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Apartment Fire Safety 101

Do you live in an apartment or condominium? If so, do you know what to do in case there’s a fire when you’re home? To help you stay safe, the U.S. Fire Administration offers the following quick tips:

Building Fire Safety
Fire prevention tools in and around your apartment are essential for fire safety.

  • Make sure your apartment has working smoke alarms, including in each sleeping room. Test the alarms every month, and replace their batteries every year.
  • Don’t prop open exit or stairway doors in your apartment complex. These are installed to slow the spread of heat and smoke if there’s a fire.
  • Speak to your apartment manager if you see a damaged smoke alarm, fire extinguisher or an emergency light that has burned out.

Be Prepared
Create an escape plan. Discuss how you’ll get outside in case of a fire, and practice your plan.

  • Count the number of doors there are between your apartment and the nearest fire exit. Memorize the number in case you have to find the exit in the dark.
  • Know where all the exit doors and stairs are on your floor.
  • Learn your building evacuation plan if you have one. Create and practice an escape plan for your own apartment.

Stay Calm
In the event of a fire, stay calm. Move to the exit as you’ve practiced. Call the fire department once you’re outside.

  • If your door feels warm to the touch, do not attempt to open it. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your apartment number and that you can’t open your door. Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape. Cover vents. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a white cloth.
  • If your apartment door is cool to the touch, open it slowly. Stay low and check for smoke or fire in the hallway. If the hallway is safe, follow your building’s evacuation plan. Never use an elevator to escape a fire. Always use the stairs.

Wait Outside for the Fire Department
Once you’re outside, move away from the building. Give firefighters and fire trucks plenty of space.

  • Stay outside. Do not go back inside for any reason.
  • If you think someone is still inside, tell firefighters where you think the person is.
  • Wait until firefighters tell you it’s safe to go back inside.

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