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Fire Safety in Albergues

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
[Moderator note: With apologies to @J Willhaus for moving her post out of the thread she posted it in, I think the bit I’ve quoted below is a serious topic and merits some discussion.]

If the hospitalero says the door will be locked and you want to leave earlier, choose a a hotel without set hours and private bathrooms.

As a hospitalera, I go to bed after everyone else (10 pm or later) and get up at 5:30 am to start coffee and breakfast. At some albergues the door is locked between those hours. At one albergue where I served the boots and bikes were locked up outside until I got up and unlocked the cupboard.

Try to plan to get up between 6 am and 8 am and try to leave by 8 am. In crowded bunk rooms some people will get up early and disturb others while some people like my husband will sleep through the bag rustling and preparations. In this case I usually put on some morning Gregorian chant music and then finally about 7:30 go wake the late sleepers and reinforce that we close for cleaning at 8 am.

We get the occasional request for a later departure and try to accommodate, but please try to be considerate. Don't use audible alarms. Minimize plastic bags. Limit your use of lights. However outside of posted quiet hours all bets are off so usually after 6 am you cannot plan on getting more sleep unless you a heavy sleeper.

If the hospitalero says the door will be locked and you want to leave earlier, choose a a hotel without set hours and private bathrooms. This is also a good recommendation if you are someone who needs a bathroom for longer that a few minutes in the morning. Often there are limited toilet facilities for large numbers of pilgrims.

Usually the hospitalera will orient you as you sign in and often the rules are posted in several languages.
 
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peregrina2000

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If the hospitalero says the door will be locked and you want to leave earlier, choose a a hotel without set hours and private bathrooms.
Janet, this is something that has come up on other threads, and others have expressed concern. I’ve never really heard a clear answer. Isn’t there a requirement that albergues have a fire escape route? Wouldn’t that preclude locking people in at night? I understand the desire to keep people from waking everyone up early, but I would think the concern for safety would take precedence. I would not sleep in an albergue where I was locked in with no way out till the hospitaler@ opened the door.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
And just to make my point — these were the links that popped up on the first google page of “incendio albergue”




 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
@peregrina2000 I agree that it could be a fire issue, however, in Spain I have never found these issues to be enforced like they are in the US and probably some other countries. Usually no fire drill plan posted like there might be in the US, etc. and I am not certain of the fire codes. That was not part of our training as hospitaleros either. In some packed dorms it would be difficult to get out even if there were some kind of fire plan. I do know that as pilgrims in some places we were locked in overnight. As a hospitalera we hosted at one place with a locked door every night although there were windows in each dorm. At other places you could leave and could not get back in and at one you could leave or enter at any time although for courtesy the hours were 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The locked door and locked boots and bikes were presumably to prevent theft and also to prevent pilgrims from coming and going as they pleased and waking everyone else in the tighlty packed dorms. Sorry to digress from the thread. Mods, please delete if this detracts.
 
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peregrina2000

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There have been a couple of other threads about fire safety in albergues in recent years, none of which ever provided enough factual info, IMO.

See these, for instance:



As the person who started one of these threads noted, we have hundreds of threads about bedbugs, but never talk about this much more serious issue.

Some of these threads make categorical statements about Spanish law, others make statements about albergues that lock people in. These threads are a few years old, though, so some updated information would be helpful. I’ve taken a few quick stabs at finding more information, but so far no luck.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
I will say that we were instructed carefully on the use of the "gas" tank for cooking and make sure it was turned off at the source after use, however, with wood stoves the instructions were less careful, except not to let the pilgrims add wood or tend the fire. If you are a hospitalero without a lot of fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove experience that would also be a potential risk.
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
Spouse stayed in 2018 in an Albergue in Fromista, near the train station and it burned down within the year. As I understand it, no people were in it at the time, but certainly that was just luck.

I have stayed in several Albergues that were deeply concerning as fire hazards that are a matter of "when not if..."

16 people in bunks in an attic with barely a 2-foot span between beds, and 3 levels of stairs are the only way down (likely to be blocked by fire)... that kind of thing.

I have only once stayed somewhere that was locked, preventing egress in the morning. We had not realized we would be locked *IN*... but I've heard it is common enough. I certainly won't ever get into that situation again.

Without besmirching locations, might it be possible to create a list of those who lock their visitors *in*? and also of those that are fundamentally chimneys if a fire should ever start?

And then people could plan to avoid or stay depending on their comfort with that situation?
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I stayed in a place in Ages, that made me really nervous. Apart from the glass shower door that fell off and hit me on the head and gave me an 'egg', there were so many bunks shoved in a room you could barely get down from the top bunk, as the other one was so close. The stairs were treacherous, and there were bars on the windows. I could just imagine the carnage if a fire broke out.
 
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I think this is an important subject to be addressed.

There have been some times when fire safety concerns crossed my mind. I'm especially thinking of my stays in Church attics and rooms with many, many pilgrims, no windows, and only one or two doors, unlit with "exit" signs at night.

I tried to scope out where the nearest exits were when I checked in knowing that, waking up in the middle of the night in an emergency situation in a strange place with no lights would be a clear recipe for disaster, compounded by the number of fellow pilgrims caught in the same situation.

Remember the good ol' days when the only thing to worry about were bedbugs?
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Actually there were no fire alarms on doors or windows at the albergue where I served that the pilgrims were locked in at night. I don't recall fire alarms on any doors at any albergues that I have served in. I don't recall a fire alarm pull station, etc. I am straining to recall smoke detectors, but we were never reminded to check these or the batteries and I don't remember any smoke detectors beeping. Mine is only the memory of one hospitalera so there may be others who have served who had different training or instruction.
 
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2022
Perhaps when pilgrims are "locked in", the regular exits are locked, but there may still be emergency exits that will trigger alarms when they are opened. That would address fire safety concerns.
I know you are right, there are relatively easy fixes to this problem.

However, I suspect that the owners figure that, since nothing bad has happened so far, chances are slim that anything bad will happen in the future. I think this is a false hope.

Where I live, we have this discussion every time there is a fire in a high-rise that does not have a sprinkler system (fortunately, a very rare occurrence). Letters to the editor fly across the pages but eventually die down and the issue is forgotten until the next time.

If one has an older albergue, municipal or private, it can be costly to retrofit for fire safety. However, it HAS to be worth it, for, what price is paid for a preventable tragedy.

Whether it is getting a vaccination or installing fire safety exit strategies, after a loss it is too late to point out how easily it could have been prevented.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Of course we also served meals and had many hands in the kitchen and while I encouraged pilgrims to wash before helping, I never had a visit from the health dept, etc. My guess is that there are either different guidelines for albergues or they are not enforced, but that is simply a guess.
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
I agree with all these safety points and suggestions, but the reality is that I don't see a lot of fire safety activities in albergues where I have stayed or worked. Most of the ones where I have worked are owned by a church or a city or an association of some kind. Check it out ahead of time and then make your decision about whether you feel comfortable to stay or not.
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Perhaps someone who lives in Spain or is really good at researching (@Kathar1na ) could find out what the fire codes in Spain say. I can't believe that it's legal to provide a place to spend the night with no egress.


