The technology experts from Siemens explain the latest advances in hotel fire safety.

A fire in a hotel can be devastating, not only because of the threat to human life but also because of the potential damage to the building and the hotel’s reputation. Even a small incident can have a significant impact on a hotel’s business, completely unnecessarily if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Add to that the disruption that can be caused by site maintenance visits and it is easy to see that however vital fire safety is, it can, nevertheless, be a headache for hotel owners.

Addressing false alarms

However, things are changing. While the fire industry continues to wrestle with the issue of false alarms, statistics highlight that it remains a problem. The Fire and Rescue Service in England attended 577,053 incidents in the year ending March 2022, with 229,844 turning out to be false alarms, some 69 percent of which were due to apparatus. This is why systems are now available which will provide a guarantee of no false alarms, with multi-criteria detection technology which detects a fire incident quickly without being impacted by deceptive phenomena such as fumes from kitchens or steam from guests showering. 

Off-site maintenance

The smooth running of a hotel can be disrupted by the need to conduct health checks on fire safety devices. However, the shift towards cloud-based technologies is enabling many of the tasks to be done remotely, presenting significant opportunities for disturbance-free testing. 

New fire safety systems are available which can perform certain checks, without the need for any human intervention. With the back-up of skilled engineers to provide the necessary maintenance and support, they work 24/7, continuously measuring and evaluating their own performance and predicting the need for maintenance checks. 

Integrated solutions

The shift towards digitalisation of fire safety systems is also bringing significant benefits in terms of integration as we move towards smart buildings. It is increasingly common to see fire, video surveillance, intrusion and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) operating under a single system. In the event of a fire, hotel guests are usually woken by an acoustic signal of some sort. However, given the characteristically poor reactions from people to a non-specific sound an integrated approach can simultaneously automatically switch on the lights. The activation of the lights immediately makes the guest more alert. Blinds can be opened to allow light in and to facilitate swift access for the fire service, with evacuation lighting activated to guide guests to the appropriate exit.

The increasing adoption of digital technologies is helping hotels to provide not only a safer environment but also one which makes a positive rather than a negative contribution to guest satisfaction.