Question: I spent two nights at the Encore hotel in Las Vegas. A beautiful property, and the amenities are over the top. But I didn’t notice any fire sprinklers in my room. Shouldn’t newer hotels (Encore opened in December 2008) be required to have them? — David Tulanian, Las Vegas
Answer: Tulanian may have missed them, and you can probably blame that on aesthetics.
But first, to Tulanian’s question. Michael Weaver, a spokesman for the property, said in an email, “All of our rooms are equipped with sprinklers and smoke detectors. It is required by law.”
These sprinklers don’t look like the metal spider-like devices, known as pendant sprinkler heads, which are the most common, according to a blog by Fireline, a Maryland fire equipment distributor.
Instead, flat disks, called concealed pendant heads, are “recessed into the ceiling and covered with a decorative cap to make them blend into your ceiling,” the blog said. The caps are designed to fall away as the sprinkler system is activated.
But you should also do some homework to ensure you have the information you need to save your life, said Annmarie Feeley Jones, a senior risk specialist with Chubb Insurers.
Hotels will usually have an alarm system, but do you know what it sounds like? Is there a loudspeaker system that will give instruction? Ask these questions at the front desk and tuck the answers away in your mental file.
After you settle in your room, check the escape route, which is usually posted on the back of your room’s door. Then go find the nearest exit, she said, and as you are doing so, count the number of steps between your room and that exit door.
Among Feeley Jones’ other rules for an emergency situation:
>> Listen for instructions over a loudspeaker or by a human being.
>> If you cannot get out of your room, wet towels and stuff them in cracks in the door.
>> Turn off fans or air conditioning.
>> Call the fire department and let them know where you are.
>> Stay by a window with a white cloth or flashlight (a smartphone flashlight app can be a big help) so you can signal.
>> Grab your room key and your wallet, which you have thoughtfully left by the bed.
>> Leave your shoes by the bed too, so you can find them.
As with most things in travel — or life — you are your own best resource when things look grim, especially if you have a plan. With luck, you’ll never have to use it.
Too much trouble to scope out exits and such? No, it’s not. Make it a rule — a rule to live by.