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You are here: Home > First Aid & Safety Information > Apartment Safety
What to do if there is a fire
  • Get out of the apartment
  • Once out, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside!
  • Call 9-1-1 from a safe location
  • Give the dispatcher as much accurate information as you can
  • Use your fire escape plan. Go to the designated family meeting place
  • Try to let neighbors know to get out. Help elderly folks or families who have many children
  • Have someone meet the fire trucks when they arrive, if it can be done safely
  • Keep fire lanes open
  • If you can't get out, use a cell phone to stay in touch with 9-1-1 dispatchers. Shine a flashlight or wave a sheet out the window to alert firefighters that you're trapped
  • Stay Calm

Also, pools pose a separate hazard for people who live in apartment complexes.
Pools must be fenced, and the gates must close and latch on their own. If children use the pool, an adult must always be inside the gate, in the pool area, watching the children.

TIPS for Living Safely in Apartment Buildings

  • Make sure you have smoke alarms that work.

      The Fire Code requires working smoke alarm(s) in every apartment unit. Existing apartments require smoke alarms in the hallway outside sleeping areas. Newly constructed apartments now require them INSIDE the sleep room as well. Remember to check the batteries once a month, and replace the batteries once a year.
  • The apartment complex is required to have a fire extinguisher within a 75 feet traveling distance.

      If fire extinguishers are not provided outside the apartments, then each apartment is required to have one.
  • The Fire Code states that no person shall use fixed or portable barbecues in or under any attached covered patios, balconies, covered walkways or roof overhangs.

      When in use, barbecues should be located on ground level and be a minimum of 5 feet from buildings, structures, covered walkways and roof overhangs.
  • Do not park in front of fire hydrants and don't park in fire lanes.

      Respecting the fire restrictions may literally save your life. When friends visit, be sure to remind them to park only in appropriate parking areas.
  • Never leave smoking materials burning, and never smoke in bed.

      In 2001, the most common cause of apartment fires was careless disposal of smoking materials.
  • Have a fire escape plan; practice it.

      Know at least two ways to get out of your apartment. Pick a family meeting place outside the apartment building. Do not use elevators in emergencies.
  • Make sure there is a number on your apartment door.

      If there isn't, contact management.
  • Keep a copy of your apartment number and apartment building number inside your apartment, near the phone.

      The information will be handy for babysitters, etc., and will be handy if you panic.
  • Complex owners and managers need to be sure gated driveways are accessible to emergency personnel.

      75% of multi-housing complexes are now gated. Work with the fire department to make sure access requirements are met.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpets or from unit-to-unit.

      They can easily overheat. Extension cords are for temporary use only. They are not to be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
  • Get acquainted with the elderly folks in your building.

      During emergencies, they may have trouble getting to safety. You may be able to help them, or you can direct emergency personnel to the elderly person's apartment.

Play It Safe Coming and Going

Stay with the crowd

  • Walk and drive on busy, well-traveled streets.
  • Travel when possible with coworkers or friends.
  • Choose almost fully occupied train or subway cars.

Don't tempt criminals
  • Avoid wearing visible expensive jewelry on the street.
  • Carry your purse or briefcase close to your body.
  • Carry minimal cash.
  • Avoid publicly discussing your destination, route, etc.
  • Carry your car keys or transit fare in your hand.
  • Keep your car locked and windows closed whether driving or parked.
  • Place packages and valuable out of sight in your car.

Demonstrate Confidence and Caution
  • Walk briskly and alertly, head up.
  • Keep a flashlight, white flag and safety flare in your car.
  • Stay awake and alert on public transportation.
  • Tell someone when you're working late-and tell security when you leave.
  • If you think you're being followed, go to a police station or crowded shopping area.
  • Avoid being alone in an elevator or stairway.


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