Fire safety in a hotel

Harsh Bhatt, Head of Security, Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla, discusses the protocol to be followed in a hotel in case of fire.

What safety equipment your hotel has/have in case of any mishap/FIRE?
Hotel fires represent a major risk to the safety of guests, employees and property assets. As the Head of Security, it is my primary responsibility that the hotel building has properly installed, professionally maintained, and regularly inspected fire protection systems. We at IHG follow the international standards when it comes to fire safety. We have modern, portable & fixed FLS (Fire Life Safety) equipments/system to handle any mishap/Fire Emergency. This includes Fire Panel, fire pumps (Automatic & Manual mode), Fire Hydrants, Smoke Detectors, PA (Public Addressable) System, MCP (Manual Call Point), Hooters, Sprinkler, Extinguisher, Floor Evacuation Plans, LED Exit Signage’s, Emergency Telephones, AED Machine, Fire Man suit etc. The hotel constantly upgrades its existing Fire & Life Safety systems and strictly adheres to local Fire Service guidelines.

What’s the protocol you follow in case of emergency/FIRE?
We have an emergency evacuation plan in place. In case of emergency/FIRE/Bomb Threat/Earthquake or any such exigency, our First Response Team (FRT), Emergency Response Team (ERT) & Crisis Management Team (CMT) will activate to handle the situation.

What safety measures you take in order to avoid accidents like that of fire?
For the new joinees, Fire Safety Trainings are mandatory part of their training schedule. We conduct Emergency Mock Evacuation drills for all employees on a regular basis. We also maintain checklist of all Fire & Life Safety equipments and conduct regular patrolling to ensure our systems are in healthy condition.

Lot of hotels still don’t have safety and security measures in place leading to loss of lives. What’s your take on this? Why does that that happens? Why do some hotels still risk the lives of the guests?
At IHG, all our hotels are built as per NBCC (National Buildings Construction Corporation) guidelines, where all Fire Life Safety equipment’s, emergency exit escape routes are in place and well managed. We adhere to international standards of safety and security. In the unorganised segment of hotels, there is lack of fire safety culture, awareness, trainings and preparedness which needs to be looked after. We need to develop a Fire Life Safety culture in our society and it has to start from the elementary school level. One should be trained on how to act during the situation of emergency or crisis. As far as hotels are concerned, it is mandatory to possess properly installed, professionally maintained, and regularly inspected fire protection systems as well as Emergency Response Teams.

We still haven’t reached the international standards when it comes to hotel safety and security equipment. Why is there still a lag?
A far as IHG brands like InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express are concerned we are at par with the global standards of safety and security. The lag is primarily in the unorganised sector due to lack of awareness, preparedness and fire safety culture which needs to be addressed immediately.