According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 86,000 apartment fires in 2020. That is 86,000 reasons to be prepared in case of a fire emergency. Having a plan in place will allow you to respond quickly and efficiently to a building fire and increase the safety of yourself and the occupants of your building.
One of the best ways to manage a fire emergency is to implement good fire protection practices. However, don’t assume that a fire emergency will never happen. Familiarize yourself with your building’s evacuation plan so you’ll be ready in the event of an emergency.
Apartment buildings, especially high-rise buildings, are usually required to have full sprinkler protection. Sprinkler systems are an excellent tool for fire suppression and reduce the risk of fire spreading throughout the building. When looking for an apartment, prioritize those buildings that are fully sprinklered.
Talk with your property owner or apartment management about their fire evacuation plan. If they have one, get a flyer or pamphlet so you can review and ask questions. A physical copy will come with a diagram of the building and highlighting a safe path of egress.
More on exiting the building. If you can get a diagram of the building, this is a great tool for memorizing the exits closest to your unit. Take different exits every so often so you know how to easily reach them. This can be helpful if your closest exit is blocked by smoke or fire. Knowing multiple escape routes gives you a better chance to exit the building safely.
In Case of Fire
In the event of a fire, your evacuation plan and known exits are a priority. Evacuating from the area of the fire is the first thing you must do. Once you’ve done that there are some important steps to take to ensure a swift response and assist other residents.
Pull the Fire Alarm
On your way out, if the fire alarm has not already been activated, pull the manual pull station. This will alert others in the building to the emergency, as well as the local fire department. Only stop to do this once you have established a safe distance between yourself and the fire. Once the alarm is pulled, complete your exit of the building and head to the designated meeting area.
Call the Fire Department
Once you are clear of the building, call the fire department. Even if the alarm has been activated, the fire department should be called immediately. Do not assume the fire alarm system has reported the fire. The quicker they’re contacted, the sooner they’ll arrive. An immediate response can prevent the fire from becoming life-threatening to any residents who cannot escape.
If You are Trapped
Even if you are well prepared, you could still become trapped by a serious building fire. When this happens, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and better your chances of rescue.
Fortify Your Room
The first thing to do if you become trapped is to stuff wet towels under doors and over vents to keep the smoke and heat at bay. Crack a window while making sure it is not letting more smoke into the room. If it is safe, keep it open to let the room air out. If smoke billows in, close it immediately.
Call the Fire Department
The second thing to do is call the fire department. Notify the fire department of where you are within the building and inform them that you were unable to find a safe escape route. This will help them know where to look for you in case they need to evacuate you from the building before the fire has been extinguished.
Send a Signal
The large, and more brightly colored the fabric, the better. Hang it or wave it in your window so that it will be seen easily from the ground level. This lets firefighters know you are trapped, and exactly where you are in the building so they can safely evacuate you.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting
people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.