The expression “Better safe than sorry” is known by everyone. As apartment dwellers, it is important not to take advantage of the sense of security felt by having a doorman posted at the door or hallways lined with sprinklers and let our guards down. There are several areas where being proactive can make all the difference.
• Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors
Follow the manufacturer’s directions to install them in your home, especially outside of each sleeping area. Replace the batteries twice a year or when the detector chirps to signal the battery is dead.
• If There is a Fire in Your Building:
Stay inside your apartment. Keep your door closed. Seal the door with duct tape or wet sheets and towels. Seal ventilators and any other opening where smoke may enter. Turn off air conditioners. Fill your bathtub with water. If the front door gets hot, wet it down. Unless flames or smoke are coming from below, open your window a few inches at the top or bottom. Don’t break the windows; they may need to be closed later. Call the Fire Department with your apartment number and a description of the conditions in your apartment. If you feel you are in grave danger, open a window and wave a bed sheet for firefighters to spot you.
• If The Fire is in Your Apartment:
Get everyone out. Stay low as you go out. Close but don’t lock the doors in the apartment. Be knowledgeable about your building’s escape route. Familiarize yourself with the placement of the fire exits. Go down the nearest stairway, holding the railing. Don’t use the elevator. Have a flashlight with you. Fire is black and most people die because they can’t see where they’re going. If your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs.
• Things You Can Do to Prevent a Fire:
Keep space heaters well away from flammable substances such as paper, curtains or clothing.