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Bellefonte weighs rule changes for bed and breakfasts - INN the news 01.06.09

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muirford

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Bellefonte has had three pretty devastating fires in the last three years, including a B&B which was destroyed by a fire that started under an outside porch. I don't know that there were any casualties from the fires but all were in restored historic buildings. Bellefonte's tourism is due in most part to its proximity to Penn State and there are no B&Bs that I know of in State College.
 

Morticia

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I know it's a burden, but c'mon people. You're asking someone to sleep in your attic with no fire prevention methods in place and no way to escape. Given what muirford said about previous fires, I think there needs to be a closer look at each building. If guests are on the second floor and have easy egress thru large windows, ok. But once you're above that in sleeping accommodations, there needs to be more thought given to the safety of the guests.
I think asking owners to install an exit with stairs from the third floor is not excessive given they are not requiring anything else like fire containment. No enclosed stairways, no sprinkler system, it doesn't even mention emergency lighting or smoke detectors. And we do know there are people cheap enough to skimp on batteries for smoke detectors/smoke detector installation, just look at the news any day of the week. (8 dead in a blaze in Richmond, NY Sunday...no smoke detectors in the house.)
 

muirford

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How many on this forum have emergency lighting?
I bet not many..
We have the plug-ins that turn on when the power goes out. Of course, guests unplug them to be able to recharge whatever they need to recharge in the bedrooms. The hallway ones are not flashlights and I only have to chase around our housekeeper to make sure they are plugged in after cleaning.
 

gillumhouse

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I know it's a burden, but c'mon people. You're asking someone to sleep in your attic with no fire prevention methods in place and no way to escape. Given what muirford said about previous fires, I think there needs to be a closer look at each building. If guests are on the second floor and have easy egress thru large windows, ok. But once you're above that in sleeping accommodations, there needs to be more thought given to the safety of the guests.
I think asking owners to install an exit with stairs from the third floor is not excessive given they are not requiring anything else like fire containment. No enclosed stairways, no sprinkler system, it doesn't even mention emergency lighting or smoke detectors. And we do know there are people cheap enough to skimp on batteries for smoke detectors/smoke detector installation, just look at the news any day of the week. (8 dead in a blaze in Richmond, NY Sunday...no smoke detectors in the house.).
At a minimum they should require the portable ladders or a ladder attached to the side of the house for 3rd floor guestrooms. I totally agree there should be two forms of exit from each room. We were asking for the metal portable ladders (from $40 to $100 each) in EACH ROOM and the Fire Marshal fought us tooth and nail. The only occupants of a third floor permitted without an outside staircase to ground (required) in WV are the innkeepers.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Emergency lighting meaning WALL MOUNTED UP HIGH commercial lighting with the big batteries.
Yeah that is a peeve, as they unplug the outlet lights I put them in strange places that they should not require an outlet, but they do I guess. I find them in the drawers.
 

muirford

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Emergency lighting meaning WALL MOUNTED UP HIGH commercial lighting with the big batteries.
Yeah that is a peeve, as they unplug the outlet lights I put them in strange places that they should not require an outlet, but they do I guess. I find them in the drawers..
Not to be argumentative but I think emergency lighting is better near the floor. Smoke rises and you are supposed to drop to the floor to leave a smoke-filled area.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I know it's a burden, but c'mon people. You're asking someone to sleep in your attic with no fire prevention methods in place and no way to escape. Given what muirford said about previous fires, I think there needs to be a closer look at each building. If guests are on the second floor and have easy egress thru large windows, ok. But once you're above that in sleeping accommodations, there needs to be more thought given to the safety of the guests.
I think asking owners to install an exit with stairs from the third floor is not excessive given they are not requiring anything else like fire containment. No enclosed stairways, no sprinkler system, it doesn't even mention emergency lighting or smoke detectors. And we do know there are people cheap enough to skimp on batteries for smoke detectors/smoke detector installation, just look at the news any day of the week. (8 dead in a blaze in Richmond, NY Sunday...no smoke detectors in the house.).
At a minimum they should require the portable ladders or a ladder attached to the side of the house for 3rd floor guestrooms. I totally agree there should be two forms of exit from each room. We were asking for the metal portable ladders (from $40 to $100 each) in EACH ROOM and the Fire Marshal fought us tooth and nail. The only occupants of a third floor permitted without an outside staircase to ground (required) in WV are the innkeepers.
.
gillumhouse said:
At a minimum they should require the portable ladders or a ladder attached to the side of the house for 3rd floor guestrooms. I totally agree there should be two forms of exit from each room. We were asking for the metal portable ladders (from $40 to $100 each) in EACH ROOM and the Fire Marshal fought us tooth and nail. The only occupants of a third floor permitted without an outside staircase to ground (required) in WV are the innkeepers.
That is even worse! Innkeepers need the emergency exit more than anyone (of course we're not paying to live there like guests).
Funny thing here (in this building) is that we DO have a second exit upstairs off a guest room. If the guest room is locked or occupied noone is able to use that exit, of course they can smash the door down, or if I am there I have spare keys. We have the windown ladders for the others without a roof outside the window.
 

