Fires in a residential setting – whether in a single-family home or an apartment – can be frightening. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe and that you know what to do in the event of a fire.
For many of us, our first ‘home’ away from the home we grew up in – is an apartment. For folks who live in bustling urban areas – apartments are the norm. And just like houses – they’re susceptible to fires.
Today, we’re going to discuss apartment fires – what starts them and what you can do to be a little bit more proactive in terms of making sure you never have to experience one. Let’s jump right in.
What causes apartment fires
Apartment fires are caused by a whole myriad of things – ranging from cooking and kitchen fires to heating equipment malfunctions, smoking materials and the like. Most of the things you’d think would put you at risk for fire in a single-family home are the same kinds of things that would put you at risk in an apartment setting. That is – with the exception of a few dozen other people living in the complex alongside you – but we’ll get into that later.
Staying proactive about prevention
While there are plenty of traditional steps you can take to make sure you’re safe from a fire in your apartment – there are some additional steps you can take as well. For one – before you decide to rent an apartment, make sure the building has performed a fire inspection and is up to code. Ask about things like the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. And most important of all – ask your leasing agent for all of this information. They should have it both ready and accessible.
While in your apartment – there are other things you can do – most of which involve traditional means of fire prevention such as not leaving cooking unattended, keeping matches and lighters where kids can’t get to them, not smoking in bed and the like. But you should also be mindful of your space. That means not using your balcony for storage or cooking. That means being diligent about replacing worn electrical cords and making sure you have appropriate power strips. Most of all – its understanding that fire prevention is an ongoing, constant part of your consciousness.
What to do in the event of an apartment fire
First and foremost – apartment fires are pretty perilous situations and you need to be on your toes when exiting a building. First – know where fire extinguishers are in your building and in your home. If an extinguisher is small and portable, you might want to consider bringing it with you.
Second – you should check any door before you open it. If the door is cool – be sure to open it slowly and stay low to the ground as you exit the building. If the door is warm, seal it (preferably) with a soaked or wet towel/fabric and then head to the nearest window. Immediately call 911 to let them know you’re here and signal for help. Be sure to give them your exact location.
Third – if you do leave your apartment – ALWAYS take the stairs and NEVER get into an elevator.
And last but certainly not least – once you’re out of the building – don’t go back in for any reason whatsoever. Call 911 or ask a member of the fire department that has responded.
Remember, fire safety is something you need to be conscious of at all times. Keep these tips in mind in the event that you ever encounter an apartment fire.