I tried to find some detailed information on the website from the Xunta from Galicia but could not find it.
Really curious what the legal situation is?
 

Lindor

Member
Past OR future Camino
Starting Camino 02/04/2020
Slightly off topic, but I'd like to assure you all that I know of at least 1 alburgue that has amazing smoke alarms.
Le Chemin Vers L'Etoile in St Jean Pied De Port has the loudest smoke alarms I've ever heard.

I know this because, on my recent Camino, I accidentally set the alarms off😆, as I didn't have a clue how the induction cooker worked. I have a gas cooker at home, and have never used induction before. I had the heat FAR too high and burned the chorizo I was frying to cinders. Oops!!

The hospitelaro was NOT amused. 😂.

I felt terrible, and started apologising to all those who were lying on bunks/showering, and had to run downstairs to see what was going on, but a French guy handed me a beer, and told me not to worry about it.

I actually ended up walking into Santiago, and onto Finisterre with that same guy.

And that's the story of how I made my first Camino friend😂
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
As a retired career firefighter, I see life safety problems in nearly every albergue I have stayed in: lack of smoke and CO detectors, poor wiring, limited access/egress routes, inward opening doors, not enough exits, no emergency lighting, no exit signs, few extinguishers and on and on. If it were the US, they couldn’t get an occupancy permit and would be permanently closed.

The EU has similar building and life safety codes, but it’s really about enforcement. If the local jurisdiction doesn’t care or lacks the staffing to inspect, nothing will change. Additionally, there is likely very little political will to enforce these rules.

In short, it IS dangerous and WILL eventually have a catastrophic outcome, but I am not hopeful that anything will change soon. 😞
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Portugues 2022
Even beyond the legalities, what is the safety culture? This is an area where the albergue associations and hospitaleros could be pro-active.
Spain is a wonderful country, but their attitude to safety leaves much to be desired, not only in the albergues, but in general it seems. Walking past road works and construction sites I noticed a distinct lack of safety precautions that in most countries would see the work site shut down.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 CF
Spain is a wonderful country, but their attitude to safety leaves much to be desired, not only in the albergues, but in general it seems. Walking past road works and construction sites I noticed a distinct lack of safety precautions that in most countries would see the work site shut down.
Haha you should try walking in other countries if you think Spain is ‘bad’ regarding safety! 😂 Bulgaria comes to mind right now but there were plenty others 😁 😂
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The numbers say that Spain has fewer deaths by fire than the US on a per capita basis. Not sure how that factors in, but I thought it was interesting.

Bulgaria comes to mind right now

And Bulgaria comes in just behind the US.

 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 CF
The numbers say that Spain has fewer deaths by fire than the US on a per capita basis. Not sure how that factors in, but I thought it was interesting.



And Bulgaria comes in just behind the US.

I was thinking about safery regarding roadworks or works in general. Approaching Sofia, I recall having to ‘duck’ to just avoid cranes and other machinery 😂 And no, there was no other way.
 
F

Former member 91017

Guest
The numbers say that Spain has fewer deaths by fire than the US on a per capita basis. Not sure how that factors in, but I thought it was interesting.

And Bulgaria comes in just behind the US.

I suspect that all the stone walls in Spain…. The mud… the plaster… are far more fire resistant for “spread”… and that the rampant terrible construction, the signifying swaths of mobile homes, wooden housing…. My god… I spent my teens and 20’s with TV from Buffalo and every night something was burning in North Tonawanda… I’m sure it was age and structure of those buildings. If the house is going up like a tinder box, a fire alarm isn’t likely to help…. But we also know that there is a lot of housing in the US without proper inspection, maintenance etc…

that’s my guess, coming from observation, and a father who was a general contractor and landlord, and a step-father who was a mechanical engineer with a hobby retirement business in residential renovation.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
There are a number of older threads about the practice of locking pilgrims in at night. It is illegal.

In one of the threads, @SYates suggests that you fill out an hoja de reclamación/complaint form that all commercial establishments are required to have.
I don't know if I have ever been locked in an albergue, but in the future I will definitely check out emergency egress when I enter an albergue.

If I were to ever be a hospitalera I wouldn't take the risk of locking pilgrims in.



 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
There are a number of older threads about the practice of locking pilgrims in at night. It is illegal.

In one of the threads, @SYates suggests that you fill out an hoja de reclamación/complaint form that all commercial establishments are required to have.
I don't know if I have ever been locked in an albergue, but in the future I will definitely check out emergency egress when I enter an albergue.

If I were to ever be a hospitalera I wouldn't take the risk of locking pilgrims in.




Would be good to hear the input from @LTfit , @SYates and @Rebekah Scott on this subject.
For instance does HOSVOL talk about it in their hospitalerocourse?

Cheers @trecile for bringing up the existence of the hoja de reclamacion.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.codigotecnico.org%2Fpdf%2FDocumentos%2FSI%2FDBSI.pdf&clen=2284668&chunk=true

This is a pdf of what seems to be the current Spanish fire safety building regulations. They have a lot to say about materials, structure and escapes but I couldn't find anything about fire/smoke alarms, which are probably covered by different legislation. Has anyone found anything?

The problem with regulations, though, is how well they are enforced and complied with.

It would be wise (I think) to have a good look around the albergue you are staying in and think about how you would get out quickly if you had to and where the fire extinguishers are.

As of now, HOSVOL hospitalero training in Australia will definitely include input on fire safety - we will be helping Julie-Ann Milne conduct a training session in Sydney next January and fire safety will be mentioned.
 
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Spain is a wonderful country, but their attitude to safety leaves much to be desired,
Haha you should try walking in other countries if you think Spain is ‘bad’ regarding safety! 😂 Bulgaria comes to mind right now but there were plenty others
'Other countries,' like many parts of the world - where there are no smoke detectors, and construction to any legal code at all is wishful thinking.
Spain is doing well by contrast.

Not that locking pilgrims in at night is safe.
It's not.
Reading this thread makes me realize I have never asked if they do this.
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
I just came home from hospitalera service in Nájera, and while we said the door was locked, what we meant was that the door was fine to open from the inside - you just couldn't open it from the outside without a key, so no midnight smoking breaks, dear Italian pilgrims (those were the people who asked specifically about that). There was also an emergency exit from the dormitorio, which I tested on the first day - all the doors were easy to push outwards.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
I will say the new municipal albergue in Canfranc Pueblo administered by FICS had everything: exit lighting, smoke alarms, outward opening doors, etc. Truly the safest albergue stay (and possible ANY stay in Spain!) I have had.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
'Other countries,' like many parts of the world - where there are no smoke detectors, and construction to any legal code at all is wishful thinking.
Spain is doing well by contrast.

Not that locking pilgrims in at night is safe.
It's not.
Reading this thread makes me realize I have never asked if they do this.
One of the things I discovered in my search was that EU fire regulations are more stringent than in the UK. As for workplace health and safety, feast your eyes on this gem from the archive (not Spain, in case you were wondering).

