On January 2, 1984, a fire in an electrical switch gear room of a 38-story hotel in Boston, Massachusetts resulted in the loss of both the primary and emergency electrical power systems. Smoke from the fire was able to migrate throughout the corridors and common areas of the hotel. Guests attempting to evacuate were hampered by darkness in exit stairways, and the accumulation of smoke in the corridors and enclosed stairways. A total of 46 persons – 30 guests and hotel staff and 16 firefighters – were injured during the incident; there were no fatalities. Factors in the successful evacuation of the hotel occupants and the absence of serious injuries were:
- A comprehensive fire training program for hotel staff
- Prompt alerting and announcement of evacuation information by the fire alarm system
- Automatic notification of the fire department by the hotel’s fire alarm system
- Accurate information regarding fire location and conditions relayed by hotel staff to “first-in” fire department units
- The joint actions of the hotel staff and Boston Fire Department in the evacuation of the hotel guests
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