Dangerous Summer Resorts.
It is not the fault of the landlords, or the proprietors of the hotels at our Summer resorts—whether by the seaside or among the mountains—that they possess elements of danger to life and property far beyond what is found in the average hotels of the cities. The very fact that such are simply and only Surrftner resorts, to be occupied but three or lour months during the year, precludes the possibility of their being constructed upon that solid and substantial basis.which gives assurance of safety. Our Summer hotels are usually long, rambling frame shells, slightly thrown together with the dryest and flimsiest material, highly combustible in its nature, and liable to ignite on the slightest provocation. Should a fire get started in one of them, it would run through the entire structure with the rapidity, almost, of a train of gunpowder, j and with nearly as disastrous consequences, j It is wonderful that there have not been j terrible disasters at some of the Summer j resorts from this cause, endangering, if not j actuallv sacrificing, the lives of many of j their patrons. Such structures as we allude i to could not be erected within the limits of j any city, because of the dangerous character of their construction. How little chance there is of saving one ot these combustible j hotels when a tire gets started, has been frequently demonstrated by their complete d struetton by tire at the close of the season, Indeed, so frequent have been these •’ total losses that it has become a standing joke m insurance circles that an unprofitable season at the Summer resorts ends in the .ummg of numerous hotels, whereby the owner makes a good sale ot hss property to j the insurance companies, i hat such fires do not occur when the houses are filled with their patrons, is due to the watchful care of a merciful Providence rather than to human foresight.
It is not to be expected that fire-proof structures are to be erected for Summer resort hotels ; that is precluded by the very character of the business, which is too shortlived to warrant the incurring of heavy expenses. But the proprietors of these resorts should be compelled to provide for the safety of their patrons to an extent that would give these at least some chance for their lives in case a fire should occur on the premises. Fire escapes, ready for use at a moment’s notice, should be provided in every room ; something that can be used for no other purpose, and consequently is beyond the temptation of removal. It is not necessary that these should be expensive, for science has so successfully applied itself to the task of providing cheap and convenient fire and practicable ones at low prices. With the means of ready escape provided them, the patrons ot Summer hotels will feel less repugnance to occupying upper floors, and less objection to the single stairway being their only means of egress from the rooms above the ground floor. The day is not far distant when State laws will ‘ compel hotel keepers to make provision of this character, and he that does it without compulsion will play a winning card. escapes that the market is full of efficient and practicable ones at low prices. With the means of ready escape provided them, the patrons ot Summer hotels will feel less repugnance to occupying upper floors, and less objection to the single stairway being their only means of egress from the rooms above the ground floor. The day is not far distant when State laws will ‘ compel hotel keepers to make provision of this character, and he that does it without compulsion will play a winning card.
It should be the aim of landlords of hotels to familiarize their patrons with the idea that danger lurks in every building from this insidious enemy of mankind, and I to give them confidence by making them i acquainted with the abundant means proj vided for their escape from the building case of fire. It would be a good idea have weekly exhibitions of this character, for the purpose of showing how easy a matter it is to escape from a burning building when the proper appliances are provided. As matters are at present in these Summer tinder-boxes, let a fire occur at night, and the halls would swarm with frightened men, women and children, conscious that there was but a single stairway by which to escape, blinded by smoke and scorched by flames, they would become panic stricken, as did the crowd at the Brooklyn Theatre, and a terrible loss of life would inevitably result. The wise landlord will provide against such a “ holocaust ” by supplying to his patrons individual and independent means of escape, thus giving them confidence in their ability to save themselves, and will also instruct them in the use of these appliances so that there may be no loss of time or reason. Familiarity with danger prepares one to utilize all his faculties when the emergency arises that is to test them to their full capacity.
There should be an abundance of water available in every’ hotel, under sufficient pressure to carry it through reliable hose to every part of the building ; there should be chemical extinguishers without stint in every corridor and in every’ public room; and there should also be some kind of pumping apparatus outside the building that would be in no danger of being rendered useless by the fire which threatened all alike. But, above all, the employes of the house should be trained as a fire brigade, to work under the leadership of some experienced Fireman, in order that the apparatus provided for fire extinguishment may be intelligently and efficiently handled. Without such leadership, and constant drilling, the apparatus would be of little avail. Fire escapes and fire protection are the crying needs of nearly all our Summer resort hotels.