DSC02956.JPG
 
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Perhaps someone [...] could find out what the fire codes in Spain say. I can't believe that it's legal to provide a place to spend the night with no egress.
I have no idea about regulations but I would expect that the Spanish regulations are similar to those we'd expect, i.e. a guest staying in any kind of touristic establishment including Camino albergues must have a guarantee of being able to leave the building in case of a fire. To what extent the Camino associations who manage the daily running of an albergue, and the volunteers on their short-time stints, are aware of this, or just apply common sense, and to what extent there is control of compliance with any regulations that may exist is anyone's guess.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I will say that we were instructed carefully on the use of the "gas" tank for cooking and make sure it was turned off at the source after use, however, with wood stoves the instructions were less careful, except not to let the pilgrims add wood or tend the fire. If you are a hospitalero without a lot of fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove experience that would also be a potential risk.
We lock the doors at this albergue from 10:00pm till 6:00am from the inside!?
What if gas or smoke overcomes the hospitalero? Sleep there at ones own peril!

While training helps, electrical fires or gas leaks can happen that have nothing to do with the hospitalero at all.

Before booking any accommodation in a private albergue or even a Hilton, I always check before if there is an external exit available 24hrs a day AND if there is a balcony or window we can get out of in our room. When we stay at some of the small hotels or Paradors, we request a lower floor and not only make sure we know where the stairs are, but we use them once to make sure they are accessible to the downstairs, or outdoors.

Do you look for fire extinguishers in your accommodation? Do you know how to use it!? Don’t wait till there isa fire to learn how!
 
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Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I have no idea about regulations
Here is a link that may be useful to pursue if someone wants to know the fire protection regulations for Spain: https://www.enion.es/normativa-de-proteccion-contra-incendios-en-hoteles/. It refers to hotels. Every hotel has to have an emergency plan in case of a fire and their personnel needs to know it.

I didn't search for the link. It appeared while I looked for incendios albergues. What can I say? They, or stuff in them, does catch fire and burns. I think it may be difficult to find the ultimate answer to the question: Can I lock in my guests for the night so that they cannot escape on their own until the morning?
 
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feast your eyes on this gem from the archive (
That's exactly the sort of thing (and one of tbe countries) I was thinking about when I wrote that post. 😁

Spanish regulations are similar to those we'd expect, i.e. a guest staying in any kind of touristic establishment including Camino albergues must have a guarantee of being able to leave the building in case of a fire. To what extent the Camino associations who manage the daily running of an albergue, and the volunteers on their short-time stints, are aware of this, or just apply common sense, and to what extent there is control of compliance with any regulations that may exist is anyone's guess.
Exactly. Who knows?
Use your common sense in deciding your acceptable level of risk, being aware that neither obliviousness nor paranoid vigilance are helpful. There are many situations where the security of a locked outer door would be reasuring - just not locked from the outside!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
In some ways this thread feels like the threads complaining about toilet paper on the camino, and in other ways it feels like the threads that deal with sexual harrassment and worse on the camino. The first bunch of threads leaves us with no good plan of action, just a place to vent our frustration, but the second has, I think, actually helped move the ball forward in terms of reporting, responses, and awareness.

In this case, there are organizations to contact, there are laws and regulations applicable. There are professionally based opinions on this thread that confirm that it is not an isolated issue.

I agree with VN that neither obliviousness nor paranoid vigilance are helpful, so this thread can help to give a heads up to many forum members (like me) who never really thought about this issue before.

But beyond that, it’d be great if people in the know could suggest things we could actually do to try to address the issue on a camino-wide basis.
 
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A first step would be to find out to what extent this is even an issue. When the door is locked by hospitaleros, what does it mean. Do they look the door with a key and remove the key? Put the key on a hook next to the door? How is this done at Roncesvalles for example, a large albergue where many forum members have stayed or been hospitaleros. I would think that they have procedures to follow?
 
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Exactly.
Another thing I'd want to know (if it is an issue) is if there's a pattern to the problem of being locked in. Are private albergues are held to a higher safety standard than municipal or parochial ones, for example?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Based on @vacajoe’s comment, it seems like there is a much bigger fish to fry than just locked doors (and windows with bars), though that surely is the most concerning. I’m not disagreeing that a good first step would be to find out where the locked door albergues are, but I was thinking more about how to get the general issue on the radar screen of responsible parties. I don’t think it’s realistic for forum members to sniff out all the potential offenders, but I do think we can do a good job of making some noise about the bigger issue.
 

sunwanderer

Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
where the stairs are, but we use them once to make sure they are accessible to the downstairs, or outdoors.
Excellent advice.

Once i was working late (8:30pm) in a high-rise office building when the fire alarm went off. I went out into the hallway to an exit stairway. I noticed that the stairway doors on each floor didn't allow access back into the hallway.

I went all the way down to the ground floor to the exit out onto the street, but there was a heavy duty chain and padlock holding the doors shut.

As I realized that I was locked in the stairway, I could smell the smoke building up.

It turned out the smoke part was just my imagination, but everything else was true.
 
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I had a bit of a look around on the net. Google albergues incendio site:.es and look for legal stuff. As I understand it: The rules about fire protection are made by the autonomous regions but they are pretty much the same in every region, perhaps based on national law. Pilgrim albergues are largely covered by the rules that apply to albergues turisticos in general. The exception may be donativo albergues, i.e. albergues who do not request payments for a bed (note: this refers to the legal definition of donativo albergue).

I don't think that we will find a rule that says you must not lock doors. The rules usually say something along the lines that there must be a plan for emergency routes and that these routes must not be blocked.

When pilgrims were told that the albergue will be locked between say 10:00 and 6:30, what did this mean? There is no way that you can get out? Or: If you go out you will not be able to get in again unless you take the key with you or put your boot between door and door frame but you must not do any of this anyway?
 
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maruska89

Mary C.
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Spain is a wonderful country, but their attitude to safety leaves much to be desired, not only in the albergues, but in general it seems. Walking past road works and construction sites I noticed a distinct lack of safety precautions that in most countries would see the work site shut down.
I agree with the sentiments in this thread regarding safety and don't think I ever stayed in an "locked in" albergue. And yes the attitudes towards safety in Spain and some other European countries have something to be desired, but... the other extreme of having warnings in North America (I'm in Canada) of everything from.. "careful, coffee is hot!" to every sort of warning such as.. icy sidewalks may cause you to fall.... the list goes on. What I mean is common sense is not needed here any more.
 

Anhalter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 CF
Personally, i love Spain for their attitude towards safety. Or the lack of it. Wanna jump over a fire, sure, go ahead. Oh, you fell into the fire, well, you should not have jumped then. And while my personal experience is limited to the US and not Canada, it does not seem to me that the "safety measures" in place over there don't make the place any safer. Most times they just feel like a waste of money to reduce the risk of some *profanity* person sueing the *profanity* out of whoever is responsible for said "safety" measures.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I don't think that we will find a rule that says you must not lock doors.
As @peregrina2000 said on one of the links I posted above, locking pilgrims in is a restriction on the fundamental right of liberty.
On another thread about a new Hostal in Torres del Rio, the person who stayed there described how they were locked into the place and had to wait to be let out in the morning by the owners. Others then added similar experiences.

I have been in this situation on various occasions -- being totally locked inside, no way out, till the owner shows up.

