When travelling in the third world and developing countries, there are many safety tips to keep in mind. One that is of particular importance is making sure the hotel you book is up to proper safety standards, this means, among other things, ensuring that the hotel is up to proper fire safety standards and has an emergency procedure in place. Hotels may claim to be certified to the highest safety standards, but it’s important to not blindly trust the hotel or that they coordinate with the safety practices of the country. Furthermore, different countries have different fire safety codes, and a hotel could be up to local code, but still not be considered safe by many Western standards. Also, what can often happen is that a country will institute fire safety codes only after a major fire, instead of legislating them in the first place, which would of course be much safer.

Take Thailand for example, the Grand Park Avenue Hotel in Bangkok suffered a major fire in 2012 that broke out on the 5th floor of the building. Local firefighters responded and took about a half hour to douse the flames, but unfortunately they were too late to save two foreigners who perished as a result of the fire. One of the deceased actually tried to jump from her 5th floor window into the pool, but unfortunately the result was fatal. To do this safely you would require proper high-rise survival gear. Thailand actually has a law that all buildings built after 1992 are required to have sprinkler systems in place, but this is not necessarily enforced. Trip Advisor users commented in this thread that sometimes the sprinkler system is just for show and that in the 2012 fire, there were no sprinklers and no emergency lighting. One person who claimed to be there during the fire described the scene: “I was at the scene and just returned from there…Lots of smoke and hotel in darkness. Couldn’t find anyone who could speak enough English to give me info on injured.” We can see from Thailand, that countries safety standards can vary greatly. One unique case is South Korea, where tourists have been fascinated to learn that many hotel rooms come with their very own rappel line. This device is called “Simplicity Descending Life Line” and functions much like SkySaver but looks incredibly difficult to use. From the picture it seems that the device is worn like a belt, but this could prove difficult in an emergency and there’s no guarantee it won’t slip off. Furthermore, there are no English instructions, and using it improperly can be very dangerous. If you jump out a window and trust a foreign device, you definitely want to make sure it’s ceritfied and safe.

Toolkit by my 10th floor hotel room window Simplicity Descending Life Line. Unsure if I can execute the instructions

— Joe Tan (@tanhjj) December 14, 2013