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Apartment Building / Condominium Safety Tips

Every fire is dangerous. But you can survive if you know what to do.

The law requires that every apartment building / condo have certain fire safety features. Ask your building manager to tell you about the fire safety features in your building. Then you should plan what you will do if there is a fire.

  • Do you have working smoke alarms in your apartment/condominium? Your first line of defense in surviving a fire is a working smoke alarm. Your apartment should have a smoke alarm outside the sleeping rooms and at least one alarm on each level of your unit. You should test your smoke alarms every month. Report non-working smoke alarms to the building manager.
  • Do you know how to protect yourself from smoke? Remember, most people die from smoke, not fire.
  • Do you know how you are going to escape from your building if there is a fire? Most buildings have at least two exit stairways. Find out where these are and practice using them.
  • If you are unable to use stairs in an emergency, have you told your building manager that you will need help? Your apartment number can be added to the fire safety plan. Firefighters will know that you may need to be rescued.
  • Do you know where the fire alarms are on your floor, and how to pull them? You will have to use the fire alarm if you discover a fire on your floor.
  • Have you arranged a place outside the building where you will meet after you leave? Having a meeting place ensures everyone got out safely. Make sure everyone knows where your meeting place is and remember…Once you are out, stay out! Don’t go back in for anything!

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you should get the information you need by speaking to your building manager.

General Apartment/Condominium Safety Tips

  • Do not use balconies for storage. This can block a means of escape.
  • BBQ - Most leases will not allow barbecues to be used or stored on balconies or anywhere in the building due to the potential safety hazards. Discuss this issue with your apartment /condo manager prior to installation.
  • Cook safely – Cooking is one of the leading causes of fires. Never leave cooking unattended. Always keep cooking areas clean and clutter free.
  • Be careful with smoking materials –Never smoke in bed or when under the influence of alcohol or medication. Wet the contents of ashtrays before emptying them.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children - Store them up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Use electricity safely – Replace damaged electrical cords. Tell the manager about electrical outlets or appliances that smell, smoke, or overheat. Don’t overload electrical circuits.

If there is a fire in your apartment/condominium:

  • Pull the fire alarm if not already activated.
  • Use the stairs.  Never use an elevator when there is a fire. 
  • If fire blocks your exit, close your apartment door and cover all cracks around doors and vents where smoke could enter, using wet towels if possible. 
  • Call 9-1-1, even if the firefighters are already at the building, and tell them where you are.  Wave a sheet or towel from an open window and shout for help so firefighters can find you.