I wrote to a friend of mine in Madrid who is a law professor, and he responded immediately -- this is totally illegal, for two reasons, one more theoretical, one practical:

1. It would be deemed a restriction on the fundamental human right of liberty (Article 17 of the Spanish Constitution)

2. Each Comunidad Autonoma (regional governments like the Xunta, the Junta de Castilla y Leon, etc) has tourism laws that require owners to facilitate free exit and entry at all times for the guests.
 

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
I certainly would not disagree with any member's safety concerns. May I first just say that all HOSVOL hospitaleros are on site if there is a problem - I stand to be corrected?
Theft and crime are major issues. A lot of these restrictions imposed are for the benefit of pilgrims.
Imagine , someone creeps in at night and steals your belongings? Or poses as a pilgrim and leaves at 3am with you entire backpack?
Over 5 years ago I was chatting to a hospitalero in a large albergue. His workload had been increased by an hour each day uploading all the particulars of the 100 or more pilgrims to the Guarda each day. They would then cross reference crimes with overnight patterns - they have caught many stooooopid souls.
 
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When volunteering at Najera we locked people out but we physically checked the fire exit doors still opened from the inside - there was no alarm that we could see. While on the Ingles I was given my own key to an albergue and was asked to lock it from both the inside and outside to ensure the security of pilgrims - once I realised that in an emergency one (or many) would need to put a single jiggly key in the door in order to exit - and there was no other exit (not even a window), I left and found a hotel room - call me paranoid or claustrophobic but others seemed completely unconcerned.
 
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C clearly

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Personally, i love Spain for their attitude towards safety. Or the lack of it. Wanna jump over a fire, sure, go ahead. Oh, you fell into the fire, well, you should not have jumped then.
I understand this, and appreciate that different people choose different risks, and we shouldn't expect everyone to have the same tolerance. However, on the specific question of fire safety in albergues, I think that it is simply a very bad idea to lock pilgrims inside a building. Pilgrims should be aware of the emergency escapes, and hospitaleros should test them and communicate them. Maybe a fire extinguisher here and there would also be wise. That's all.
 
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As @peregrina2000 said on one of the links I posted above, locking pilgrims in is a restriction on the fundamental right of liberty.
I have not read the old threads in these links. IANAL and I am sure that it is restriction on the fundamental human right of liberty (Article 17 of the Spanish Constitution) to be locked in somewhere against your will but would this apply for these cases that interest us? You are obviously free to leave before the doors get locked. This is all rather hypothetical.

More interesting is this: Each Comunidad Autonoma (regional governments like the Xunta, the Junta de Castilla y Leon, etc) has tourism laws that require owners to facilitate free exit and entry at all times for the guests. This confirms something that I had read today, namely that this aspect is regulated by the regional authorities because it falls into the remit of tourism.

We should also refer mainly to the real-life situations in recent years and not to incidents from 10 or 20 years back or what we imagine Spain to be like. When I had a look at a Navarra law, fairly recent, I noticed that dormitories of 100 beds are no longer allowed in Navarra and dormitory beds of more than two beds in a "column" are no longer allowed either. Similarly, legal changes may have been introduced during the last 10 years or so in relation to safety and fire regulations.
 
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Marbe2

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When volunteering at Najera we locked people out but we physically checked the fire exit doors still opened from the inside - there was no alarm that we could see. While on the Ingles I was given my own key to an albergue and was asked to lock it from both the inside and outside to ensure the security of pilgrims - once I realised that in an emergency one (or many) would need to put a single jiggly key in the door in order to exit - and there was no other exit (not even a window), I left and found a hotel room - call me paranoid or claustrophobic but others seemed completely unconcerned.

@I too wouldn’t allow myself knowingly to be locked in any accommodation, camino or otherwise!
I understand this, and appreciate that different people choose different risks, and we shouldn't expect everyone to have the same tolerance. However, on the specific question of fire safety in albergues, I think that it is simply a very bad idea to lock pilgrims inside a building. Pilgrims should be aware of the emergency escapes, and hospitaleros should test them and communicate them. Maybe a fire extinguisher here and there would also be wise. That's all.

I have one additional suggestion. Doors in the USA (fire codes) are supposed to open from the inside out! If there was a fire in a large albergue or restaurant with doors opening in, verses out, it could be quite dangerous, in the fog of a stampede at night for the one or two exits. Suggestions have little to do with paranoia or claustrophobia, but safety!
 
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It is complicated.

I've come across decreto 48/2016, de 21 de abril 2016, of the Xunta of Galicia. It defines the concept of albergues. Albergues are different from hotels etc, so the norms are different, too. Three categories of albergues under this decree: albergues turisticos first category; albergues turisticos second category; albergues turisticos that are albergues del Camino de Santiago, and they are defined as albergues run by non-profit associations. Municipal albergues are exempt from this decree. The word incendio appears only once where it says that a decree of 2001 is hereby repealed.

So in short: regulations for Spanish hotels don't necessarily apply to pilgrim albergues in Spain; regulations in foreign countries don't necessarily apply to pilgrim albergues in Spain; the regulations for municipal pilgrim albergues in Spain may be different (in what way we don't know) from the regulations for other pilgrim albergues in Spain; the regulations for pilgrim albergues may differ from region to region (in what way we don't know).
 
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When I've stayed in albergues I most always chose to be one of the later ones leaving in the morning, so I had no idea if I was ever locked out overnight.
I had only one experience where I had gotten up extra early to leave before the standard time, only to be locked in after entering the outer stone walled courtyard for an extra hour until the gates were finally unlocked by the hospitalares; at least there was no roof. I was slightly annoyed, but no big deal other than my getting up early was in vain.
 
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If the hospitalero says the door will be locked and you want to leave earlier, choose a a hotel without set hours and private bathrooms.

As a hospitalera, I go to bed after everyone else (10 pm or later) and get up at 5:30 am to start coffee and breakfast. At some albergues the door is locked between those hours. At one albergue where I served the boots and bikes were locked up outside until I got up and unlocked the cupboard.
I'm sorry but it is not clear to me what is generalisation and what is what you actually did when you were hospitaleros.

Did you lock and put the key away so that nobody could get out? Or were there other mechanisms?

In one of the houses I live, I lock the door and leave the key in the door during the night.

In another one, in the door (already nearly 70 years old so not exactly a novelty) there is a small metal lever in the lock that allows two positions, one position when the door can be opened from the inside and from the outside without a key, and one position where the door can only be opened from the inside without a key. In addition, the door can be locked with an additional turn of the key so that it is not possible to open the door from the inside or outside without a key but this is rarely done.

In a third house, nearly 200 years old, there is a big iron key to lock from either the inside or the outside and a big hook next to the door inside where the key hangs when it's not in the lock. So ... 🤔
 
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J Willhaus

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2016
Yes, at one albergue the front door was locked every night with a key. Pilgrims did not have access to the key, however, our hospitalero room was immediately next to the door. There was also an emergency exit in one dorm that could be opened from the inside without a key. Both dorms had windows with no bars that also opened out.