Morticia

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How many on this forum have emergency lighting?
I bet not many..
In both hallways. Battery-operated and attached to the fire system. If the power goes out, the lights come on immediately and stay on for 45 minutes. If the fire alarm is pulled or the sprinklers kick on, same thing. But we have very strict rules here about fire safety. In this town, ALL B&B's must have sprinkler systems in the guest rooms, common areas and at points of egress (hallways and stairs leading to exterior doors). No requirements for fire escapes, tho. Windows must be large enough for egress. (Nothing required for owners' spaces.)
That's why I don't think it's asking too much to have some sort of escape mechanism in place for 3rd floor guestrooms. And how many of those places that are complaining all the time, even do provide any sort of lighting for guests to use in case of emergency? Or an 'escape route' like hotels have to post?
Whenever I read these articles all I hear is how onerous the requirements will be. No one ever says, 'We try to be proactive in these things with XYZ for the guests. We hope the town takes these things into consideration.'
 

Morticia

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Emergency lighting meaning WALL MOUNTED UP HIGH commercial lighting with the big batteries.
Yeah that is a peeve, as they unplug the outlet lights I put them in strange places that they should not require an outlet, but they do I guess. I find them in the drawers..
Not to be argumentative but I think emergency lighting is better near the floor. Smoke rises and you are supposed to drop to the floor to leave a smoke-filled area.
.
muirford said:
Not to be argumentative but I think emergency lighting is better near the floor. Smoke rises and you are supposed to drop to the floor to leave a smoke-filled area.
Good point. Our lighting is strictly for manoeuvering on the stairs, not in the hallways. I'll look at some of the plug ins for the hallways.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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You all have me thinking and wondering if maybe that is why we have that adjoining door in one room, for fire safety? I just IM'd Dh at work he said it is a lot cheaper to put a ladder in the closet than to install a door. I thought I had uncovered a mystery as to why those rooms join with a STAIRWAY on the other side of the door. Not illegal at all, open a door and fall down. Nice.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Emergency lighting meaning WALL MOUNTED UP HIGH commercial lighting with the big batteries.
Yeah that is a peeve, as they unplug the outlet lights I put them in strange places that they should not require an outlet, but they do I guess. I find them in the drawers..
Not to be argumentative but I think emergency lighting is better near the floor. Smoke rises and you are supposed to drop to the floor to leave a smoke-filled area.
.
muirford said:
Not to be argumentative but I think emergency lighting is better near the floor. Smoke rises and you are supposed to drop to the floor to leave a smoke-filled area.
Maybe it is higher to be tamper proof? I don't think this lighting does squat in a fire situation. Really. I mean, I have no way of telling. It is up high as it illuminates our stairs and down below and the other illuminates down the hallway to show the exits. We have had to use it twice with power outages, works really well. We tell the guests to LEAVE THEIR DOORS OPEN and it lights up their rooms just enough.
When we moved in the batteries were dead and leaked all into the casings of the light. Another "turn-key" expense. Instead of keeping the dinosaurs we found new lights with efficient batteries forless than the cost of the batteries on these old ones.
 

gillumhouse

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How many on this forum have emergency lighting?
I bet not many..
I am 3 guestrooms or less so I am jsut a residence to State Fire Code but MABB has requirements (and so do I). I have the plug-ins that go on when the power goes off - one in each guestroom near the exit window (all rooms on secind floor access a first floor roof - and the fire dept is across the parking lot), one in each bathroom, one in the upstairs hall, and one in the kitchen. Although I do have surge strips in each guestroom, I still find the plug-ins out and sometimes have to go on a hunt for them. The advantage to the plug-ins is that the guest pulls it out and uses it as a flashlight to get out with high up they are useless once out of their scope of illumination.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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And also worth mentioning for insurance purposes - a fire dept across the street = a discount, and a fire hydrant within 100 feet = discount.
 

