I have just checked and yesterday my conclusion was that either the hotel reception had developed a sudden penchant for US style customer services or they knew something that I didn’t, I can now confirm that it’s the later. I can confirm this because at around 2 am I awoke to a strong smell of burning and silence, the silence was due to the forced air heating system having shut down, my guess is that the two observations were linked. Obviously in a hotel room at 2 am a fire is a serious matter and not to be treated lightly and so this correspondent got out of bed for a thorough investigation.
I wandered to the vent for the heating system and stared at it for a few seconds, there was no evidence of heat or flame which I like to think would have been obvious in a pitch black room. I considered the odour for a while and ascertained that it was electrical burning rather than overheating, finally I switched the light on to check the controller which was blank. Having completed a detailed investigation of the circuit I came to the conclusion that it was an electrical fault (smell), that had tripped the supply (blank controller) and that I could recover the situation by expelling the smoke ( open the window) and using an alternative heat source (large duvet), problem sorted I retired for the remainder of the night.
For those of you that think I did not take the threat of fire seriously enough I would first like to say that you are wrong, I woke up refreshed this morning and the room was not alight therefore I was correct in my assessment and handling of the risk. Secondly I would like to share with you a hideous hotel experience in Preston some years ago when a faulty fire system started raising false alarms at 3 am. Having got up, dressed and evacuated, down the stairs from the 7th floor, I stood around in the freezing cold for twenty minutes before being allowed to return to my room. The scenario was repeated at half hourly intervals until, at the fourth alarm; I hit upon the ingenuity of installing a wet towel in the fire alarm and remained in my bed. It was not that I remained blissfully asleep at this stage but I was simply too exhausted to go downstairs again and, of course, I knew it was yet another false alarm.
I had not accounted for the determination of either the hotel or the local fire service in ensuring my safety, they knocked on the door and I ignored them; after all how would they know if I was in or out of the room? Five minutes later another knock and loud shout was duly ignored as I wrapped a duvet over my head to try to deaden the cacophony of alarms. Unfortunately I had not adequately considered the pass-key approach and was shortly greeted by two oversize and quite tired firemen who ‘offered’ me a fireman’s lift if I was not prepared to make my own way downstairs. I have to say ladies that the fireman fantasy is not one that I share with you and two fat groggy old men with hats was enough to make me walk downstairs again. To cap a perfect night I woke up, late and still tired, jumped in the car and followed an elderly gentleman out of the car park, when he changed his mind about entering the traffic flow I didn’t and promptly hit the back of his car.
Having written this in the hotel this morning I was about to publish from my desk when the fire alarm went off, as if to prove that for every person that does not take fire seriously there is another that takes it too seriously. Some overdone toast resulted in the evacuation of an entire rail depot with obvious consequences to passenger service as train operators were sitting outside. I like to think that having evacuated and done the right thing this morning I have ‘one in the bank’ so can sleep soundly tonight if the heater catches fire, I am sure that is how it works.
On an administrative note, apologies for the ‘sticky’ post I mistakenly checked a box when posting, edited now so posts will appear in chronological order