Other albergues where we worked (different regions) had doors that could be opened so a person could leave, but not get back in. Those albergues were also multiple stories and were ancient buildings with limited egress in some of the dorms.
 

dougfitz

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IANAL but I am sure that it is restriction on the fundamental human right of liberty (Article 17 of the Spanish Constitution)
or Article 3 of the UDHR?

Mind you, these principles still need to be enacted in national, state and local legislation, where one might expect significant variation. I reflect on my own country, and the significant differences that existing in many areas before there was a more consistent approach to harmonising state legislation. I can imagine similar differences exist everywhere there are sub-national government structures.

My recollection of places that might have been more dangerous than others is growing vague. For a start, I didn't walk as some sort of private fire safety inspector checking every place I stayed in for smoke alarms, multiple exit routes, adequate signage to exits, fire fighting appliances etc. Certainly I would have applied the same tests as one might normally apply in a workplace to OH&S hazards if I observed them, although I don't recall ever having to raise an issue with a hospitalero.

I rather suspect that where someone says 'we lock the doors at xx pm' this means to entry. If you didn't check at that time what the fire emergency evacuation arrangements were, now is too late to suggest that one was locked in. I think that one could discount most of the concern here as anecdotal and not tested adequately to confirm that this problem is as widespread as some seem to think it is. There seem to be few well informed contributors to this discussion - at least one with a professional background in the subject, and the hospitaleros.

Here I reflect on my own experience as a hospitalero. I shut and locked the gates at San Anton from sunset to sunrise, but the albergue building was not locked. Fire fighting equipment was available in the building, and people could evacuate to the open compound area should there have been a fire in the building when the gates were locked. More telling, is that in my time there, no one asked about the emergency evacuation procedures. No one. They were told when the gates would be locked, and that they wouldn't be able to leave in the morning until they had been opened. I don't recall anyone raising this as an issue.

Dare I say there appears to be more heat than light in this discussion. It would be good to get a better fact base. I don't think we should all become amateur fire safety inspectors and distract ourselves from our pilgrimage to do that. But it is possible to ask simple questions about the emergency measures should there be a fire or other reason to evacuate an albergue and have a reasonable expectation that a hospitalero would be able to explain those arrangements.
 
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C clearly

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Dare I say there appears to be more heat than light in this discussion. It would be good to get a better fact base. I don't think we should all become amateur fire safety inspectors and distract ourselves from our pilgrimage to do that. But it is possible to ask simple questions about the emergency measures should there be a fire or other reason to evacuate an albergue and have a reasonable expectation that a hospitalero would be able to explain those arrangements.
Well said.
 

dick bird

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If I could presume to summarise this thread so far:
  1. Fire safety in albergues is a genuine concern.
  2. Some albergues follow unsafe practices e.g. locking the door at night
  3. Some albergues have an inherently unsafe design e.g. dormitory with no direct exit
  4. Some albergues lack fire safety equipment, especially smoke alarms
What should we, as individuals do about this? I suggest
  1. Make a point of asking about fire escapes etc whenever you stay at an albergue, and go elsewhere if you are not satisfied
  2. If you are a hospi, make fire escapes etc a part of your intro to arriving pilgrims and if asked to follow unsafe practices, refuse and report the albergue to the association
  3. If you train hospis, include a mention of fire safety in your course
Other than that, inform confraternities (assuming they haven't already picked up on this via this thread), and if your Spanish is good enough (or in English, they are well able to translate) write to the Xunta or the Ministry of Tourism and explain your concerns. Hopefully this well develop momentum and make something happen.
 

C clearly

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Good summary, Dick. I like to think that when people refer to locking the doors so people cannot get out, they are are simply forgetting to mention that the emergency exits are still available. I expect that they are, in most cases, but it would be helpful for hospitaleros to be clearer.
 

trecile

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Good summary, Dick. I like to think that when people refer to locking the doors so people cannot get out, they are are simply forgetting to mention that the emergency exits are still available. I expect that they are, in most cases, but it would be helpful for hospitaleros to be clearer.
But if there are emergency exits are they well marked? Trying to find a way out in a smoke filled room at night is the stuff of nightmares. And there should always be to means of egress in case one is blocked by fire.
If you are a hospi, make fire escapes etc a part of your intro to arriving pilgrims and if asked to follow unsafe practices, refuse and report the albergue to the association
This.
 

domigee

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Janet, this is something that has come up on other threads, and others have expressed concern. I’ve never really heard a clear answer. Isn’t there a requirement that albergues have a fire escape route? Wouldn’t that preclude locking people in at night? I understand the desire to keep people from waking everyone up early, but I would think the concern for safety would take precedence. I would not sleep in an albergue where I was locked in with no way out till the hospitaler@ opened the door.
From memory (but that was in 2012j the albergue in Ponferrada was locked At night. I remember we were all queing near the small outside door to get out in the morning! But there was plenty of space outside so in case of a fire we would have been (sort of) ok.
Another time I was locked in was in the VdlP, not the albergue (it was closed when we arrived) but a hotel…. The person in charge obviously didn’t arrive on time and we were left until about 9 am, unable to get out. It was horrible being locked in.
 
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I do not know in which albergue he stayed... but they were most definitely locked *in*. On waking in the morning they could not open the door to leave, and the hospitalero did not arrive until 7:30 to release the doors.
This was not a matter of the albergue being closed to outside arrivals. It was a matter of not being able to open the door to leave.
Why didn't people ask? The usual:

They are tired,
grateful for a place to sleep,
it's late in the day,
they don't trust their language skills to ask the question...

I'm quite certain that one of Efren's VLOGs from the CP shows an albergue from which he could not exit in the morning, but I no longer recall if that is the correct route.
 

Marbe2

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I don't think we should all become amateur fire safety inspectors and distract ourselves from our pilgrimage to do that. But it is possible to ask simple questions about the emergency measures should there be a fire or other reason to evacuate an albergue and have a reasonable expectation that a hospitalero would be able to explain those arrangements.
Everytime one sleeps in an unfamiliar setting one should take the time to have an exit plan in case an emergency. You never know when your life could depend upon it. I hope each of us has an exit plan at home? If you arrive at an accommodation and don’t know where the emergency exits are, or your not clear whether they will open, by all means BE DISTRACTED and find out before you put your head on that pillow! If language is a barrier, then ask for assistance. Do not remain overnight in a facility that you cannot readily exit!
 
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J Willhaus

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Just an FYI from my husband, he said when he was a hospitalero this October at Caldazilla de los Hermanillos the fire exit plan was on the front door of the albergue and he always took time to show each pilgrim as they checked in how to exit the albergue during quiet hours and explained they could leave, but not re-enter during quiet hours.
 

FourSeasons

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On my 2013 I stayed in an muni alburgue whose name escapes me at the moment but I do know it was after Atapuerca and before Fromista. I looked through my photos but nothing is jogging my memory. Some of you may recognize it by the unique way they stored boots/walking shoes. You would pull/slide open a large tall compartment that had shelves, place your shoes in it then slide it closed. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It was a large building with many levels accessible by stairs, they also had a washer and dryer. I stayed there in 2016 too. In 2013 as I made my way to the shoe storage the next morning I was surprised to see so many pilgrims waiting with backpacks on, ready to leave, I asked what was going on. I was told we were locked in. Some had been waiting a long time, some were getting antsy. None of us knew we would be locked in. I don’t recall the doors being locked in 2016. Do any of you know which alburgue I am describing? Ugh memory games. 🤣
 
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anamcara

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Recently in our home state, new fire and safety regulations have come into law for all short term rental accommodation. The main impetus has been the rise of Airbnb in recent years, with people offering private dwellings which didn’t have the same compliance as motels and hotels etc. Without compliance and a corresponding registration number, the property can no longer be listed with an agent or other online rental platform.

