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

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