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So let me tell you a story about a time a few years ago when I was awoken out of my bed at the Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport by a hotel fire alarm at 3:30 in the morning.  In case you were wondering, that’s the Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport NORTH (because of course there are TWO Hyatt Places at the Atlanta Airport, but I digress…).  So it took me awhile to figure out what was going on (my first thought was that it was the alarm clock, though usually I remember to check that it’s turned off) but then I figured out it was the fire alarm, going loud and strong!

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Lessons learned from my hotel fire alarm procedures

My family of 8 was not in adjoining rooms (boo!) so I was in one room with my 3 sons, while my girls and wife were across the hall.  In hindsight, there were a few things we could have done better to follow hotel fire alarm procedures

  • We were pretty slow getting out.  I think that’s probably because in the back of my head I knew there was about a 2% chance (if that) of this being an actual fire
  • We took the wrong (further) staircase (hey at least we remembered not to take the elevator!)
  • My wife didn’t grab her phone / wallet or anything like that (though I did).
  • I’d say that fewer than half of the guests evacuated.  We milled around the hotel for awhile, and then the guy at the front desk was like “Hmm I think it’s a false alarm”, and we all went back inside.

This is similar to my discussions about whether you should take your bags in an airplane evacuation.  First I thought you could, now I’m convinced you should not (unlike these guys)

Of course, whenever there are problems, I think about compensation – in this case hotel fire alarm compensation. Don’t hate me please – I’m already steeling myself for the angry comments :-P.

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The case AGAINST hotel fire alarm compensation

So the very first thing that comes to mind AGAINST the idea of hotel fire alarm compensation would be that I’d imagine in most cases, it’s not really up to the hotel if someone pulls the fire alarm.

And I don’t know that every minor thing that goes wrong has to equal compensation.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of “life happens, sometimes it sucks, deal with it”, right? 🙂

The case FOR compensation for a hotel fire alarm

On the other hand, there are a few other things to think about.  If you’re following hotel fire alarm procedures and requirements, I would imagine that it’s fairly unlikely that it’s an actual fire alarm pull and much more likely that it’s a glitch in the system.  Perhaps I’m naive but I’d imagine that in most cases it’s not someone pulling the fire alarm in the hotel (though I’m sure that happens).

Also I do feel like the hotel has some responsibility to ensure that you have a restful night’s sleep.  That’s what you’re paying for, right?

In the end…

I mentioned something about the hotel fire alarm in the morning when we went down to breakfast.  I was curious to find if they had any more information about what happened.

I was underwhelmed by the response by the front desk clerks.  The lady mentioned that she wasn’t there overnight and didn’t know what happened and… that was it.  I wasn’t necessarily expecting her to just give some of compensation for the fire alarm, but I was disappointed that she wasn’t more apologetic.  I mean a fire alarm going off in the middle of the night and impacting everyone’s sleep is a BIG deal (especially if you’re traveling with kids as I was).  I would have appreciated an apology, even if it WAS completely out of the hotel’s control (and again, for this specific instance, nobody told me at all what went on)

I asked if they were giving any hotel fire alarm compensation and she said not that she was aware of.

Readers what do you think?  Is hotel fire alarm compensation ever warranted or expected?  Or should you just “suck it up”?

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