I know Albergues are not rental properties but the relevance - the three most important safety items now required are 1) smoke alarms, 2 ) evacuation diagrams in each room and 3) no key locks on the inside of doors, e.g. you can’t have people scrambling to find a key in the case of a fire. So the door has to be openable with a turn of a handle, flip of a lever or similar. The diagrams can be hand drawn as long as the layout is accurate and clearly show the exit in case of emergency

These items are relatively inexpensive. One or more of them could go a long way to improving safety, if it’s something individual Albergues were prepared to consider.
 
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he said when he was a hospitalero this October at Caldazilla de los Hermanillos the fire exit plan was on the front door of the albergue
2 ) evacuation diagrams in each room
From what I saw yesterday when I looked for regulations for albergues in Spanish regions, I read repeatedly that a fire exit plan must be on display inside the building and/or next to the (main?) door. It would be useful to verify whether such a regulation exists in every region and then verify whether the information is on display in the albergues that are subject to this regulation. I know that hotels must have this but I do not often pay attention to it. Merely based on my memory, I would have said that it is rarely the case but I am certain that this would be wrong. I just didn't pay attention and that's why I don't remember.

From an information leaflet issued by the municipality of Salamanca with title Cómo abrir un albergue en régimen turístico wich mentions albergues de los Caminos a Santiago explicitly: it says that they must put up posters with evacuation plans; must have fire extinguishers; must fulfil building norms NBE-CPI/96 concerning protection against fire in buildings. I presume that these building norms may be different for old buildings and for newly built/renovated buildings.

I'd expect that volunteer hospitaleros are made familiar with how to operate fire extinguishers during their training course and don't have to read the label first or rely on a knowledgeable pilgrim in an emergency situation. And know where the fire extinguisher is kept in the albergue where they volunteer.
 
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This thread is very important in our day and age. I sound like my granny. It is true, though. Special thanks to @Kathar1na for the meticulous sleuth work around regulations. Yesterday I asked a question of someone in the Hosvol organisation. I got a version of the status quo in reply. @Kathar1na referred to the exceptional status of Camino albergues. I have been thinking of the albergue I am most familiar with. There is one door in and one door out. It is a very old stone building, excellently maintained. I have no up to date information on fire compliance installations. The door is closed at night. Not to keep pilgrims in, but to keep strangers out. It is easy to turn the handle and exit at any time. The door cannot be opened from outside without a key. Or a friendly foe within. The night deadline for closing (not locking) the door was intended to afford everyone peace and quiet. Even non stop smokers complied... although sometimes, reluctantly!
 

dick bird

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From what I saw yesterday when I looked for regulations for albergues in Spanish regions, I read repeatedly that a fire exit plan must be on display inside the building and/or next to the (main?) door. It would be useful to verify whether such a regulation exists in every region and then verify whether the information is on display in the albergues that are subject to this regulation. I know that hotels must have this but I do not often pay attention to it. Merely based on my memory, I would have said that it is rarely the case but I am certain that this would be wrong. I just didn't pay attention and that's why I don't remember.

From an information leaflet issued by the municipality of Salamanca with title Cómo abrir un albergue en régimen turístico wich mentions albergues de los Caminos a Santiago explicitly: it says that they must put up posters with evacuation plans; must have fire extinguishers; must fulfil building norms NBE-CPI/96 concerning protection against fire in buildings. I presume that these building norms may be different for old buildings and for newly built/renovated buildings.

I'd expect that volunteer hospitaleros are made familiar with how to operate fire extinguishers during their training course and don't have to read the label first or rely on a knowledgeable pilgrim in an emergency situation. And know where the fire extinguisher is kept in the albergue where they volunteer.
I am afraid your expectations will be disappointed. Volunteers hospis may be made familiar with these things in some situations, but I can assure you from first hand experience that it is not standard.
 
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I think of Grañon
Grañon is donativo, right? Of course there ought to be appropriate rules and equipment in place. I just want to point out again, since the question of legal regulation had been raised, that donativo albergues are not covered by regulations for albergues in general. As an example another quote from the Salamanca leaflet mentioned above:

Not considered as albergues turisticos or albergues de los caminos a Santiago are: 1. accommodation in multi-capacity rooms provided without pecuniary benefit or where the amount paid is in the form of donation or mere compensation of expenses to the provider of the accommodation; 2. youth hostels.
I guess it is obvious that there must be fire protection rules in particular for youth hostels. It is just that youth hostels and donativo albergues are apparently in other legal categories than normal albergues where you pay a fixed amount for your stay. And the main difference between albergue turistico and albergue de Camino a Santiago is this: whether you can stay more than one night. This is a common standard and definition in all regions, it seems.

It may be important to be aware of all this if some kind of awareness plan or other initiative for intervention or protest is intended.
 
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with only one way out, down a narrow (fortunately stone) stairway.
True. But bear in mind that these are not high-rise buildings with hundreds of people in them. Grañon has 40 places it seems. That is as many persons as in a large class in a school, not a whole school with 100s or even 1000s of students. The behaviour of very large crowds in emergency or panic situations and how to evacuate them safely and quickly from a multi-storey building or large area is not the same as that of a relatively small group of people. And if there is only one way out then everybody knows where to go.
 
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BTW, this legal definition of albergues turisticos, albergues turisticos that are albergues de camino a Santiago and donativo albergues is interesting for another reason: it would explain why you cannot stay for more than one night as a rule because it is not a philosophy but a legal requirement when you registered your albergue for this category; and donativo may be a philosophy of the albergue owners or managers but again, it is a legal requirement to not set a fixed or minimum donativo amount when you registered your albergue for this category. (And how many threads have we already gone through where people proposed that donativo albergues set a minimum amount???)
 

Marbe2

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True. But bear in mind that these are not high-rise buildings with hundreds of people in them. Grañon has 40 places it seems. That is as many persons as in a large class in a school, not a whole school with 100s or even 1000s of students. The behaviour of very large crowds in emergency or panic situations and how to evacuate them safely and quickly from a multi-storey building or large area is not the same as that of a relatively small group of people. And if there is only one way out then everybody knows where to go.
Katharina, in school, it is daylight, people are not in a state of (deep) sleep, they are clothed and have shoes on. Schools run fire drills. Students know how to get out!
Peregrinos are likely sleeping. Smoke inhalation is overpowering in about two minutes. Most people do not wake up from the smell, in fact, smoke puts them further under. So when, and if, the alarm goes off, folks may have less than two minutes to get out. I have seen Granon on videos and decided long ago that I would not want to sleep there. In possible chaos and disorientation and a narrow staircase …Can 40 people make it safely out safely out in a maximum of two minutes? IDK, but because I am not sure, it was off my list early on.…
 
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Katharina, in school, it is daylight, people are not in a state of (deep) sleep, they are clothed and have shoes on. Schools run fire drills. Students know how to get out!
I tried to think of a small and a large crowd of people to illustrate how large a crowd of 30-40 people is. School classes and schools sprang to my mind as an example because most of us can probably easily 'see' such a crowd size. Other examples of small and large crowds may apply.
 
