Apartment fire are much more common than we all might like to think, which is a little frightening to think about. Whether your residence is a single-family home or an apartment, it’s important to take the calm and proper steps that can save your life. The majority of fire are results of kitchen/cooking, heating equipments such as space heaters, and even arson which includes children at times playing with fire.
So you might ask yourself: Well, I live in an apartment. What can I do if I’m ever in this situation?Performing a fire inspection and ensuring that everything is up-to-code can make a big difference. Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared and safe in case of any fire emergency:
- Make sure all exit and stairwell doors are marked, not locked or blocked by security bars.
- It’s very important to know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor level, in case you need to get out in an emergency.
- If there are not a number of adequate working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, contact your landlord.
- If ever stuck inside your apartment and you can’t find any exit, try to stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents. This helps to keep the smoke out.
Here are some ways to ensure that you stay safe on a daily basis throughout your apartment:
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended
- Always ensure that your stove or oven is off if you’re not in the room or leaving your apartment. It’s also very, very important to NEVER use your oven as a source to heat your home.
- Make sure there’s a three feet distance with household combustibles from heating equipments: space heaters, fireplace, or wood stoves. In addition turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed.
- Replace any worn electrical cords. Use power strips if additional outlets are needed.
- If using an electric space heater, use a heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Otherwise, avoid using one at all cost.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
- Unless specified, don’t use electric space heaters in damp, wet areas.
- It’s very important to always be aware of using the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
In case you ever do find yourself in a fire:
- Always check doors before opening them. If the door feels cool, open it slowly and stay low to the ground and leave the building as soon as possible. If the door is warm, use wet towels or beddings to seal the door and vets. Proceed to a window, and if there is no smoke outside, signal for help. If you are able to, call 9-1-1 and make them aware that you are trapped in the building.
- Don’t ever use an elevator during a fire. ALWAYS use the stairs!