Fires can occur quickly and with little warning, however, many fires are preventable. As an apartment-dweller it’s important to protect yourself, those you live with, and your neighbors as fires can quickly spread. According to the American Red Cross, if a fire starts you may have just two minutes to escape safely. Follow these fire prevention tips to keep yourself and your neighbors safe.
· Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are functioning properly. Report any issues immediately to the leasing center so the alarms can be fixed promptly.
· Never disable your smoke alarm under any circumstances – even while cooking. Disabling alarms is also in violation of your lease due to the safety hazard it creates.
· Store a fire extinguisher in the kitchen that is properly rated for kitchen fires.
· Keep a phone near your bed in the event of fire.
· Never leave any cooking items unattended in the kitchen and double-check to be sure the stove and oven are completely shut off when you’re done cooking.
· Move towels, napkins, and any flammable objects away from the stove, crock pots, and other sources of heat.
· Clean dryer lint filters after each load of laundry. Clogged filters can create a fire hazard.
· Don’t place any laundry items with oil (even cooking oil) or other flammable liquids on them in the dryer.
· If using a space heater, be sure objects are kept at least 3-feet away from it in all directions. Never fall asleep with a space heater on or leave it unattended. Space heaters are one of the largest causes of home fires so use extra caution when using them.
· Don’t smoke indoors (or at all). If you do smoke, be sure to fully extinguish your cigarettes or cigars and even run them under water to make sure they are completely out.
· Routinely check your electronics and appliances for damaged cords as these are a leading cause of electrical fires. If you notice any frayed or broken cords replace them immediately.
· Use a surge-protector where possible and never overload outlets.
· Candles can be especially dangerous in apartment buildings. Keep candles on a firm, flat surface and away from any flammable items (including walls, towels, curtains, bedding) and never leave a candle unattended.
· Never bring combustible fluids into your home – these include gasoline, kerosene, paint thinners, and even certain oil-based paints. Check the labels of any substance you bring in the home for safety instructions.
· Use designated grilling areas around the community and do not grill on your patio or deck, and especially not in your home!
· Create a fire escape plan with your family or roommates and practice the plan a few times each year. You can even create an escape plan drawing and post it on the back of your entrance door for daily review and reference.
· Invest in a collapsible ladder if your apartment or bedroom is on the 2nd story or higher. Keep ladders ready to go, free of packaging and know their location at all times.
· Check that your windows are easily opened. Report any stuck windows to maintenance for repair.