Travel tip: Request the seventh floor or lower in a hotel for fire safety.

Unless you’re obsessed with a view (and plan to spend enough time in your hotel room to enjoy it), ask for a room on a lower floor of your hotel. Fire truck ladders generally reach 100 feet, which is approximately seven floors. Even if you do not require a window rescue, you’ll be glad about your choice when your escape is a short trip down the stairs from the sixth floor instead of the twenty-sixth.

What are the chances you’ll be in a hotel fire? Unlikely, perhaps. But then the chances are actually quite high, if you’re a business traveler, that you’ll experience a fire alarm on a trip and need to evacuate. In which case, you’ll also appreciate your low floor. I love this pilot’s first-hand account of the irritation of multiple hotel fire alarms.

Unfortunately, this tip isn’t fool-proof. On a recent stay in Seattle, I opened my sixth-floor room’s curtains and looked down. Beneath me there was no street, just the roof of the hotel’s giant ballroom. Oh well. I didn’t lose any sleep over it.


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