Hotel list for federal travelers: frequently asked questions

What is the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act?
The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 encourages fire safety in places offering accommodations and lodging to the public. The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is responsible for administration of the Act. Fire safety in places of public accommodation is encouraged through creation of a National Master List (NML) of hotel and motel properties that voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Act.
What makes a hotel or motel eligible for the NML and a FEMA ID?
The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 requires that each guestroom in a place of public accommodation that desires to be on the NML offer a minimum level of fire safety. This means having at least one, single-station, hard-wired smoke alarm in each guest room and if the building is four or more stories in height, each room shall have additional protection provided by an automatic fire sprinkler system. Smoke alarms and fire sprinklers shall have met minimum applicable national or state standards when installed.
How do I list a facility and get a FEMA ID?
A business providing lodging or extended-stays to the public must submit an application through the Register a Property page of the USFA website. The decision to comply with the Act is voluntary and there is no fee or charge for listing. To apply for the NML you must register your lodging property online through the USFA website. After submitting online please be sure to follow all instructions you receive via email from your state fire marshal or the U.S. Fire Administration. After you register, check your email for a message asking you to verify your registration to the NML. You may have to grant access to a fire inspector or provide a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy. A lodging property meeting the requirements receives a FEMA ID.
How do I update my record?
You should first attempt to login to the Change a Listing webpage to access your property record. Logging in requires that you have your FEMA ID and the EIN. The EIN or Employer Identification Number is the business owner’s taxpayer identification number. If you cannot login, it is most likely due to an incorrect EIN in our records. In that case, contact the USFA via email or by telephone at (301) 447-1263.
Why did Congress enact the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990?
Congress enacted the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act in response to a series of deadly fires in hotels and motels in the 1970s and 1980s. Over the 90 years before passage of the legislation, there were numerous deadly hotel and motel fires in the United States. Today there are very few fatalities or injuries due to fire in lodging properties.
Does the Act mandate compliance with fire safety standards?
The intent of the Act is voluntary compliance with hotel and motel fire safety requirements. The only mandate in the Act applies to federal employees traveling on government business. Federal employees select lodging from the National Master List (NML) of hotels and motels that comply with the Act.
Is there a financial advantage to being on the National Master List?
The federal government spends billions of dollars per year for official employee travel. Reimbursement to federal employees for travel expenses cannot exceed per diem rates established by the General Services Administration (GSA). The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act requires the GSA to use the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Master List for the annual survey of lodging rates for government employees.
Is the National Master List the same as the USFA “Hotel-Motel Database”?
Yes, the list of approved lodging properties in the “Hotel-Motel Database” comprises the National Master List. These properties are typically hotels, motels, extended-stay apartments, and small inns open to the public for overnight accommodation that meet minimum fire risk reduction guidelines. The USFA maintains the “Hotel-Motel Database” and issues a unique FEMA ID to each lodging property that complies with the Act.
How does the Act affect state and local laws and codes?
The Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act complements, but does not replace, state or local fire safety requirements.
My hotel existed before passage of the Act. Does it still have to comply with the Act?
Participation is voluntary. If you participate, you must comply with the fire safety provisions in the Act. There is no exemption for existing structures (also known as grandfathering).
Who may apply and sign an application?
The person submitting the application is responsible for the submission. The name provided with the application as the contact person becomes the responsible party. This person is usually the owner, manager, or their agent. Submitting the online application places the responsible party under penalty of law: any false information provided or false statements willingly made subjects the signer to a fine or imprisonment. All information provided is subject to verification by the USFA or state fire marshal.
I am applying to list my property for the first time; do you require any documentation?
After submitting the online application you will receive an email instructing you to verify the registration. We will delete applications not verified by the applicant within seven days of receipt so please remember to verify your registration. After you verify the registration, the USFA may contact you requesting a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy issued for your facility by the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Also, please note that some states retain the right to conduct their own approval of properties before issuing a FEMA ID.
We control only part of the building where we have guestrooms; the area meets the fire safety requirements. Can we have a FEMA ID for these rooms?
The USFA assigns a unique FEMA ID to a physical address. You must have control over all areas of the building and all areas must meet the requirements of the Act.
There are guestrooms in two buildings; one building meets the rules while the other does not. Will the FEMA ID apply to the compliant building?
No, all buildings on the property with guestrooms must be under your control and all must be compliant with the Act.
Our business has two buildings on the same lot, both with guestrooms. Both buildings have smoke alarms in all guestrooms, but only one of our buildings is four stories or higher and it has an automatic fire sprinkler system. Does the other building also have to have a fire sprinkler system?
No, your smaller building is exempt from having a fire sprinkler system. Because each building is compliant, the USFA will issue a FEMA ID.
What is a Certificate of Occupancy?
In most communities, there is an Authority Having Jurisdiction, such as building inspector, code official, or fire marshal, who issue certificates of occupancy to validate that your property meets local and/or state requirements for a lodging business. Contact your local government for information. Our interest in asking for documentation is solely in knowing that the fire safety equipment (i.e., smoke alarms and automatic fire sprinklers) functions as designed.
Do I have to email the Department of Homeland Security to get this?
No, only local, county, or state governments issue certificates of occupancy.
Do you have a form that you can send me to fill out to get the certificate of occupancy?
No, contact your local, county, or state government.
Does my FEMA ID expire?
The FEMA ID is not subject to expiration.
Do I have to update my FEMA ID record?
We ask that you periodically check your record for accuracy and update it as necessary. If the business changes ownership or corporate affiliation, we ask that you contact us to update the record.
I have a government group that wants to stay here and they need a copy of our FEMA ID certificate but I cannot find it.
The USFA does not issue a paper certificate for FEMA IDs. 
The FEMA Declaration Form asks for “Organization” - please explain what that means.
The “organization” is the name of the business entity of the person signing the application.
Can a hotel located in a foreign country be on the National Master List?
Unfortunately, no, the USFA can only list properties located in one of the states or territories of the United States of America because only they are subject to United States laws.
We are a chain of lodging properties. Owners of hotels or motels operate under our brand. If they leave our brand, how do we have them removed from the National Master List?
Send us a letter on corporate letterhead listing the information for each property you are asking us to remove. You may email the letter.