the back of your hand. If veryhot don’t go out! There is a fire behind itIf you CAN’T leave the roomConsider lowering yourself out of the windowYou should survive a 2 floor jump onto tar/concrete.Anything higher is questionableIdeally throw a mattress out first to land on. Don’t launchyourself out of the window, but hang down by your armsbefore dropping to the ground to minimise your fall. Bendyour knees when you landDo NOT break the window until you’re about to jump as youcan’t stop smoke coming in afterwardsIf a window jump is impossibleFill the bath/basin with waterand use dampened bedsheets, towels or clotheswedged in door cracks to stopsmoke entering. Wet the wallsand doors. No water? Pee onthem!Then signal to rescuers from thewindow using a torch or a whitesheetIf you CAN leave the roomTake the room key with you ifit’s to hand. You may need it torush back inSmoke rises and so will be high,filling down to the floor. Keeplow or better still crawl wherethe oxygen isStay close to the walls to avoidpanicking guests and to count doors tothe fire exitDONOTuselift/elevator–that’sanovenyoudon’twanttobe trapped in!DO NOT RE-ENTER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES until told itis safe by the fire brigade. (Better to lose a backpack thanyour life)Most important rule:Is the exit corridor filled with smoke?DON’T try and cover your mouth and runthrough it unless you can guarantee amaximum five second clear run to the outside(if you have walked the route when youchecked in you will know if you can make it ornot).If the smoke gets in your eyes they will shut andnot open again. If you get trapped the smokewill then kill you, so don’t try and beat it. Headback to your room.With special thanks to Suffolk Fire & Rescue ServiceCopyright 1998-2008 - The Gap Year Company Ltd - Company Registration No:3597000


Backpacker Hostel Fire Safety Guide 1.0- 3 -Basic check list…OK, the problem with thecheck list below is that mostpeople feel like an idiotasking the questions,counting doors etc.If this is you, then think aboutit this way:On a plane they show youhow to get out in anemergency and you takenote, because in your mindit is possible that it may justhappen.Statistically you are probablymore likely to be involved ina hostel fire than a planecrash, yet because theperson at reception doesn’tpoint out the fire exits andtell you how to get out in afire, it’s not real. This doesn’tmean that you shouldn’tknow.Some hostels arepredominantly wood, othershave thatch, and manyhave no sprinklers, extrasecurity / burglar bars on thewindows and can becomea death trap within 10minutes of a fire taking hold.So, don’t be stupid, get into the habit of doing this stuff below.One day you may be thankful…1. Ask if the hostel has firealarms and smokedetectors. Considerstaying elsewhere if not(do not take a roomabove the second floorif no fire alarm system)2. Ask where ground floorfire exits are and workout how to get to themfrom your room3. Walk the fire exit routes and check the final exit doorsbefore unpacking or going out for a beer4. Ideally sleep in a room below the second floor with a burglarbar-less window5. Do a quick count of the doors from your room to theemergency exit. Note if it’s left or right out of your room tothe exit. If you turn the wrong way out of the room in apanic it may be your last mistake6. Sleep with a torch close to hand, vital not just for when youwant to pee at 4am7. For extra peace of mind consider buying a travel smokedetector such as FlareSafe or the Cavius model.Things to look out for in hostelsLack of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors,alarms, notices, emergency ‘route maps’Fire exits blocked with beds, junk, storagePeople smoking late at night near obviousfire hazardsTravel safely. Thank you for listening!With special thanks to Suffolk Fire & Rescue ServiceCopyright 1998-2008 - The Gap Year Company Ltd - Company Registration No:3597000

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