Did you know October is Fire Prevention Month? The purpose of this month is to raise awareness and to share safety tips that can keep you and your family safe. This blog will share safety tips for apartment living, as well as other tips that can be used year-round.
Unfortunately, on the news we see families displaced because their entire apartment complex burned down, and they’ve lost everything. As the news reporting continues, we also learn that the residents didn’t have renters insurance, or they have no place to go. These elements compounded make for a very difficult situation.
If you live in a house, managing fire safety is a bit easier. However, living in an apartment building presents a variety of different trepidations. Too often, tenants think that they don’t have to worry about fire safety because it’s not their building. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure fire prevention equipment is installed and functioning properly. On the contrary, all tenants have a responsibility to be diligent and to make sure their individual units are safe. A mistake by you could cause disaster for many families.
Approximately 45% of apartment fires happen between 3:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
Here are some fire safety tips you should follow.
1. Test your smoke detector monthly. Make sure the smoke detector in your apartment functions properly. Simply press the test button and listen for the alarm. It’s also a good idea to install new batteries when we change our clocks in spring and fall. According to First Alert, three out of five fire deaths result from no working smoke detectors.
2. Understand all evacuation routes. Evacuating your apartment complex quickly is the key to survival. Review and become familiar with evacuation routes before an emergency. During a fire, one of your routes could be blocked. If this is the case, you’ll have to find another way out. It’s estimated that only 43% of homeowners have an escape plan.
3. Remain outside. If you’ve made it out of your apartment building safely, never go back inside. If you suspect a person or pet is trapped talk to a firefighter.
4. Purchase a fire resistant safe. This tip is one that every family should follow regardless of where they live. Keeping items safe such as credit cards, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, and social security cards can make the road to recovery easier even if everything else is lost.
5. Pay attention to building safety. While you can’t control what other tenants do, you do have a right to look out for your own safety. If you notice dangerous situations such as clutter building up in the hallway, contact your landlord. Also, if you notice damaged smoke detectors or missing fire extinguishers, report that as well.
6. Keep a fire extinguisher in your apartment. A simple way to stop a minor fire from spreading is to have a fire extinguisher handy. While the investment is yours, it’s a great way to protect yourself and other tenants in your building. For home use, you can select a multi-purpose (A, B, C) extinguisher. Always make sure your extinguisher is up to date. After using it, make sure you get it recharged.
7. Declutter. When a home has become so filled with possessions that there’s no access to exits and stairs, there’s a real risk of death should a fire start in the home. Occupants won’t be able to easily escape. First responders won’t be able to locate people and animals to help them get out; blocked exits and stairs also increase the risk to their own safety. Clutter also causes fire to spread more quickly.
For more information on fire safety, click on the links below.