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Grañon is donativo, right?
Si.

donativo albergues are not covered by regulations for albergues in general.
It may be important to be aware of all this if some kind of awareness plan or other initiative for intervention or protest is intended.
Very good point. Because tbe donativos are the albergues most likely to have unconventional construction (thinking of Manjarin).

Can 40 people make it safely out safely out in a maximum of two minutes?
I would guess that would be challenging in any albergue. In Grañon, if a fire were to happen at night at least no-one has to get out of a top bunk. Because the sleeping area is just mats on the floor, that would make leaving much easier than in a cramped bunkroom.

In any albergue it would probably be like the chaos in plane being evacuated, with people trying to rescue their belongings, and obstructing the exits with their stuff. Minus the flight attendants yelling to keep it moving.

Next camino this will definitely be on my radar screen.
 

Marbe2

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I tried to think of a small and a large crowd of people to illustrate how large a crowd of 30-40 people is. School classes and schools sprang to my mind as an example because most of us can probably easily 'see' such a crowd size. Other examples of small and large crowds may apply.
Yes understood, but my point is that size alone is not the only criteria. How many exits are there, how accessible are the exits, how oriented are the individuals to the exit strategy, are the people awake or were they sleeping, are they clothed and do they have shoes on (or are the shoes in some corner). Is the fire alarm system working. Schools usually test their systems. Are albergues required to, IDK. So there are many factors involved.
 
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We should avoid moving into the area of personal choice and stick to trying to establish what requirements (technical, training, information) there are, whether they are complied with, or whether they should be introduced, either voluntarily or by Spanish authorities.

Allow me a quick word, though, about my own personal choices. I don't like dormitories on the way to Santiago so I don't stay in them when there are other options. I do stay in places with private rooms, whether they have dormitories for others or not.

Roncesvalles and Grañon are some of the very few places where I considered staying in shared dormitories. Perhaps because you can sleep under the roof. Perhaps because you can sleep on mats on the ground. Reminds me of Alpine huts where I had stayed under similar arrangements. And their staircases are narrow and not even made of stone but of wood. Just like supporting roofs are made of wood. And we know that that can burn. Especially when it is old. I'd still stay there.
 
F

Former member 91017

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On my 2013 I stayed in an muni alburgue whose name escapes me at the moment but I do know it was after Atapuerca and before Fromista. I looked through my photos but nothing is jogging my memory. Some of you may recognize it by the unique way they stored boots/walking shoes. You would pull/slide open a large tall compartment that had shelves, place your shoes in it then slide it closed. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It was a large building with many levels accessible by stairs, they also had a washer and dryer. I stayed there in 2016 too. In 2013 as I made my way to the shoe storage the next morning I was surprised to see so many pilgrims waiting with backpacks on, ready to leave, I asked what was going on. I was told we were locked in. Some had been waiting a long time, some were getting antsy. None of us knew we would be locked in. I don’t recall the doors being locked in 2016. Do any of you know which alburgue I am describing? Ugh memory games. 🤣
Burgos. Stayed in 2014. Do not recall being locked in, but I do not remember how we secured breakfast that morning either.
 

Marbe2

Active member
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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I just came home from hospitalera service in Nájera, and while we said the door was locked, what we meant was that the door was fine to open from the inside - you just couldn't open it from the outside without a key, so no midnight smoking breaks, dear Italian pilgrims (those were the people who asked specifically about that). There was also an emergency exit from the dormitorio, which I tested on the first day - all the doors were easy to push outwards.
First, thank you for your service, @HeidiL I really appreciate that you took the time to check the emergency doors. When you explained “ while we said the door was locked, what we meant was the door was fine to open from the inside - you just couldn’t open from the outside.” I think it is worth considering when training Volunteers, that they know that very specific and clear instructions needs to be given as to how those doors operate. If a person thinks that they can’t get out out at 3am, they may try looking for another alternative that could place them in harms way? This is, in no way , meant to criticise any volunteer, but to empasize,in their training, that safety procedures should be carefully explained and reviewed with all pilgrims.

In the past when I have booked some private rooms in albergues on Booking.com and later sent house rules indicated that one was unable to leave until 6 or 7am. I subsequently canceled the reservation.
 
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J Willhaus

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2016
We did have pilgrims who looked for other accommodations when told of the door lock policy. Not for fire safety reasons, but because they wanted to attend a Fiesta and did not want to go to bed at 10 pm.🍻
 

FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Costa/Senda Litoral
Porto/SdC Sept 2022
Burgos. Stayed in 2014. Do not recall being locked in, but I do not remember how we secured breakfast that morning either.
Burgos? Really? I remember a lot about Burgos but I don't recall the large sliding boot locker storage cabinets being there and I don't remember being locked in there but I can see the lobby area clearly in my mind. I can see bits and pieces clearly but can't make a connection. Hmmm, maybe one day it will suddenly come to me. :) Thanks so much for your response.
 
F

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Guest
Burgos? Really? I remember a lot about Burgos but I don't recall the large sliding boot locker storage cabinets being there and I don't remember being locked in there but I can see the lobby area clearly in my mind. I can see bits and pieces clearly but can't make a connection. Hmmm, maybe one day it will suddenly come to me. :) Thanks so much for your response.
That's the only place that I can think of that meets your geographic limits, and interior description... though as I said: I don't remember anything like being locked in.

I don't have a photo of the slide-out boot storage, but it was the only one I encountered on the whole trip (and it was mighty impressive!).

[Edited to add:] I found full photos that meet the description supplied by FourSeasons... but I still can't imagine it being possible that this particular albergue was locking folks *in*. I did find my one photo of my pre-dawn exit (which would be why I can't recall breakfast). My GOD it was HOT.... my little group was leaving on most days around 5:30 -- as were many... because of the *heat* still scorching the area in late September.

Here is the link to the site: https://www.alberguescaminosantiago...de-peregrinos-municipal-casa-del-cubo-burgos/

And I'd happily stay there again.
 

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C clearly

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I was surprised to see so many pilgrims waiting with backpacks on, ready to leave, I asked what was going on. I was told we were locked in.

I still can't imagine it being possible that this particular albergue was locking folks *in*.
I can't imagine it, either. I think we have learned from this thread that the words "locked in" need to be clarified in every case before we draw any conclusions about fire safety. It may well generally mean "You cannot leave by the normal doors. If you use the emergency door, it will set off an alarm."
 

FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Costa/Senda Litoral
Porto/SdC Sept 2022
I can't imagine it, either. I think we have learned from this thread that the words "locked in" need to be clarified in every case before we draw any conclusions about fire safety. It may well generally mean "You cannot leave by the normal doors. If you use the emergency door, it will set off an alarm."
"The municipal in Burgos. I can't remember what time they open the doors in morning, but I met up with a guy who wanted to start early, but couldn't because he was locked in."

