137 | Hotel Fire Safety and Prevention with Buddy Dewar


Buddy is the former Director of Florida’s State Fire Marshal’s Office and is internationally known as a fire safety expert. He earned a BA in Economics from Florida Atlantic University, and a MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

Buddy first entered the fire service in 1961 with the New River Fire Department in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area. He entered the U.S. Army in 1966, and served in Viet Nam where he was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” Device for Valor and First Oak Leaf Cluster. While stationed in Germany, Captain Dewar performed arson investigations throughout Europe. After leaving the U.S. Army in 1972, he became a member of the Plantation Fire Department where he served as a Battalion Chief. He began his tenure with the State Fire Marshal’s office as a Florida State Fire College Instructor in 1976, later becoming Superintendent of the Florida State Fire College in 1979, and Director of the State Fire Marshal’s Office in 1981 where he served until 1989. Buddy then worked for the National Fire Sprinkler Association for 26 years and retired as Vice President in 2015. He now serves as a fire safety consultant.

In This Episode, Buddy Reveals:

  • What may have gone wrong during the fire that consumed the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country Hotel in Santa Rosa, CA on the evening of October 8-9, 2017.
  • The fire safety measures a hotel is required to implement, where fire codes come from, and whether properties are ever grandfathered in to avoid compliance with new code requirements and laws.
  • How often fire safety inspections should take place to ensure the equipment is fully functional, how often a hotel should review their emergency plans, and provide staff training.
  • Some of the less obvious things a hotel may do to put their guests and staff at risk, including exceeding occupancy load limits, blocking exits and passageways, and altering a building without permits.
  • Some of the things that he does as a guest to ensure he’s safe when he visits a new property.

Resources & Links

Buddy Dewar

  • 329 | Ruff and Ready: ADA gives hotels a short leash when accommodating guests with service animals

    Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.

  • 328 | Curb Appeal: Hotels’ refreshed images designed to attract road trippers

    Nearly 48 million Americans plan to travel over the Fourth of July weekend, predicts AAA. Most of them will drive and many of them plan to stay in hotels. What makes a travel consumer choose your hotel? Price can be a factor but so can the story the property tells through its online photos and its real-life curb appeal. First impressions of a hotel set the tone for the guest’s entire stay. Its roadside image is more important than ever as the lodging industry this summer hangs its hopes on a comeback driven by domestic travelers. Lodging Leaders podcast explores the importance of a hotel’s curb appeal as hoteliers think of ways to attract travelers seeking safety and assurance as the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

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