It’s 2 am and there’s a bell shrilling somewhere down the hall. You wake up suddenly and realise you are in a strange room full of smoke. First you can’t find the light switch, then you can’t find the door. Realistically are you ever actually going to find the way out of the building? Nightmare scenario right? Never going to happen to you of course.
Now think back to all the hotels, halls of residence, flats, dormitories, hospitals and apartment complexes you have stayed in both in the UK and abroad in the last 12 months. What about the one where you had to keep removing the wooden wedges the staff used to prop the fire doors open? What about that one on holiday where the whole main staircase was one big open area? Remember the apartment in a supposedly EU Country where they used the extinguishers to prop open the doors at night because it was so hot? Still think it’s never going to be you?
It’s become a habit of mine to always check the escape route whenever I’m staying away from home. You know that moment when you’ve put down the cases, checked out the bathroom and looked out the window at the view? What do you do next – go to the bar, find the beach, check out the dining room? Well I check out the fire escape route. Look at the plan on the back of the door (if there is one!) and then follow the route out to see what it’s like.
Feel free to call me odd – you wouldn’t be the first! – but I just feel better knowing I might get out at 2 am when the place is dark and full of smoke. And those door wedges? I put them in my pocket and take them with me of course!