Protect Yourself Against Apartment Fires
Residential fires, either in your single-family dwelling or apartment, are frightening for all involved. However, there are steps that you can take to help ensure that you, your pet and your family are safe even in the incidence of a fire.
Before you rent an apartment, perform a fire inspection and make sure that it is up-to-code. Make sure there is an adequate number of working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. If there isn’t, have the leasing agent correct this before signing the lease.
Top Causes of Apartment Fires
Although apartment fires can be caused by several things, the top causes include cooking/kitchen fires, heating equipment (i.e. space heaters, kerosene heaters), smoking materials (a major cause of fatal fires), and arson, which even includes children playing with matches and fire.
Steps to Prevent Apartment Fires
There are several steps that you can take to help prevent a fire from starting in your apartment. They are as follows:
- Be careful with smoking materials and never smoke in bed.
- Keep matches and lighters where children can’t get to them.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep heating equipment at least three feet away from combustible materials.
- Replace worn electrical cords, make sure to always use power strips if additional outlets are needed.
- Do not store flammable liquids or compressed gases (i.e. propane) in your apartment or on your balcony.
- Do not use your balcony for storage or for grilling food.
What to Do in Case of an Apartment Fire
If there is a fire in your apartment, make sure that you have a plan and that your plan works. Know your fire escape route and know where all the extinguishers are in your building. Never ignore a fire alarm or your building’s public announcement system, if you have one.
Always follow these steps to escape safely:
- Check doors before opening them. If the door is cool, open it slowly and stay low to the ground and leave the building as quickly as possible. If the door is warm, seal the door and the vents with wet bedding or towels. Go to a window, and if there is no smoke outside, open it and signal for help. If you are able, call 9-1-1 and let them know that you are trapped in the building and give them your location.
- Never use an elevator during a fire! Use the stairs!
- Once you are safely out of the building, NEVER go back in. If you need help, call 9-1-1 or ask a member of the fire department that has responded to your apartment fire.