Apartment fire safety is very important for everyone to keep in mind, especially with the winter months and current pandemic-related constraints keeping more of us indoors than ever. Some measures might seem like common sense, but it is vitally important to be aware of everyday fire hazards in your apartment and how you can prevent a disaster from happening.
This guide will walk you through specific things you can do to keep your apartment — and those of your neighbors — perfectly safe, no matter what time of the year it is.
8 Must-Follow Fire Safety Tips
Fires can happen for a variety of reasons and can have devastating consequences, but there’s no need to panic. Doing what you can to fireproof your apartment, putting a plan in place to mitigate one (should one start), and remaining calm throughout can help to ensure the safety of everyone in your building. The following apartment fire safety tips will help you to enact an effective, solid plan.
1. Ensure you have working smoke/fire detectors.
A working smoke alarm is one of your first lines of defense against a fire in your apartment. Whether you are sleeping or awake and preoccupied, a smoke alarm will let you know when the first hint of smoke surfaces in your home. Be sure to check the batteries every few months after your smoke alarm is properly installed, and keep a fire extinguisher on hand to take care of any small fires that happen as the result of a kitchen or small appliance accident.
2. Don’t leave the stove unattended.
It’s important to make a concerted effort to never walk away from a hot stove. It only takes a second for something to bubble over or catch on fire, after all, and that can cause a cooking fire. Proper fire safety protocols dictate that you should always stand next to the stove during a cooking session to make sure your meal turns out perfectly and your apartment home stays protected.
3. Utilize a surge protector for electronics.
Consider using surge protectors whether you have a lot of electronics in your home or just a few items to plug in. Surge protectors are designed to prevent outlets from getting overloaded with excessive electronics — which can cause shorts, sparking, or other issues — plus protect electronics should surges from electrical storms or other system issues occur. Too many cords in an outlet can be a fire safety issue, and surge protectors can help mitigate such risks.
4. Don’t run electrical cords under rugs or carpets.
Electrical cords buried beneath rugs or carpeted areas can cause apartment fires because you can’t see them, and thus can’t see if the plastic around them is failing. Exposed wires next to a flammable surface can result in fires, so make sure your cords are always visible. Apartments in apartment buildings often feature a lot of outlets, so you should have plenty of options to prevent running cords over the center of any living space (and thus under rugs or carpets).
5. Use electric candles in your apartment building.
Candles are beautiful and atmospheric, but they can also be a fire hazard and are thus often banned by apartment complexes. Instead of lighting flame candles, consider electric candles instead. They provide the same beautiful look and feel without the fire safety concerns. Many stores have a lot of stunning electric candles from which to choose, too, so you don’t have to compromise style for safety.
6. Declutter around outlets and appliances for apartment fire safety.
The fire department recommends keeping outlets clear from excessive clutter to reduce fire risks. The same is true for appliances and accessories. Try not to store anything on top of or around potential fire hazards, and keep piles of papers or magazines away from electronics or outlets.
7. Keep decorations and faux plants away from heat sources.
Holiday decorations are beautiful and appealing and can really make your apartment into a home. Still, these items could burn or melt and should be kept well away from heat sources such as ovens, space heaters, stoves, fireplaces, or anything else that could inadvertently cause a fire in your apartment building. Bonus apartment fire safety tip: Help to prevent fire risks by putting decorations away promptly at the end of the season, and not allowing them to collect into a pile.
8. Store appliances and tools properly.
The mornings are a busy time for most people, but it’s important to keep some general fire safety tips in mind in the hustle and bustle of getting out the door. Remember to put curlers and other appliances away properly after you use them. There are a lot of special holsters or storage solutions for hot tools and appliances available on the market, so you can choose one that fits your personal style.
General Apartment Building Fire Safety
In addition to these apartment fire safety tips, there are some other things to keep in mind. It is a good idea to have an escape plan in case of an apartment fire no matter where you live — whether in the heart of the city or in the suburbs.
- Take note of fire safety features like fire extinguishers, fire exit doors, and smoke alarms in your apartment building common areas.
- Make sure that you know how to use the fire extinguisher, in case of emergency.
- Make an evacuation plan and run it by everyone you live with. Your plan should account for four-legged family members as well.
- Stay calm, in case you do have to enact the plan, and safely, quickly, walk to your meeting point outside your apartment.
- Keep track of where the fire escape window is in your building, as well as stairway doors, fire exits, and any other appropriate escape route.
- Have the contact information for your building manager or leasing agent. If you do end up needing to call the fire department for any reason, the agent might want to follow up after the situation is handled.
No one wants to think about what could happen in the case of an apartment fire, but it is important to consider all eventualities and ensure you are doing everything possible to prevent a fire in the first place. A little bit of preparation and an evacuation plan could mean the difference between losing everything in an apartment fire and keeping one from happening at all.
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