A few weeks ago on our vacation we had a hotel emergency. When the alarm sounded around 1AM, our family was asleep. Also, we were completely unprepared. Fortunately, I will say that this story has a happy ending. Not only were we okay, but everyone else in our hotel appeared to be fine as well.
We’d spent a long day at the beach. In fact, we were coming to the end of a long week of vacation. Had this occurred earlier in our week, I might have been a tiny bit more organized and prepared. Unfortunately, though, we were running low on clean clothes, and even lower on sleep. Because of this our suitcases were a mess, our hotel rooms looked like a bomb just exploded, and I was past the point of caring.
We were all sleeping pretty hard when the alarm began to sound and the emergency strobe lights started flashing. Never calm under pressure, I began frantically searching our rooms for my shoes. And then I woke the kids up who had somehow remained asleep. I yelled at them to hurry up and put on their shoes. My daughter took a cue from my panic and became hysterical.
As I calmed her down I realized I’d lost my son. Clearly unaware of the loud alarm, he’d gone back to his room and tucked himself back in bed. Meanwhile, my husband was busy flossing his teeth. I’m kidding…kind of. I’m honestly not sure what he was doing, but I know he wasn’t helping me with the kids and their shoes!
I should probably say in my husband’s defense, it wasn’t like there was smoke pouring out of the building. We’d taken a peak off of our balcony and there didn’t appear to be anything actually wrong. Logically I knew that it was probably either a false alarm or something minor/contained.
After what felt like an hour (but was probably only a few minutes) we made our way down the stairs and out of the building. Relief flooded over me. I took a look around and saw hundreds of other hotel guests. Most of them had bothered to get dressed in actual clothes, and brush their hair. I stood there in my pajamas, holding my kids in mismatched shoes, and breathed a little sigh of relief. We were alive (yes, I’m TOTALLY dramatic in emergencies!)
As we stood there waiting on the emergency response team, I began thinking. I probably could handle that better. In fact, with as much as we travel, I NEED to do that better.
For the next hour we watched firefighters, police and EMS case out our hotel. A few guests needed medical attention. It was never clear if that was the cause of the emergency or because of the emergency. Either way, I had a lot of time to stand there and think.
I came up with a few ways to be better prepared in the future. Here are my tips for being prepared for a hotel emergency:
- Keep shoes in 1 location.
- Know where your room keys are located. Make sure to grab it on your way out the door. *Trust me, waiting in line at the lobby desk at 2AM with sleepy kids is NOT fun!
- Bring your car keys. We regretted not having ours. It would have been nice to put the kids down in their car seats and turn on the AC.
- Bring your phone. This was the 1 thing my husband remembered and I was glad we had it.
- Bring any emergency medicine. We were outside for over an hour. Prepare by having any medicine that your family relies on with you as you exit the building.
- Put all of these items in a central location at night so you can easily grab them.
- Know where the closest stairs are located. Sounds like a no brainer- especially since it’s on the back of every hotel door. But, you wouldn’t believe the amount of people walking in every direction to get out of the building. Not many people bothered to check and I’m glad we knew where to go or we might have gotten caught following the crowed.
- Have an honest conversation with your children. Similar to doing a fire drill at home, let them know that there is always an unlikely possibility of a hotel emergency. We were candid with our kids about how we could have handled it better. We also let them know how they could help us if this ever happened in the future.
Have you ever experienced a hotel emergency? If so, would you add anything to this list?