Fire Retardant Fabrics in Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts – Regulation or Sensible Precaution?

Since 2006 there has been much controversy in the UK about the new regulations introduced in fire safety law. Many in the industry see the changes as over-the-top and part of the ‘nanny state’. In this article we’ll briefly look at both what the law requires and consider the benefits of taking precautions, even when the law doesn’t explicitly demand it.

Over many years the UK government has increasingly targeted all forms of fire risks, with the aim of reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by fire. In the postwar years there was a steady rise in these numbers and the government took notice. The number of deaths from smoke inhalation was of particular concern, as this rose sharply from the 1950s onward.

The reasons for this trend are disputed, but the fact that modern fabrics and fillers caused heavily toxic smoke when burning eventually prompted the government to regulate the supply of fabric and furnishings, because the more toxic the smoke from a fire the faster a person is incapacitated.

It is perhaps obvious that manufacturers and suppliers must comply with government regulations on fire retardant fabrics, but in 2006 the new regulations changed requirements for all business premises. Fire safety law was implemented by the ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’. Now, businesses are no longer required to have fire certificates but instead must conduct a risk assessment to prevent fires by reducing risk. The law makes it the responsibility of the business owner to ensure the safety of everyone who uses their premises.

There are specific guidelines for ‘sleeping accommodation’ which directly apply to curtain material. Hotels must meet the requirements of BS5867 Part 2 Type B when furnishing a room with curtains. This is a test where a flame is applied to the fabric for 15 seconds. In summary, this requires that if the fabric were to come into direct contact with a flame it would have a fire retardant quality for a short time by not burning to the edges or falling apart whilst burning.

There are basically two types of flame retardant (FR) fabrics:

1) those which have been treated after manufacture; and

2) those in which the FR quality is ‘built-in’. These are called ‘inherent FR fabrics ‘.

Where a fabric has been treated it must also be able to hold its FR quality after repeated washing.

Purchasing flame retardant fabrics from a reputable company with products that more than meet the requirements ensure fire safety and conform to the law. Look for products labelled ‘FR’ and ask whether they meet the safety standards for hotel use.

Unlike the requirements for curtains, for bed linen the new regulations only state that certain safety standards should be considered for ‘sleeping accommodation’ as a matter of fire prevention. The law does apply, though, to all the components of the actual bed (including head-boards, mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles). Perhaps less obvious is that it also applies to pillows and even throw cushions.…

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Bed and Breakfast Vs. Hotel Stays: Experiencing the Difference

While the comparisons made between bed and breakfasts and hotels are very much dependent on who is making the comparison, one thing is certain: The world is simply filled with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. The great playwright, Henry Miller, said this. And, when it comes to the notion of why you’re traveling in the first place, Miller’s words give us pause for thought regarding reasons why traveler’s should consider staying at a B&B on their next journey.

First, let’s talk a bit about hotels. Surely, everything has its place and the chief attribute for many (though a deficit for others) is their predictability. That is to say, some travelers desire the commonness of hotels – all the rooms the same from location to location, and very little difference from their home environment. For some – particularly overnight business travelers – this sort of predictability is a convenience that fits in well with the purpose of their visit. Where they stay has little importance in the scheme of things.

However, for many travelers where they stay is of considerable importance. For them, it is the world of Miller’s rich treasures they are seeking. The escape from the common is not only a desire, it’s a goal, and the cookie-cutter sterility of a hotel room is not for them. It is for those who want unique experiences in their travel that the B&B experience is the perfect fit. Folks who’ve stayed at B&B’s while on a trip know this, and it’s the reason why B&B stays are in and of themselves an important part of the trip.

Why stay at B&B instead of a hotel?

  1. Each B&B is a unique lodging experience – no two B&B’s are alike.
  2. B&B hosts are excellent concierges at no extra charge (hotel concierge service usually costs quite a bit in gratuity). They are able to steer you to well-known attractions and restaurants, as well as the local gems found off the beaten path.
  3. The decorations are charming, the environments comfortable, the linens fine, and the breakfasts homemade. Some B&B’s will have wine and cheese in the early evening, or a special tea-time included during your stay.
  4. A B&B is an experience, a part of that rich pageantry of the world. An atmosphere that keeps your spirit of travel alive throughout your stay. A hotel simply cannot be these things.

Again, there are reasons why some travelers choose hotels, and it is for these reasons that hotels do have their place. However, if the reason you are traveling is to escape the common, to discover beautiful places, beautiful souls, interesting people – then a B&B stay is the fit for you.

Remember, just like choice hotels, choice B&B’s often book many months in advance. It’s good to plan ahead by visiting the websites of B&B’s in the places you are traveling to. Unlike hotels, though, you will be able to get a good look at pictures of the very room you choose to stay …

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Bed Bugs In Your Hotel Are Not Your Biggest Problem

The hospitality industry has been repeatedly slammed hard over the past few years. Starting with 911 and on through the SARS and bird flu alerts and for the past 5 years, bed bugs. Without trying to defend hotel operators, they should be given a break. Most hotel / motel owners try to provide satisfactory services commensurate with the prices they charge. You aren’t going to find silk sheets and marble bathrooms for 75 bucks a night, but you should expect a clean, comfortable room.

For the sake of argument, let’s just concede that most hotel operators inspect their rooms and treat any infestations they find. So how come there are so many complaints and lawsuits concerning these miniature vampires?

News reports about bed bug attacks never have the victim bitten once or twice, it’s always many bites. Many bites are caused by many bed bugs. Many bed bugs don’t just magically appear in a hotel room, An infestation takes time to develop. They are hitch hikers, they hide in luggage or belongings and travel from one place to another. Remember, we’re not talking one or two bugs, we’re talking tens or hundreds. So, If a hotel room has a few bugs, those could have been carried in by the previous guest and it would be almost impossible to prevent that. But, if a hotel has an infestation, many bugs, then that is the fault of the hotel for inadequate inspection and treatment. The only explanation for an infested room would be the hotel was negligent in prevention and treatment.

Now to the gist of the article.

If a hotel has an infestation that means that:

– previous guests either did not notice the bugs or did not feel the bites, which is possible, not all people feel or react to the bites.

– housekeeping did not inspect or did not see any signs of a problem.

– the head of housekeeping, who should periodically inspect the job that their employees are doing, did not inspect or see bugs.

– the laundry facility did not notice any signs, brownish smudges of dried blood, of bugs.

– this hotel does not have a pest control company on it’s payroll, at least one that is doing it’s job properly.

– and this is the big one, if this hotel’s employees, and laundry could not find or did not bother to treat for bed bugs, what else is on the sheets or in the room that will make you sick?

Presently, there is no proof that cimex lectularius can transmit any of the 28 disease pathogens they have been found to carry. I say presently because bed bugs are a recent problem. Scientists are just starting to understand their biology. Why can’t they transmit diseases, or can they but we just haven’t discovered any proof yet? But, MSRA and E.Coli are harmful and have been found in many hotel rooms in many studies. So far, viruses and bacteria present more harm to your health …

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