The above statement was found on this forum from Trecile. I knew I wasn't imagining this. We were locked in. "Locked In" as not able to get out from the inside. Believe me you, the pilgrims that had been waiting there with packbacks on were smart enough to try all means possible to get out. For me it was in 2013. I don't recall it happening in 2016 perhaps they changed their practices due to complaints.
 
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FourSeasons

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That's the only place that I can think of that meets your geographic limits, and interior description... though as I said: I don't remember anything like being locked in.

I don't have a photo of the slide-out boot storage, but it was the only one I encountered on the whole trip (and it was mighty impressive!).

[Edited to add:] I found full photos that meet the description supplied by FourSeasons... but I still can't imagine it being possible that this particular albergue was locking folks *in*. I did find my one photo of my pre-dawn exit (which would be why I can't recall breakfast). My GOD it was HOT.... my little group was leaving on most days around 5:30 -- as were many... because of the *heat* still scorching the area in late September.

Here is the link to the site: https://www.alberguescaminosantiago...de-peregrinos-municipal-casa-del-cubo-burgos/

And I'd happily stay there again.
I'd happily stay there again too as I did again in 2016. I'm not bashing any particular alburgue just contributing to the theme of this thread.
 
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"The municipal in Burgos. I can't remember what time they open the doors in morning, but I met up with a guy who wanted to start early, but couldn't because he was locked in."

The above statement was found on this forum from Trecile. I knew I wasn't imagining this. We were locked in. "Locked In" as not able to get out from the inside. Believe me you, the pilgrims that had been waiting there with packbacks on were smart enough to try all means possible to get out. For me it was in 2013. I don't recall it happening in 2016 perhaps they changed their practices due to complaints.
The front door was definitely locked in 2014,I think it was 07.00 when it was unlocked.
I was also there in 2015 and 2020 but left later so don't know if it was locked or not.
I would add that there were plenty of illuminated fire exit signs in the building,some leading to that courtyard area.
 
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biarritzdon

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Katharina, in school, it is daylight, people are not in a state of (deep) sleep, they are clothed and have shoes on. Schools run fire drills. Students know how to get out!
Peregrinos are likely sleeping. Smoke inhalation is overpowering in about two minutes. Most people do not wake up from the smell, in fact, smoke puts them further under. So when, and if, the alarm goes off, folks may have less than two minutes to get out. I have seen Granon on videos and decided long ago that I would not want to sleep there. In possible chaos and disorientation and a narrow staircase …Can 40 people make it safely out safely out in a maximum of two minutes? IDK, but because I am not sure, it was off my list early on.…
Smoke inhalation is not as serious and deprivation of oxygen. Fires thrive on oxygen.
 
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I would add that there were plenty of illuminated fire exit signs in the building, some leading to that courtyard area.
Good that you noticed and that you mention it ☺️. I had a quick look at photos of the albergue Casa del Cubo in Burgos and noticed several fire extinguishers in various places and also the presence of this open courtyard next to the albergue building. In one photo I noticed one of these green signs that point in the direction of emergency exits. So they have at least fire extinguishers and a fire exit plan ... And I think that the red sign says that this is the place for a fire extinguisher.

Casa del Cubo.jpg
 

RJM

Veteran Member
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Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
To some it may sound weird, but anytime I stay somewhere like an albergue, hostel, hotel etc I give the area a once over for egress points in the even of a fire or other emergency. Windows I can climb out of and safely get to the ground, stairwells etc. Very rare on the Camino that I have to stay somewhere that is more than three stories tall. I've stayed in numerous albergues with the lock everyone in for the night bit. I don't like it, and a couple of times I did not know we were locked in until the next morning when I attempted to leave before the hospitalero arrived. I think I have related it before on here the one occasion were were locked in and several of us were ready to go. It was a set of double doors keeping us in and they gave slightly when you pushed on them. This exposed the latch which I easily pushed down with a pocketknife. We all exited and off we went. In the event of an emergency that door could have easily been forced open, as are most doors that I observed in albergues. Another albergue only had the outside wall doors locked up. A stone wall about 7' high. There were some plastic chairs out there and several of us simply climbed over the wall and left. We handed over the wall the first pilgrim over one of the chairs and he assisted the next one over etc until we all left and we dropped the chair back to the other side of the wall.
 
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Another albergue only had the outside wall doors locked up. A stone wall about 7' high. There were some plastic chairs out there and several of us simply climbed over the wall and left. We handed over the wall the first pilgrim over one of the chairs and he assisted the next one over etc until we all left and we dropped the chair back to the other side of the wall.
This quite possibly is the same courtyard I described in my post #56. Too bad I was not as creative as your little group in getting outside those walls.😁
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
This photo of the Albergue de peregrinos municipal Casa del Cubo sits on an architecture website. I have not stayed in this albergue. The photo is not clear enough to allow reading what it says above the door. Doesn't it say Salida de emergencia or something else? I'm pretty sure about the Salida (Exit) bit. And the sign on the door saying that you need to push with both hands to open it? Is this where people queued in the morning and couldn't get out?
(Click to enlarge)

Casa del Cubo door.jpg

 

Marbe2

Active member
Past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
To some it may sound weird, but anytime I stay somewhere like an albergue, hostel, hotel etc I give the area a once over for egress points in the even of a fire or other emergency. Windows I can climb out of and safely get to the ground, stairwells etc. Very rare on the Camino that I have to stay somewhere that is more than three stories tall. I've stayed in numerous albergues with the lock everyone in for the night bit. I don't like it, and a couple of times I did not know we were locked in until the next morning when I attempted to leave before the hospitalero arrived. I think I have related it before on here the one occasion were were locked in and several of us were ready to go. It was a set of double doors keeping us in and they gave slightly when you pushed on them. This exposed the latch which I easily pushed down with a pocketknife. We all exited and off we went. In the event of an emergency that door could have easily been forced open, as are most doors that I observed in albergues. Another albergue only had the outside wall doors locked up. A stone wall about 7' high. There were some plastic chairs out there and several of us simply climbed over the wall and left. We handed over the wall the first pilgrim over one of the chairs and he assisted the next one over etc until we all left and we dropped the chair back to the other side of the wall.
I don’t think you sound weird at all! I think you are assessing your environment for potential danger. After all you are sleeping in this environment and are quite vulnerable in it!
 
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CdN Arzua to Ribadeo 2015
This photo of the Albergue de peregrinos municipal Casa del Cubo sits on an architecture website. I have not stayed in this albergue. The photo is not clear enough to allow reading what it says above the door. Doesn't it say Salida de emergencia or something else? I'm pretty sure about the Salida (Exit) bit. And the sign on the door saying that you need to push with both hands to open it? Is this where people queued in the morning and couldn't get out?
(Click to enlarge)

View attachment 114343

The outer front door is solid wood, this door isn't it.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
This quite possibly is the same courtyard I described in my post #56. Too bad I was not as creative as your little group in getting outside those walls.😁
I do not remember the name of the albergue, just that it was on the Frances somewhere before Carrion de los Condes.
 
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