APARTMENT AND CONDOMINIUM FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Responsibility for the fire safety of your building lies with each and every resident. That's why it is
so important that you plan together to keep your building as fire safe as possible and learn the right
thing to do should fire break out. The first place to start is to learn the facts.
- Smoking is the #1 cause of all fatal apartment fires. And, nearly a third of them are caused by
someone smoking in bed.
- Most residential fires occur at night when condos and apartments are most heavily populated.
Be Prepared! Plan Ahead for Everyone's Safety!
Meet with your landlord or building manager to devise fire safety plans for your building. As part of
your group planning, explore your building. Know every possible exit, including exits from laundry,
storage, and recreation rooms. If hallways become smoky in a fire, your memory can help you find a way
out. Remember never to use elevators in a fire. Keep exit and stairwell doors closed at all times, but
not locked. And, keep exits clear of debris and storage.
Focus on these four key elements in your fire safety plan: prevention, detection, escape
planning and practice, and fire department notification.
An ounce of prevention can save your life. Prevention is your best insurance against fire. Take these
simple fire safety precautions in your own unit to prevent fire from starting.
- Be careful with smoking materials. Keep large ashtrays for smokers and never smoke in bed!
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet
up high out of the reach of children.
- Check regularly for electrical hazards, such as worn electrical cords, overloaded extension cords and
outlets, and broken appliances.
- Don't store flammable liquids in your home, car, or anywhere else inside your building.
- Don't use balconies, porches, fire escapes or furnace rooms for storage. Fires starting in these areas
can burn undetected.
Make sure the fire detection system works! If fire strikes, smoke detectors and fire alarms alert you to a
fire right away, so you can get out of the building safely. Be sure your building has a working fire alarm
system and learn to recognize the sound of the alarm. Know where the alarms are located in your building
and how to operate them in an emergency.
Install smoke detectors on every floor of your own unit. Be sure to place detectors on the ceiling near
bedroom areas. This way, if a fire starts while you’re asleep, detectors will wake you before it's too late.
If you notice that smoke detectors in your own unit or in public hallways are beeping, be sure to have their
batteries changed or electrical systems checked. Replace dead batteries immediately.
Escape Planning and Practice
In a fire, there is no time to stop and think. You need to know in advance the two quickest safe ways out of
your unit and your building. That is why it is critical that you make and practice escape plans.
Draw up floor plans for each floor with exits clearly marked. Ask your building manager to post the floor
plans in high-traffic areas, such as near elevators, exit doors, and foyers. Make a point to review the
floor plans now - because in a fire, smoky conditions and urgency can make this impossible.
Once you've mapped out evacuation procedures, decide on a meeting place outdoors. Go there as soon as you
exit the building and stay there. This way, you can keep track of who is out and who may be trapped inside.
If you think someone is trapped, tell the fire department - do not go back into the building yourself.
PRACTICE! Rehearse your escape plans as a group. Appoint a floor captain and hold a fire drill to make sure
that everyone knows the rights thing to do when the alarm sounds.