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People who plan business meetings - or any type of gathering in a public place - should make sure that fire safety is at the top of their agenda.
Fire safety should begin with the selection of the site where the meeting will be held. The safety of the facility should be as much a consideration as convenience of location and the quality of services.

Meeting planners should check the facility carefully to make sure that:

  • There is a fire alarm system to alert the attendees, in case a fire should occur.
  • There is adequate emergency lighting for exit ways and exit stairs.
  • There are no obstructions blocking corridors, exit doorways, exit stairs or other routes of escape for occupants.
  • Each elevator in the lobby is posted with a sign which reads, "Elevators are not to be used during a fire."
  • Meeting rooms have sufficient exits for the number of occupants based on the following ratio:

  • 1,000 or more................ 4 exits
      300 - 1,000.................... 3 exits
      50 - 300........................
    2 exits

  • Local codes and ordinances pertaining to the use of flammable or combustible materials are observed.

Designated employees of your organization should be trained and drilled regularly in emergency procedures and assigned to watch exhibit areas and/or the meeting room to detect fires or fire hazards. These designated persons, or fire wardens, should be identified at the beginning of the meeting and should be available to instruct attendees on emergency procedures, in case a fire occurs. The fire wardens should coordinate their activities with hotel/motel management. This should be done prior to the meeting when discussing fire safety procedures with the management.

If an executive or meeting planner is in doubt about the safety of a facility, he or she should seek expert opinion from fire protection officials. The planner should consider two factors when selecting a site:

  1. that the local fire codes are adequate and properly enforced and
  2. that the facility's management is prepared to provide the information needed to ensure the safety of the attendees.