gillumhouse

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I know it's a burden, but c'mon people. You're asking someone to sleep in your attic with no fire prevention methods in place and no way to escape. Given what muirford said about previous fires, I think there needs to be a closer look at each building. If guests are on the second floor and have easy egress thru large windows, ok. But once you're above that in sleeping accommodations, there needs to be more thought given to the safety of the guests.
I think asking owners to install an exit with stairs from the third floor is not excessive given they are not requiring anything else like fire containment. No enclosed stairways, no sprinkler system, it doesn't even mention emergency lighting or smoke detectors. And we do know there are people cheap enough to skimp on batteries for smoke detectors/smoke detector installation, just look at the news any day of the week. (8 dead in a blaze in Richmond, NY Sunday...no smoke detectors in the house.).
At a minimum they should require the portable ladders or a ladder attached to the side of the house for 3rd floor guestrooms. I totally agree there should be two forms of exit from each room. We were asking for the metal portable ladders (from $40 to $100 each) in EACH ROOM and the Fire Marshal fought us tooth and nail. The only occupants of a third floor permitted without an outside staircase to ground (required) in WV are the innkeepers.
.
gillumhouse said:
At a minimum they should require the portable ladders or a ladder attached to the side of the house for 3rd floor guestrooms. I totally agree there should be two forms of exit from each room. We were asking for the metal portable ladders (from $40 to $100 each) in EACH ROOM and the Fire Marshal fought us tooth and nail. The only occupants of a third floor permitted without an outside staircase to ground (required) in WV are the innkeepers.
That is even worse! Innkeepers need the emergency exit more than anyone (of course we're not paying to live there like guests).
Funny thing here (in this building) is that we DO have a second exit upstairs off a guest room. If the guest room is locked or occupied noone is able to use that exit, of course they can smash the door down, or if I am there I have spare keys. We have the windown ladders for the others without a roof outside the window.
.
Funny thing here (in this building) is that we DO have a second exit upstairs off a guest room. If the guest room is locked or occupied noone is able to use that exit, of course they can smash the door down, or if I am there I have spare keys.
In WV you would be out of code. The second exit must be acessed by a door accessible to everyone on that floor (4,5, & 6 guestrooms). Third floor MUST have the covered staircase to ground for guests as above. Innkeepers are residents and they are not going to sue anyone if they are toast. The Fire Codes are in place for the lawyers - they lay the blame on the party to be sued.
 

egoodell

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How many on this forum have emergency lighting?
I bet not many..
We have the plug in emergency lighting from Lowes. I like them as we and the guests can flip them on at night for night lights too.
Our rooms are in a wing off the main building ground level so the only ones upstairs are us in our loft apartment.
Then again, our County rep made Chris separate the fire alarms etc. between the wing and the house before he would give us our license.
And then behind him the fire chief made him go and run a wire to reconnect the wing and the main house as he would not approve us unless the alarms are all connected.
Typical of this county....
RIki
 

Morticia

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You all have me thinking and wondering if maybe that is why we have that adjoining door in one room, for fire safety? I just IM'd Dh at work he said it is a lot cheaper to put a ladder in the closet than to install a door. I thought I had uncovered a mystery as to why those rooms join with a STAIRWAY on the other side of the door. Not illegal at all, open a door and fall down. Nice..
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
You all have me thinking and wondering if maybe that is why we have that adjoining door in one room, for fire safety? I just IM'd Dh at work he said it is a lot cheaper to put a ladder in the closet than to install a door. I thought I had uncovered a mystery as to why those rooms join with a STAIRWAY on the other side of the door. Not illegal at all, open a door and fall down. Nice.
We are talking about moving the door to one room. It has a nice landing outside the door and I want to give the room more space, so moving the door out a few feet would help. At least it would make a nice niche to put in coat closet or a place for luggage. Hubs suggested moving it to the top of the stairs. Uh oh. I could see it now, big suitcase, guest trying to open the door, tumble down the stairs. Or, open door, forget about stairs, fall down.
Even reversing the door so it opens out of the room would make more space in the room. (This room has it's own private stairwell.)
 

Morticia

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And also worth mentioning for insurance purposes - a fire dept across the street = a discount, and a fire hydrant within 100 feet = discount..
I can see the fire hydrant from here...
 

Copperhead

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How many on this forum have emergency lighting?
I bet not many..
We have the plug in emergency lighting from Lowes. I like them as we and the guests can flip them on at night for night lights too.
Our rooms are in a wing off the main building ground level so the only ones upstairs are us in our loft apartment.
Then again, our County rep made Chris separate the fire alarms etc. between the wing and the house before he would give us our license.
And then behind him the fire chief made him go and run a wire to reconnect the wing and the main house as he would not approve us unless the alarms are all connected.
Typical of this county....
RIki
.
Riki, I think most areas are more similar than we ever guessed. It appears the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing in our area as well. When we went through the process 10 years ago (and I don't think it has changed) there were no steps to follow. We went to one office only to be told no you need to this first, then told another step at the next place.
Before we had the Fire inspection we were told from some friends not to have everything perfect as the inspector HAS to find something you need to do to comply...we left a couple of things undone. They came in and listed 1 of the 2 and one other, luckly minor, items to correct before granting us the license. They just have to justify their job and make it important. They know that without their blessing you have no business so they know they have got you by the
. You complain and they will make it even tougher.
 

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