As a society, Americans find themselves migrating more and more each year to urban environments. While that means less home ownership, it also means a transition to more renters – and for the importance of this blog, specifically – more renters in a high-rise apartment setting.
Fire safety is an important concept for anyone to try to grapple with, but when your safety is so beholden to the behavior of others whose living space is attached to yours and vice versa – it becomes as important as it could possibly be. Here are some things to consider if you’re a renter in these sorts of situations.
Be familiar with your floor’s evacuation plan
You should find diagrams posted in stairwells, in exits and inside elevators – and while they might be amusing background noise to most, it’s good to take that travel time up and down the building to take in the scenery a bit and commit these plans to memory. In any situation where you’re dealing with large amounts of other people, it’s important to know where to go, why and when in the event of an emergency.
Know the three closest exists to your apartment
They could be a fire escape, window, stairwell or even an elevator. In a few unorthodox layouts, they’ll include hatches and ladders. Either way – your ability to get out quickly is the most important factor to whether you survive a catastrophic fire or not.
Keep your keys in a place where you know they’ll be and…
Keep a flashlight in an easily accessible location. In most fire emergencies, the lights may go out to accommodate sprinkler systems. Having a flashlight will help you navigate in the dark and find your way to where you need to go. Keys help you get in and out of the places you might otherwise take for granted. Keep both accessible and in the same location.
Inspect your smoke alarms
While most buildings might already have these features, it’s not a bad idea to install some of your own. Make sure their batteries are charged and absolutely check to make sure they’re in good, working order every few months.
Keep those things in mind – and you’ll be in good shape. From there, remember the CALM plan of action. Call 911. Alert those that need to know. Listen for important cues and information from people in the know and then move to safety as directed by the fire department at the scene.
And finally – always have a plan. Always plan for the worst. Hopefully it’s a fruitless exercise that you never have to spring into action, but in the event that you do – you’ll be ready and able to take hold of the situation and give yourself the best possible chance of getting to safety.